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When
Why
Tirkane Sweat House
 

County

Derry

Coordinates

N 54° 51' 57.5"   W 006° 42' 48.9"

Nearest town

Maghera

Grid Ref.

C 82658 02477

Map No.

8

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

144

Date of visit

Monday 25 May 2009

GPS Accuracy (m)

10
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The sweat house seen from the outside.


This is the first sweat house I've ever seen. It's nothing more than a stone and turf hut where people used to sit inside to treat rheumatisms and other kinds of pain. Right outside the hut there's a cold water pool where people would cool off after the treatment in the hot steam of the sweat house.
The space inside is about 1 metre wide by 2.5 metres long, and even though it may sound like a tiny place, it was large enough for sitting four people.
A big turf or wooden fire was lit inside the hut, and when the interior was hot enough the fire was drawn out. Some brackens were put on the floor and sometime some water was poured on the ground to create the steam needed to make the hut a sauna. The naked people would crawl inside, the entrance was blocked and people was left inside for about half an hour. Some of them would faint for the hot and had to be pulled out.


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