Leitrim Sweathouse Project

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The Leitrim Sweathouse Project is about to recommence in 2022 for its second year. A community heritage initiative of Leitrim County Council and funded by the Heritage Council, the project aims to continue its research into Sweathouses across Co. Leitrim.

In 2021, there was significant and enthusiastic participation from Volunteer researchers, and training sessions and heritage events were well-received and attended. At the start of last year there were 98 Sweathouse sites in Co. Leitrim and during the course of the project a further 12 Sweathouses were identified. This is a significant increase in numbers, and it is likely more are yet to be discovered. Also noted during last year was that the preservation of these monuments is stark, with 84% classified as collapsed. However, it was also found that Sweathouses were more extensive than previously thought, having been distributed right across the county, from Kinlough to south of Mohill.

The Leitrim Sweathouse Project 2021 Report can be accessed here.

This year, with the help of the community, we aim to complete two major objectives.

The first is to provide training to local volunteers so that they can carry out archaeological field surveys of these monuments. While records exist for most Sweathouses in the county, many sites, including some of those identified last year, have no precise record. This means visiting each of these sites, describing and measuring them, photographing, and drawing them to scale. It also provides an opportunity to assess the current condition of these structures and any potential risks in terms of preservation.

The second aim of the project in 2022 is to develop conservation guidelines on how best we might preserve Sweathouses. It is hoped that clear conservation guidelines for best practice, intended for landowners and community groups, will be beneficial in protecting these vulnerable structures into the future.

In addition to these objectives, a number of outreach events are to be held throughout the year, including during Heritage Week. These may include historical societies, schools, or public events – and as before, all suggestions are welcome. The project will continue to raise awareness of Sweathouses in the region and promote the protection and appreciation of this unusual aspect of our heritage. To this end, updates will be available on social media and the Leitrim County Council Heritage webpage throughout the year.

We need volunteers this year to undertake archaeological field surveys of Sweathouses. No previous experience in surveying is necessary as all training will be provided. One day training sessions will be held across the county in the coming weeks. Owing to the nature of field survey places will be limited. These sites have never been inspected in this way before, so it does offer a chance to explore and investigate archaeological sites in your locality. The survey information will be brought together, analysed, and mapped collectively, and in detail, to expand our understanding of the Irish Sweathouse.

We would also welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer in a supportive role, as there are multiple facets to the project.

The project will be co-ordinated by Aidan Harte, an archaeologist, who will deliver training to all community volunteers and support as the work progresses. The Heritage Officer for County Leitrim, Ms Sarah Malone, will be overseeing and supporting the project.

To participate in what should be an interesting and informative project, please contact either the Heritage Officer or Project Co-ordinator by email or phone (details below). You will also be able to contact and follow the project as it progresses on Twitter (@LSweathouse), Facebook, and the heritage section of the Leitrim County Council website.

Contact

Heritage Officer: Sarah Malone, Email: smalone@leitrimcoco.ie, Tel: 071 9620005 Ext. 516

Project Co-ordinator: Aidan Harte, Email: leitrimsweathouse@gmail.com Tel: 087 2963795

Social Media

Facebook: @leitrimsweathouse https://www.facebook.com/Leitrim-Sweathouse-Project-109142071357685

Twitter: @lsweathouse https://twitter.com/LSweathouse?s=20

Leitrim Sweathouse video with Dr Ronan Foley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj-4D59-lL0&t=57s

The Leitrim Sweathouse Project 2021 video outlining preliminary research results:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCq1HCQ4D-Y

Leitrim Sweathouse Project Report 2021 |

This project is funded by the Heritage Council and Leitrim County Council.

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  • EU Sturctural Fund
  • European Union
  • Leitrim Heritage Logo