Moneygashel Sweathouse and Tomb

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Name Moneygashel Sweathouse and Tomb County Cavan Nearest Town Swanlinbar Access Road R206/R200 About 15 kilometres west of the town of Swanlinbar, in north County cavan is the Moneygashel Sweathouse and Tomb.

This is a high quality portal tomb that has been somewhat neglected over the years – by the Heritage Services presumably.

This, too, seems to have been used as a shed of some kind.

In front of the chamber there is a low drystone wall with a lintelled gap that allows entry inside.

The capstone is a monster – 4m x 4m – and now rests on the rubble at the rear and the sole remaining portal stone at the front.

There is at least one side stone visible inside and a few of the larger stone in there could be the remains of other structural parts.

The portal stone is well over 3m tall, so when the capstone was in place this would have been very imposing.

The walls around the site are generally quite thin, except for the one that runs away behind the chamber.

This thicker wall might actually be the original cairn to the monument.

Adding weight to this, there is some slabs 30 metres from the chamber that may be the remains of a cist.

Irish Sweathouses are generally small, rare, beehive-shaped, corbelled structures of field-stones, rarely more than 2 metres in external height and diameter, with very small “creep” entrances which may have been blocked by clothing, or by temporary doors of peat-turves, or whatever came to hand.

Most of those which survive could not have accommodated more than three or four sweaters.

They resemble the small ‘caves’, built into banks, in which many Irish natives were reported to live in the seventeenth century.

Some have chinks to let out the smoke, but they were necessarily cleared of fire and ash before use – so any chinks (deliberate or otherwise) in the rough construction would have served as ventilation ducts in a cramped space.

Where these were too big, they were stopped with sods or with mortar.

This site is quite high up and has great views along the valley below making the trip worthwhile.

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