INTERESTING LANDMARKS IN THE PARISH OF DOON
THE SWEAT HOUSE
Just above Lacka, over a mile from the village of Doon can be seen a mound of rocks in a corner of a field. A small stream flows nearby. Today it looks an insignificant heap of stones, but in past times it served a very useful purpose. It was a "sweat house" which was used to cure Rheumatic Pains and other ills, before sauna baths and other devices were invented. It was a circular stone hut, five feet in diameter with a small doorway, two feet high. Rocks were heated in huge fires and placed in the hut and then water from the stream was poured upon them. The patient crawled in and lay in the cramped space among the dense steam. Heremained here for a considerable time and returned to the world in a state of much improved health.
A low hill stands just outside the village of Doon, with the unlikely name "Bottle Hill". Local legend tells how it got its name. One version says that a family who lived there long ago awoke one morning to find the hill covered with gold (no doubt an act of the fairies who lived in the fort nearby). They went to collect it, but not satisfied with filling their pockets, they left to get some buckets. On returning, to their dismay there was no gold in sight and the hill was covered in bottles. Another version says that bottles were discarded here by pilgrims going to Saint Fintan's Well.
A priory of Canons regular existed at Toomaline. Here a comunity of regular priests lived and ministered to their flock. The monastery was suppressed in the 16th century and the monks scattered. Most of them went to the continent but some remained among the local people, moving from house to house, keeping the faith alive at the peril of their lives. The monastery itself was renovated and became the home of Marshalls, landlords in the area in the 19th century. No trace of it exists today.
Many acres of bogland lie in the west part of Doon parish. Turf was cut here for centuries. The road was originally built on top of the bog but as the turf was cut away, the road was left perched precariously above the bog. Many houses along the road had several steps going down to them. It wasn't until the 1950's that the Limerick County Council set about lowering the road. Most of the bog is known as Cooga Bog, but College Bog is found near the Glebe, so called after the Erasmus Smith school in. Knocknacarraige. Samuel Lewis "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" 1837 says "The bog is in the lower part of the parish, is exceedingly valuable and lets at a very high rent; near the close of the last century more than 100 acres of bog moved from one townsland into two others destroying thirteen cabins, the inmates of five of which perished".
THE WHITE QUARRY
Down through the years quarries were a common sight in every parish all over Ireland. There was big demand for sone as roads, houses and walls were all made of stone and mortar. Many families earned their living and reared their families by quarrying stones at so many pennies and in later years so many shillings per cubic yard.
The best known quarry for miles around Doon was known as the "White Quarry". This quarry had two types of stone, namely sand stone and pencil stone. The sand stone was of a very good quality and was used in the building of St. Michael's Church in Tipperary Town, our own church here in Doon and possibly the churches in Kilcommon and Hollyford, it even was shipped to London. The last stones quarries here were used to build our local Allied Irish Bank in the year 1920. Jcrmiah Toohey was the last man to work in this quarry.
THE MONASTERY ROAD
In 1800 the road between the monastry and convent had narrowed down to very inconvenient limits at the place where it entered the main street. On the left was the cemetery - sacred ground not to be encroached upon, on the right was the little strip of land (The stie of the old church, a poor thatch covered structure, which was built about 1655 and is now the yard of a garage) which belonged to the Christian Brothers. Bro. Peter presented sufficient ground from the little plot to widen the road to its present dimensions and in return obtained the promise that a footpath and wall would be built at the expense of the county, from the monastery gate to the convent.
The footpath still exists but half of the wall that stood in front of the garage was demolished to give it access.