Heat warms up in Bosca Beatha
If you're looking for heat in Cork this summer, look no further than Shirley Fitzpatrick's mobile sauna, An Bosca Beatha. The Kilkenny native, now living in Kinsale is delighted with the response it has received so far and she has already travelled as far as Sligo with her self-built mobile sauna.
The Cork Independent caught up with her down in Garretstown strand on Monday evening on what looked like a misty winter's evening but even still there was plenty of surf and a lot of people about. Before we could ask her about the inspiration for this unique mobile sauna, we were given a towel and told to experience it before she would answer any questions. Seating up to eight people, it was intense heat and the conversation was flowing with the mix of people there. A dip into the sea afterwards was the perfect solution and it was exhilarating to say the least.
"The idea behind is that is that I thought it would be really nice if there was a community sauna that you could access in villages or towns, that you didn't have to go to leisure centres. Then I thought about making it and it seemed like an obvious idea to make it mobile. I did some research on the internet and found that they aren't that uncommon and even in Finland they have an annual mobile sauna festival," said Shirley.
It didn't take long for Shirley to put her idea into practice and she first bought a trailer and gave it shape and started working on it in her workshop. She had help from a range of different people who were inspired by her project and this community spirit made the making of 'Bosca Beatha' all the more worthwhile. Translated as 'box of life' it represents healthy and good living in Ireland.
"I put the best of material into it like Irish wood and I used wood insulation for the environment and the inside is cladded with cedar wood from Wicklow and I tried to source local material as much as I could. I have a stove outside and I can manage it there by putting in wood. The best thing about being here by the sea is that you can run into it after a spell in the sauna and it's so refreshing."
Niamh Geoghegan, a friend of Shirley's and in charge of the blog for 'Bosca Beatha' is keen to stress the ethos of the sauna.
"The idea behind it is to encourage people to come together in a community and use this healthy facility. There's a lot of negativity about in Ireland and something like the 'Bosca Beatha' is really about highlighting the positive, bring people together and accessing our natural resources and you do feel great after it," said Niamh.
"It's also inspiring to see Shirley go with this crazy idea but manage to build it and make it work and the success is evident by the number of people here using it today."
It certainly is unique and you can follow their adventures on www.boscabeatha.wordpress.com for their daily updates. Watch out for them at your nearest beach.