Origins of Baths and Bathing

Upload to this page

Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.

  • Baths and Bathing

Bathing has a long history, going back to Ancient Rome and beyond. Many records of bathing exist from the middle of the eighteenth century in the area of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. During the Georgian period, around the late 1700s, many seaside resorts in Britain were developing.

The cult of spas, popular in the early 1700s with the wealthier classes, began to die out when people began to sea-bathe regularly. Around the same time, the health-giving benefits attributed to sea swimming and salt water were being celebrated, along with the taking of sea air. Boating and yachting were also growing in popularity and were arranged into races and regattas.

A famous map of the area from 1756, known after the man who compiled it, John Rocque, shows there was a bathhouse at Killiney Beach, perhaps where the old tearooms now stand. This map also shows two seperate bathing areas marked 'baths for men' and 'baths for women' at Salthill.

Bathing machines were in use on Killiney Beach during the 1800s to preserve female modesty. Additionally, bylaws from Kingstown in 1889 required the existence of segregated bathing and bathing areas. There were penalties proposed for those who did not obey these rules.

This meant bathing places were:

' ... specially set aside for females. Any person offending against these laws shall for every offence be liable to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings.'