The design on the right
is an Artist’s Impression of ‘A Bawn’ based
on a drawing by local artist Patrick Duffy. The Place Name, Bawnboy
comes from the Irish, An Bábhún Buí –
The yellow bawn. Under the terms of the Ulster Plantation, planters
were obliged to build a bawn and castle. Bawns were built for two
a) Defence b) A cattle enclosure.
From the window structure of our Bawn –
windows narrow to the outside and broad on the inside – it
is obvious that it was used for defence purposes. The adjective
‘Buí’ (boy) meaning yellow, got its name from
the colour of the sand used in the building of the bawn.
In an extract from Breifne 1958, referring to
the bawn of Bawnboy, P. O’Gallachair (1622 Survey of Cavan)
states: “Sir Richard Greames, holdeth 1000 acres of this land,
upon which there is built a Bawne of stone and lyme, sixty foot
square and nine foot high, with a little stone house within, where
in Lieutenant William Ruttledge dwelleth and hath a lease thereof
and of 200 acres of land for 21 yeares and the rest of Sir Richard’s
1000 acres are sett to the Irish from yeare to yeare, who plowgh
after ye Irish fashion.” (British Museum Ms. 4756)
Davies U.J.A. 10, (1947) p.121 states: “The
Castle, at Bawnboy consisted of a small Bawn and house……….
A half-tower at the meeting of the front and back drives, of internal
diameter about 5 yards, is built with an archaic-looking batter,
and may have been the north-east tower of the bawn.”
In his Archaeological Inventory of Co. Cavan (1995)
Patrick F. O’Donovan states: “All that survives are
the remains of a featureless D-shaped or open-backed tower (int.
diam. 5m. N.S.) built of un coursed rubble masonry.
The Ordnance Survey Map 9, shows the position
and lay out of the Bawn, tower and house (See Map opposite).
For many years we did not understand the meaning
of the place name ‘Bawnboy’. We can only conclude that
the yellow walls of this striking landmark provided our Gaelic speaking
ancestors with a meaningful place name for the bawn itself and the
village that grew up beside it – formerly known as An Bádhbhdhún
Buidhe and spelled today as An Bábhún Buí.