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An Bhá Nua
genitive: na Bá Nua
nua new
Explanatory note
  • English

    Bay can be explained as meaning, among other things, “a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills” (see BAYLAND, par. Ferns), which would certainly be an apt designation here.

    That said, a number of independent attestations appear to reflect Hiberno-English bawn (< bábhún) “an enclosure” (7, 12, 13, 17), which may suggest that bay had been used as a synonym for bawn, referring to some feature connected with the castle that once stood here (see AIW 1606). (Cf. NEWBAWN, par.)

    The Irish form of the name is a translation.

    [It has recently been argued, with merit, that the meaning “a recess of land, partly surrounded by hills” is somewhat undermined by the fact that the use of the term ‘new’ with a topographical feature would be very unusual. An alternative derivation of bay from Old Norse bœr “farm settlement” has been suggested ([details to be added]), but this would be linguistically problematic. Furthermore, the word bay was doubtless in productive use in the English toponymy of Wexford, apparently in reference to an enclosure of sorts: see for example ‘Walls and garden comonly [sic] called the Hay Bay in the parish of Selskars’ (CGn. 65.377.45964). The meaning of bay implied here might explain its earlier confusion with the term bawn “an enclosure” as seen in the evidence for this place-name, e.g. ‘Newbane alias Newbay’. It therefore remains most likely that Newbay is a place-name of Anglo-Norman origin. In the absence of unambiguous evidence to indicate earlier derivation it would be methodologically unsound to infer Norse settlement from such a name.]

    [Excerpt from Logainmneacha na hÉireann IV: Townland Names of County Wexford, 2016, with additional material in square brackets [ ].]

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T 01339 20533

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