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Baile Duscair
genitive: Bhaile Duscair
baile townland, town, homestead
Explanatory note
  • English

    (the) town(land) of —?

    Despite the fact that this anglicised place-name is quite well attested, its etymology remains unclear.

    O’Donovan’s suggested derivation from ‘Baile duibh-eiscir’ (14), containing a compound of dubh “black” and eiscir “ridge”, is problematic. The anticipated inflection, i.e., *Baile Dubheiscreach (or perhaps *Baile Dubheascra; see FGB eascra), is not reflected in the historical forms. Alternatives considered include Baile Dúscoir “(the) town(land) of the black paddock, camping place”, in which the final element is a compound of dubh “black” and scor “paddock, camping place”; and Baile Dúscair “(the) town(land) of the black split, schism” (< dubh “black” + scar “split”; see Dinneen scar), with possible reference to the presence of a small narrow on the northwestern boundary of the townland. However, as the long vowel in the first syllable of hypothesised dúscor or dúscar is not reflected in the penultimate syllable of the local pronunciation (15), the origin of the specific element must remain uncertain. It is considered necessary, therefore, to suggest the phonetic approximation Baile Duscair as the Irish form of this place-name here. [More recently comparision of the final element of Ballydusker with ‘Old Norse Dysjarsker (‘Cairn Rock’)’ has been made, but none of the evidence for -dusker reflects the presence of a second -s- (...). The same source further invites comparison with ‘ON Dúfusker (‘Dove Rock’)’, but this is problematic in sofar as the long vowel of the initial syllable is not reflected in the penultimate syllable of the local pronunciation (see suggested Baile Dúscair above).]

    Notably, the same name, or one very similar, was once to be found in or around the parish of Oldross in the form of ‘Balidowsker’ (see Hore i p.18).

    [Excerpt from Logainmneacha na hÉireann IV: Townland Names of County Wexford, 2016]

Irish Grid

T 04758 12738

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