If you’re travelling to the Rosslare ferry this summer in Wexford and have time for a wee detour, it’s well worth taking a break at the small forest recreation area at Borodale ~ Dún an Óir. It lies a few kilometres outside Enniscorthy on the Banks of the Boro, not far from where this flows into the Slaney.
The chief feature is a well preserved Norman Motte which overlooks and presumably guarded the twisting turns of the Boro river here. The Motte was a raised earthen fort surrounded with a defensive ditch and in this case by a cliff on one side. They are associated with the early period of the ‘Norman’ settlement in Ireland, starting in the late 12th Century and led by Richard Strongbow de Clare. These Anglo Normans first arrived in and settled in Wexford. It is thought that Dún an Óir is the name of this fort, which would roughly translate as the wealthy or well appointed fort.
The Boro river itself is interesting, a relatively short but powerful river that rises on the south eastern flanks of Blackstairs Mountain and which gathers in several tributaries. I think there’s a good case to be made that the name Boro and it’s mightier sister, the Barrow on the far side of the hills are related. In the Civil Survey of the 1650s, the Boro is called the Ownevarrow, Abhainn a’ varrow and I speculate that this ‘varrow’ is some derivation of Mhór Abh, simply the Big River.
This map was surveyed & prepared for the Wexford Trails project.
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