A fortified enclosure around a castle; (Irish and Canadian) a meadow; (Canadian) a flat expanse of rock on a beach where fish are laid out to dry. Heaney explains why he uses it in his translation of Beowulf: 

‘I have in several instances used the word ‘bawn’ to refer to Hrothgar’s hall.  In Elizabethan English, bawn (from the Irish bo dhun, a fort for cattle) referred specifically to the fortified dwellings that the English planters built in Ireland to keep the dispossessed natives at bay.’  Seamus Heaney, Beowulf, xxx

‘Spurned and joyless, he journeyed on ahead / and arrived at the bawn.’

Source: Seamus Heaney, Beowulf, p. 24

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