Anne Valley – Walk through the Fairy Door


Dunhill village is a home for Anne Valley Walk, a 2.5 km trail that travels from Ballyphilip bridge to Dunhill Castle. This beautiful trail through the Anne Valley was officially opened in 2013 and took a huge amount of voluntary work to complete. The blue patches on the map are the man-made ponds that transformed the area from a marshland to a comfortable walking environment. The route takes some 50 minutes to complete if you don’t want to see the castle ruins.

anne river walk

The Fairy doors are at the other end of the trail – cute and very inviting. I am sure the fairies find a shelter here on their travels, and I feel like I walk through the doors too.

fairy doors

If you have worries, there is a place to leave them. The tree stump will sort it out for you.

Annes river trail Annes river trail

This menhir stands in the pond and looks authentic. I couldn’t find any information, probably the stone was standing in the bog before the ponds were made.

high stone

I don’t know anything about these either.

high stones

This one looks mysterious, it is difficult to spot from the trail. The picture was taken in early spring before the foliage obstructed the view.

annes river

Anne River is gurgling under the bridge, reflecting the sky.

anne river

In the late afternoon, the sun makes everything look golden, and the air is filled with musty fragrance of golden gorse.

annes river

Flora of the marshlands is still present. Birds use the silky seed hairs of Reedmace (Cattail) for lining their nests.

I have seen most of these birds. Best time for bird-watching is early morning, before the dog walkers scare them away. I have read that there is a kingfisher living somewhere. I hope he is. Of the mammals, I saw an otter one evening.

Swans, herons and egrets are the biggest birds seen around Anne River.


This photograph looks funny and I am not sure if I should have posted it. Because of the darker feathers on his chest, the heron looks like a sticker cut off with scissors and glued to the picture. It is the same heron. Two photographs were taken within just a few seconds.


European robin is one of my favorite birdies. This one was very friendly and sang me a song.



I wonder if this is the same bird.


anne river

I met these ducks just minutes before a tragedy struck their family. Have a closer look. Some ducklings are light-grey and have big, round heads like their mama, and the others are dark brown and have a dark stripe across the eye. The brown ones look like Mallards, but the grey ones are different. Anyway, twelve ducklings had hatched, but the day I took the picture there were just seven.  They were picking on something in the grass, and their mama was watching.


I took some pictures and walked away. After a moment I heard a duck quacking in distress, then came a loud splash, and then, with loud quacking and splashing and wing flapping, the ducklings run in the water towards me. Little legs got tired very quickly and they finally stopped running and swam – it is when I took this picture. They didn’t make any sound, but swam very fast.


Mama duck started quacking again, and the ducklings quickly ran past me. The darker ones seemed stronger and the lighter ones were left behind. Tall weeds didn’t let me see what was happening, but I ran behind the ducklings to the bridge. Finally mama duck flew past me too, quacking like crazy. From the bridge I saw them all gather together, mama duck still quacking. I counted the ducklings – there were six. One didn’t make it. The ducks swiftly swam away but I was still standing and waiting for that one. He never showed up. Anne River has her dark secrets.


These strings of Water crowfoot plant look like something woven by river Nymphs. White flowers seem fluorescent under the dark canopy.

anne river

A river doesn’t have to be deep and wide to be beautiful and important.

anne river

I will write more about Anne River and Dunhill in my next two posts. Thank you so much for taking a walk with me.  More adventures to follow.

inese_mj_photography Have an amazing weekend!



  1. Great post. Loved that first building at the top, the glassy rapids running through the rocks and the Worry Tree….loved the Worry Tree.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I put my hand on that tree stump with some sense of embarrassment – I even looked around to make sure no one saw me 🙂 And you know what – since that time I worry less. Honestly.

    1. Thank you! I was trying to get rid of that chromatic aberration using your tip, but some patches didn’t go away, so I let them be 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Jean. It is close to the Old Tramore Road. There are two car parks on both ends of the trail – one near the bridge at the foot of the Dunhill castle, and the other in Dunhill village on the stretch of the road between the Harney’s pub and Ecopark.

    1. Sheri, thank you so much for your kind comment! There is so much evil in the world, so I want to share something tranquil and gentle. Hope you both are well, enjoying the summer. I am busy with everything, as usual 🙂 Wishing you a peaceful week!

  2. A beautiful post as I have come to expect when I open your blog. I sure could use one of those worry trees and you had my heart racing with the wee little ducks.

  3. Beautiful photos of a gorgeous place. I love the standing stones and the fairy doors are so sweet! The cycles of life are always hard to witness, especially when the prey is a cute little duckling.Great post. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! This place has a very personal touch because of all these hidden fairy doors visitors are supposed to find. The ducklings have lost six siblings, and who knows how many more will disappear in the waters of Anne River – the otter family have their young too…

    1. Thank you! 🙂 The heron picture looks a bit strange because he just took off and moved quite slowly – there is no motion blur yet, and he looks like a sticker on that background 🙂 I posted it only because of the sharp focus, and because I didn’t get any better picture that day 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, this was a chunk of boggy wasteland before. The visitors only use the path – it is forbidden to leave the route and let the dogs off leash. Water was always there, but now it is ‘organised’ in the string of ponds alongside the stream. There is room for both humans and wildlife 🙂

  4. Life is tough for baby ducks. I’ve seen seagulls swoop down and take them before. It seems that lots of things eat duckling. 😦

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Yes, all who are bigger than poor duckling, don’t miss their chance. Otter, seagull, kestrel, heron would snack on them. Such is life.

        1. Yes, and sure it is the plan 🙂 Ducks would destroy the ecosystem if left uncontrolled. But the ducklings were so sweet… especially I loved the big-headed ones, the one of whom had perished 😦

    1. Thank you so much, Andrea! Yes, half of them gone, but they are growing and getting stronger. They might leave the place for a safer and bigger waters.

  5. Ms inese, loved the European Robin photographs! And of course the ducks. Thank you for a wonderful tour! This is an Awesome post!

  6. Lovely walk through the Anne valley! Sorry to hear about the ducklings – that’s just nature I’m afraid.

    1. Thank you for walking with me. I intended to walk to the ocean – it will take another two blog posts. Poor duckling – I think an otter or a rat ate him. Such is life. I walked back but didn’t see any blood or something – must be taken to a burrow, to feed the young.

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