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. I enjoy birds Inese, especially the European robin. This is small and wren-like. The song may sound like our American bird, whose robin sings~ “cheer, cheerily, cheer, cheerily.”
    The flying heron with black wings has such a perfect silhouette and I know you captured it, not a sticker! 😀
    Storks, egrets and herons are such fun and awkward birds. They remind me of newer versions of pterodactyls, Inese. Which my grandies love, despite their possible “scary” appearance. Hugs, Robin

    1. Haha, pterodactyls, it is what I think of them too. Grave and funny look, clumsiness and arrogance – all mixed together. I love them!
      Amazing that American and European robins are so different in appearance, but so alike in their behavior and singing. One of the most lovely birds on both continents 🙂
      Have a great weekend!

      1. I was blessed with the name, so it is a favorite bird. I prefer the European robin and have a Christian Christmas book with the smaller bird in it, “Robin Finds Christmas.” It is nice since at the end, the bird gets to sing for baby Jesus. I don’t often on my blog mention a specific faith but the books is beautiful. 🙂

  2. This is beautiful! I had no idea where Anne River was. 🙂 Can I share it on my Monday walks? Your photos and the little drama of the ducklings are great.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I am happy that you find this post worth sharing. It is a relatively new walk, and some tourists have never heard of it. Great if you spread a word 🙂

  3. Hello! I’ve been following your weblog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  4. Wow, what a walk. It looks an amazing place. Your photographs are fab, especially the one with the heron flying off. It looks fantastic. I love reading about where you have been, I will have to add this place to my list of places to visit. Have a great day 🙂 x

  5. Oh, how beautiful and sad. I wanted to cry for the lost duckling. Places like this have such a strange mix of fragility and power, don’t they? It made me think of a story my dad once told of how he had been playing near a small river with friends, and fell in. It may have been just a river, but it was fast and deep, and my grandfather, who never learned how to swim, leapt into the river to pull my father’s limp body out.

    I can understand why so many cultures believe in river spirits. They are powerful. Finicky. And always unpredictable.

    Oh, and what was wrong with that bird shot? I thought it was amazing! The other pictures were nice, too. (INSERT GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT HERE) :p

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Jean! What a powerful story about your grandfather… and I do believe in river spirits. I know they protected me, at least once.
      The bird shot looks funny because the heron was too slow 🙂 There is no proper motion blur in the picture, and he looks like a sticker.
      I have three posts about Anne River – the second one is out this Saturday. You are welcome to join me for a virtual walk 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I did walk to the castle. It is just a ruin, but I will write about it in my post this Saturday. All the area looks like a fairy tale.

    1. Thank you Resa! I couldn’t believe that happened 😦 I compared all the pictures and realized which duck was missing this time 😦

  6. What an enchanting post — complete with a charming cottage and little fairy doors! I enjoyed walking your woods and seeing those robin birds who wear the red as masks. Our robins here wear red on their chests. Fascinating! I learned something new again. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! If you put a fairy door in your home, there is a good chance you invite a fairy to share your place with you. Many of them are looking for a home.

      1. I love stopping by! I’m going to make a fairy door 🙂 Fun!! Thanks for the idea 😀 I hope they don’t mind a scary home — haha! I’m kidding. Kinda!

          1. Will do! 🙂 It may take me a few days… when I’m finished, I’ll post it — another post of mine inspired by you. Stop doing this! 😉

            1. I am delighted you are inspired by my post 🙂 I have another two posts about Anne River on my schedule, and then comes a post about a hawthorn fairy 🙂

      1. I would think the “mechanism” is similar to catholic confession or freudian therapy: “externalize” what is gnawing at you from the inside. (How’s your daughter’s pregnancy going? All fine?)

        1. The worry tree is a special technique to analyze your worries. It is a series of questions you have to ask yourself and move on. What I like about this tree stump is that I don’t have to analyze anything but just drop my worries off my shoulders 🙂
          So far we are doing all right in our circumstances 🙂 How is the little King of the House doing?

          1. It is a good technique. The little King (Or Chhota Sahib in Hindustani) is ding well. Putting on weight, which is good ‘coz he was at 5 lbs or sthg. His parent are walking zombies, as he eats every 3hours on the clock. 😉 Have a lovely week-end.

    1. Thank you for taking a walk. Yes, an hour with all the ducklings. Another hour to see the castle. I will write about it next week 🙂

      1. A nice walk no doubt. If there is no rain. My recollection of Dublin and surroundings, ages and ages ago was a) very green b) very damp (More than Brittany) c) Bl..dy cold! 🙂 d) Lovely, lovely, lovely…

Comments are closed.