Dunhill Castle and my failed geocaching


I think that Ireland is at her prettiest in May-June when the Hawthorn hedgerows are in fool bloom. They say that a lone Hawthorn is a Fairy tree. People tie ribbons to them asking blessings from the Good Folk – Sidhe. There is such a tree in the outskirts of Clonmel. It is seen in the photographs that were taken in the beginning of the 20th century, but when I saw it just a couple of years ago, new ribbons were tied to its branches, which means that the fairies still reside there and answer prayers.

Anne Valley is no different from the other places, all frothed with the white lace of hawthorn flowers.

Looking up something in Google, I came across a Geocache page  where I learned that there is a cache at the dolmen near Dunhill village, and another one at the castle. I am not doing geocaching, but a couple of years ago our family came across a cache in the tree in Wasatch mountains. It was a fun surprise. I was going to take pictures of the dolmen anyway, because it stands close to Anne Valley,  so why not to do some treasure hunting. I took a bead bracelet with me and drove to Dunhill.

It is the Ballynageeragh dolmen, restored in 1940 ‘by P. Murray and sons’, as the inscription states. The massive capstone rests on a wall constructed from building blocks. The original stone is missing. The dolmen looks lonely in the middle of the field.


I went around the dolmen a few times, looking into the holes between the stones, but the promised tupperware box was nowhere to be found. I guess I am not a good treasure hunter after all.


My next destination was the Dunhill Castle.

This is a look down from the hill. I could see all the world from there. The weather was unusually warm and humid, with not a slightest breeze. Humming and buzzing of insects were the only sounds that disturbed that tranquil wilderness.

dunhill castle

This land was not always so peaceful. Unlike many others, Dunhill castle put up a resistance to Cromwell, and was destroyed by the artillery. In 1912, the east wall collapsed during a storm.

dunhill castle

Inside the castle.

dunhill castle

These steps lead to the first floor, but I didn’t climb them, unsure if I could make it there without railings, let alone get down.

dunhill castle

Look from inside the castle.

dunhill castle

Another look from inside the castle, this time at the Anne Valley.  Anne River was navigable in the times of the Dunhill Castle glory. You can see the ocean in the distance.

dunhill castle

Anne river is rushing to join the Ocean. You can read more about this stretch of the valley in Jane Tubridy blog post, because she walked there, and I just drove 🙂 .

anne river

And this is where we started our walk, just a mile away, Anne River all adorned with the Crowfeet weeds, with The Dunhill Castle silhouette in background.

anne river

I stop at the car park at the foot of the hill to have a closer look at the horses I saw from the castle window. Anne River is slightly deeper here, and runs silently, without cheerful gurgling. Knobby Club Rush is rustling in the wind, …

… delicate Ragged Robin gently trembles in the breeze.

Foxgloves look almost fluorescent under the dark canopy of the trees on the hill slope. I love their spotted trumpets and the strings of the sturdy buds.


In my next blog,  I will write about the place where Anne River meets the Ocean. Hope you enjoyed the trip, and here is a Field sparrow for you to make you smile. He looks surprised because he didn’t see me come.

Ah, about the other geocache – I just forgot to look for it! 🙂


Anne Valley Walk blog post started the series. One more post to follow. Hope you enjoyed this walk. 🙂

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!


    1. I don’t know if I am 100% sad, because each side of the coin has its negatives, plenty of them. I understand people being fed up with the economy, but on the other hand, one particular leader is only waiting for the EU to fall, and with his imperial ambitions and insanity he might use the situation to strike. I am worrying about our safety more than for our economy.

      1. Yes – i think so to, about Safety – in the middle of all this, we are laying ourselves and Europe wide open. And not better in US.

        What is happening?

        Would it be ok to ask – what do you feel about a United Ireland.

        If i could i would vote for SNP . We were talking about this and thinking it thru – is there still a Scottish Royal Family? Maybe its time. I likr our Royal Family but everything else is changing

        Then wondered, if should try and apply for dual nationality.

        Close to us in Brighton – they would like to be declared as EU Citizens

        1. What I think of a United Ireland is that there is too much violence involved, and I don’t know if people are ready for such a change, and if the State is. What usually happens? People ask for changes and get furious when the changes don’t work as expected. Then each part starts blaming another. Been there.

          1. I wasnt sure if i should ask and hope i havent upset you, i really didnt mean too. I am not familiar with the real history of what happened but can understand there is a lot of pain and very difficult to forget. Hope at some point perhaps down the road, the pain will go.

            1. No, why 🙂 Nothing to be upset with. I am upset when people are killing each other TODAY. It means that they have never learned from their history.

            2. Its very sad, we have Poppy Day every year but it still goes on. Im not going to think about the EU stuff for a while but will vote differently at the next election

            3. I think the most important is to make an educated choice. I mean, not only an emotional choice, but the one based on some research, because it is about our future life. I hope everything goes well.

  1. Inese, I was just looking at pictures of Ireland, daydreaming of a revisit. Here your post features crisp, clean shots highlighting that great green. My favorite shot was the archway in Galway Castle looking out to the pastures below. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! I can imagine how many visitors looked out of that hole in the wall and took the same picture 🙂 I even suspect that many of them had got more favorable lighting conditions 🙂 What can we do if this is the only view from inside the castle? 🙂

  2. Inese – The luxurious walks and paths you take us on are such a joy. Everything feels so alive. At moments, I feel as though I can reach out and touch the blades of grass or step a toe into a body of water. The outdoors is such a beauty. I loved exploring the old castles when I lived abroad and you do a splendid job of taking me back to those memories yet keeping me in the present. Please know how much I appreciate and admire your work.

    1. Sheri, thank you so much for your kind comment! We are having a real summer this June, and I am happy to be outdoors every time I have a chance. Your garden looks so beautiful, I have seen the pictures. Hope you both are well.

  3. The Dunhill Castles so beautiful, dear Inese…. I truly liked the photographs… Also, I enjoyed learning about the Ballynageeragh dolmen, Google cache searches included….
    The tradition of tying up ribbons is such a magical belief… I loved that reference, my friend…. Thanks so much for sharing… Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    1. Thank you so much for your visit dear Aquileana! We have our own mythology mingled with magic too 🙂 Always inspired with your wonderful blog! Wishing you a happy day! xx

  4. Ah, I can almost smell the flowers — such crisp and clear photographs! I loved how the dolmen and castle, structures of antiquity, complimented each other. To me, Ireland seems like a mystical place, and how lovely that we’re all able to see your gorgeous country through your eyes. Thank you, Inese. xo

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Rose! Ireland is a beautiful country – still a lot to discover 🙂 Have a great, inspired week! xx

    1. Thank you so much! We had such a beautiful weather ( all gone), and I have provided my blog with pictures for the rest of the summer 🙂

  5. Gorgeous photos. 🙂 I particularly like the shots of the dolmen and I always love pictures of castle ruins – crumbling walls are far more appealing than pristinely preserved fortresses, though I may feel that way because I grew up in a town with a castle that was also slighted by Cromwell’s forces.

  6. I just can’t over that shot you took through the crumbled wall of Anne Valley. It was like a portal to another world. I can’t help but agree that Ireland’s colors feel warm and soft this time of year, and the river shone like magic in the sun. I feel like fairies are hiding behind the very stones you capture with your camera. Simply beautiful. xxxx

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Jean! That was pretty everything, and I am sure that every tourist has the same pictures of the Dunhill Castle. The weather was my aide – I honestly haven’t seen such a beautiful afternoon light for years! xxxx

      1. Oh yes, you had a positively beautiful day on your side, but your skills DEFINITELY shine with this collection. 🙂 Out of curiosity, have you tried taking many pictures when the sky stormy dark? I’ve always loved that color contrast, but I wasn’t sure how that impacts the ability to take a good photo.

        1. I have some dark pictures that might be tagged as Sunset. That was some storm! I will have a look, but I am sure I don’t have many because I am usually at home when the storm comes 🙂 Not being a devoted landscape photographer I don’t go out during a storm unless I have a good reason for doing that 🙂

          1. Yes, I suppose that makes sense, what with being safe and all 🙂 Last year I “lucked out” as it were, being at a campground as the edge of a wicked storm crossed over. That was fascinating, but…no, I think I’m with you. I’d rather not go chasing one with a camera unless I have to. 🙂

            1. I wouldn’t want to get my camera soaked. Landscape photographers have a passion for such pictures, but I only love looking through them online 🙂 If I got caught in the middle of the storm I would only enjoyed watching the drama unfolded.

    1. You are welcome! I didn’t want to repeat what was already written by you. Wouldn’t add much for that stretch of the river. I was looking for the swans I took pictures of years ago, but didn’t see them. Then I decided to go to the castle instead and farther to the dolmen. In my next blog I will write about Annestown.

  7. Dunhill Castle looks like a nice place for a day trip. I can just imagine eating my jam sandwiches will sitting on a nearby hill and looking down at it. Although it’s a shame Cromwell’s artillery destroyed it, I think it still makes a pretty atmospheric ruin.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I am so sorry, Akismet sent your comment to Spam! Yes, the ruin is pretty. It was so wonderful to be there alone, just me and the past. The ruin looks quite different when you look from the ocean side, from the road. Just a boring green finger pointing to the sky, never lit well for a good photograph. I was very surprised when I had visited it the first time.

      1. I guess the angle makes a big difference when taking a photograph. Incidentally, no worries about my wait in the spam folder, Inese. I’m certain my frequent visits to people’s spam folders has something to do with an incorrect setting on my blog. One of these days, I’ll figure out what it is. 🙂

  8. What a very lovely post, Inese!! 🙂 It´s got everything in it I love: your fantastic pictures (ahh, the b/w of the insides of the castle are just great – so much texture in them!), fairies, horses, flowers and even a dolmen!!! It´s always such a pleasure to read your new post and I have to admit, I´m always waiting for it the whole week! 😉 Wish you a very beautiful sunday! 🙂 xoxo ❤

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Sarah! The ceiling has so much texture that it looked unrealistic in the pictures with all those patches of algae and yellow&black spots on the stones. Like a cuckoo egg 🙂 I thought it would be better to make it monochromatic. Thank you again for your visit! 🙂

      1. Haha! I imagine! It´s absolutely beautiful! Sometimes the monochromatic helps to focus on the things that matter most in a picture. Already looking forward to your next adventure!!! 😀 xoxo

    1. Thank you Derrick! The ceiling was so spotty that I decided to remove the color, and added two more monochrome pictures for good measure so that they look like a set.

  9. Amazing photos. I love the hawthorn picture. Fascinating history and facts. Thank you for taking me on a journey. After I read this and looked at the photos, I closed my eyes for a moment (in the confines of my bed), and could picture myself there. It was wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much, Nancy! You would love to be there that afternoon, with the birds chirping and the bees buzzing. The weather wasn’t exactly Irish though 😉 We have got an unusually warm weather this June.

      1. That’s fine for me 🙂 I am a New York Floridian transplant now. However, Ireland is so beautiful, lush and green in the warmer months, friendly people. I have a friend who lives in Cork.

  10. Thx for the sparrow – did bring a smile! And reminded me of the song about how if god’s eye is on the sparrow I k kw how much more he watches me…..
    Anyhow – great castle remains and argh tot bake stairs!
    We have done the geo cache locally and had some success – but not all places had the set up as promised! – and Maybe next time you will find your Tupperware box- but this did make for a great blog post!

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 The grass was pretty high, I could easily miss the Tupperware box. It sounds like fun, the geocaching. How long are you doing it?

      1. Well it was yeas ago and I did it wth my two sons – two weekends and in one area where they gave us a booklet and clues!
        Maybe we can do it again-

          1. Oh well it looks like you will be having some fun!
            I felt such a sense of community when we would leave our stamp and read others markings – and of course the hunt is the fun too – and by the way – your castle photos made me think of the movie braveheart as I wondered the history – very cool photos

  11. Just beautiful, Inese. I have a hawthorne near my house, but I didn’t know about the fairies….hmmm……Also, the first close-up of the dolmen, I swear, has a face on it…but then, I tend to “see things”. Geocaches are fun…did they exist before GPS and tupperware? Thanks for a delightful walk!

    1. Thank you so much for joining the walk, Cynthia! Watch that hawthorn, just in case 🙂
      I had a look at the dolmen picture, and saw that face too. And another 🙂
      I know little about the geocaches. The one we came across in the mountains was a wooden box sitting in the tree. We wondered what it was, and only after reading the log book we understood.

  12. Such beautiful photos of a dreamy, dreamy landscape. The hawthorn blossom, or May blossom as it’s often called, is always wonderful to see, and the story of the Fairy Tree and the Sidhe is just lovely. And what gorgeous foxgloves! As for the ruined castle, I’d love to have a poke around that, Like you, I don’t think I’d bother with those steps, either. Lol
    You even managed to include a dolmen in your post to add to the air of air of mystery and thoughts of ancient times. I really enjoyed joining you on your lovely walk today, Inese. You can always go geocache hunting another day. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Millie! A blog about hawthorn fairies on the way and scheduled for July 🙂 The castle is beautiful, and I had it to myself for almost an hour. Tourists are directed to park at the foot of the hill and climb the steps all the way up. Not everyone can make it. I came from the hillside, and just walked to the castle 🙂
      There are many dolmens around, but some of them are not accessible. This one is close to the road, and the farmer doesn’t mind people walking across his field.

      1. I’ll look forward to your post about fairies. I love to hear folklore tales. I found the dolmen interesting after we’ve just been round several ancient sites in Cornwall. One was a dolmen, but not as elaborate as that one. 😀

  13. So many beautiful photographs! I love castles and could spend the rest of my days happily exploring them. Since I don’t have the money for that (yet), I appreciate you sharing your travels. I’ve not heard of geocaching. I’ll have to explore the topic further! I love that you not only take photos of the castle, but the views and surrounding nature, as well. Lovely post. ❤

    1. Thank you so much for joining the walk! There are many castles around. I didn’t know about geocaches until we came across one in the mountains. My Son in law knew immediately what it was, but I had no idea. It was fun though.

  14. Inese, the lovely Hawthorne natural hedge with its legend was so wonderful! ❤ I loved this! The photos of the delicate and unique flowers also captured my interest. Stones in piles had magical symbolism, I think! 🙂 You will share more, for this I am thankful!

      1. Aw Inese thank you It’s a nice size of place.. We actually live out in Broughty Ferry. But city wise nothing is far really . Nice shops, restaurants, live music scene, pubs and the Angus glens are on the doorstep. x

  15. Beautiful post and pictures. I loved how you had the caste but also the nature that surrounds it as it stands there quietly in the sun, older than the flowers and birds. I felt I could hear them singing and the water rippling. Wonderful evocative post . You found treasures in these things just the same.

    1. Thank you so much! The days was so beautiful, I thought the place would be packed with tourists, and so it was when I walked back to my car. I had the place to myself for almost and hour. It was amazing.

      1. WOW. It looks as if no-one ever goes there. A real forgotten treasure so it is great you captured it that way. She the camera gods had your back! .Interesting about Cromwell too. His right hand man came to my home town Dundee and invited its surrender. Dundee being Dundee invited his. Anyway the town was razed to the ground. Talking towers the townspeople mounted a heroic defence from St Mary’s tower. It still stands today . Terrible times and things that man did.

        1. Yes, he conquered half of Ireland too. So, the Tower still stands? It is amazing! Looking back, it is clear that people have never lived in peace. There will be wars, and my heart hurts when I think of my grandchildren.
          Families and tourists visit Dunhill, but when the weather is great and the tide is out, they rather go to the beach instead 🙂

      2. Yep the old steeple was built to last. it’s the oldest building in Dundee. We must hope our grandchildren inherit peace but you are right. You have certainly brought Dunhill to life for me xxxxx

  16. I love the lore about the Hawthorne, Inese. How wonderful and magical. The photo of the inside of the castle with the arched roof and archways was very cool – amazing architecture. Thanks for taking me on your walk 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! Yes, the arched ceiling was surprisingly intact, and looked really cool. I think I heard baby bats chirping somewhere between the stones.
      A hawthorn fairy blog scheduled for the July 2. 🙂

    1. Bruce, you have a treasure there. Cut all your old t-shirts in ribbons, put the ribbons on the branches, make a wish and just wait! If I were that lucky!

  17. The aged looks inside the castle are great. It makes me wonder what it would like when it were still live way back. I can feel gentle swaying of the ragged robin by the breeze. I really enjoy the tour!

    1. Thank you so much! I was sitting there and wondering, like you did – what the life looked like centuries ago? I know there was a small village and a church within the castle walls. Thank you for joining the walk!

  18. Beautiful photos and history to go along with it. You make me feel like I am there but I do know photographs do not pay tribute to the essence thereof. Be well my friend

    1. Thank you so much! I do my best, so that my pictures convey what I see and feel, but I always fail 🙂 If I had the gift of Word, I would fill up the gaps 🙂 This world is so beautiful, painfully beautiful. Wishing you well!

  19. Thank you Inese — for bringing us on this truly lovely walk! So much beauty in one blog post. I’m swept away into the magical world you’ve created. Mega hugs!

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