An Coinigéar, Part I

An Coinigéar, or The Cunnigar, is a 2.5 km long spit of land that stretches out south to north across the Dungarvan Bay from An Rinn (The Ring) Peninsula, and ends not far from Dungarvan Quay. As it was specified in a 1537 document, its widest part measures “in bredthe one boweshot“, and the narrowest part is about 10m. Coinigéar means “rabbit warren”. I saw many rabbits when I turned to the car park. It was an early morning, and their ears looked transparent in the morning sun. During my walk, I only saw a few rabbit holes and droppings, but I had a feeling I was being watched 🙂

There are many stories told about An Coinigéar, and there is a ghost whom no one has seen so far. The ghost is guarding a hidden treasure, so if you find it some day, you will be possibly able to claim to have seen the ghost, I guess …

I am sharing a beautiful video by @fardinger   It will give you a better look.

Dungarvan Bay is dry as far out as I can see.

I start on the eastern side of The Cunnigar, but later move across. There is only one car parked, and I see a person with a dog in a distance. I have at least 6 hours to get to the end and back.

Thousands of local and migratory birds are feeding on tideline on both sides of The Cunnigar, but this time I just acknowledge their presence and keep walking. It is my first time here, and I only want to get a general idea of the place.

I see a couple of Ragwort plants and a Cinnabar moth caterpillar. To my surprise, there is not a single moth around at this time.

However I found another brightly colored day moth – a Six-spot burnet. There were thousands of them.

I also found many papery cocoons – full and abandoned.

Males and females of this moths look similar. Sometimes a male is sitting next to the cocoon patiently waiting for the virgin female to emerge.

The moth’s life cycle takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation.

This one got stuck in the cobweb. I am not sure if it is safe for the spider to feast on it. The moth is bright-colored for a good reason: if attacked, it emits a liquid containing cyanide.

Two shots of the hovering Six-spot burnets.

I keep walking, crossing from one side to the other. It is Comeragh mountains in background. We have been there 🙂

In the distance I see a man. Looks like he is foraging in the salt marsh.

Being a curious person, I come up and ask what is that he is collecting. It is Glasswort, he says. It comes out I met Andrew Malcolm – forager, composer and wildlife photographer.

I am chewing a piece of Glasswort, as Andrew suggested I should, trying not to look at a cowcake resting nearby.

Andrew says there are at least nine butterfly species I might come across. I saw only five. This is Small tortoiseshell…

…and this is Meadow brown.

A Bright-line Brown-eye moth caterpillar was hurrying across the rocks with a remarkable speed. More creatures in my next blog post.

The water started to slowly fill up the bay. You can see the oyster farm, the rows of the oyster bags in the distance. The farm is about 1 km away, but I don’t have the slightest interest to inspect it. Lessons learned 🙂

I will share the rest of my walk in my next blog post. Hope you enjoyed An Coinigéar and our walk.

 Have a wonderful week ahead!


  1. Breathtaking peninsula! I had no idea that particular moth ejects cyanide. Your sharp eyes capture even the tiniest creatures! You’re a naturalist Sherlock Holmes, Inese. I enjoyed our walk. 🌞

  2. Hi Inese. This might be the first time I’ve ever admired insects (other than butterflies)! But you’ve captured their colors so beautifully! What a delightful morning excursion. Hugs on the wing.

    1. Thank you so much, Teagan. You are always so kind. I am having a tough January, but you know what? Your book was a highlight of the dreary month. And I also learned a great news – there will be a sequel! 🙂 Because these little babies will grow and have their own adventures! 🙂 It is so very exciting. I talk to you on your blog later on! Hugs.

      1. That is music to my ears — that you enjoyed the novel, I mean. I’m sorry about January. I’m having a difficult one too. My agoraphobia has kept me from going more than a single mile away from home for many years… Now I’m trying to move 2000 miles across the country to get away from the place that has destroyed me. (I don’t do more than hint about it on my own blog, for a few reasons…) So my challenge is gigantic, exhausting, depressing, and daunting. What you said about my book lifts me up. I hope everything turns around to something lovely for you, right away. Hugs on the wing.

        1. Oh Teagan, are you finally moving to the state you said you would love to move to a couple of years ago? I so hope you are. Wherever you move, I am certain you will find peace and stability. Your magic Atonement 🙂 It is a tremendous challenge, but I have a feeling that this year is going to be kind to you. Let me know how it goes. I will be thinking of you xx

          1. You are so kind, Inese. I’m not sure which I told you back then. For 5 years (before moving to DC ten years ago) I lived in Albuquerque, NM. I loved it, but until recently it was not one of my prospective destinations, because the economy is not very good, and no jobs. So for six years I’ve been looking at other states in the southwest, trying unsuccessfully to get to any of several states.
            Then last autumn, I took “jobs” out of the equation. That let me consider New Mexico again — and I knew it was where I needed to go. I won’t be going back to Albuquerque, but to a little town farther south. It’s small and quite but has all the amenities I want. And living/housing is cheap enough that I can manage. Plus it’s quirky! And I wanted a quirky little town. 🙂

            1. It was Arizona you were talking about, and I was so excited because I love Arizona 🙂 Utah has 3% unemployment, but I know that living and housing are wickedly expensive there. I guess the same about AZ. As to NM, I would move to Taos straight away if I could 🙂

  3. Amazing! Your photography and your knowledge. How do you remember and learn about each insect, butterfly, and moth? I’m bad at names and knowing life cycles. Looks like such a wonderful walk and so much beauty.

    1. Thank you! It is all thanks to my degree and good long term memory, and I also pick up the missing parts in Google 🙂 Short term memory isn’t that brilliant 😉

  4. Happy you liked a few of my blog posts so I could follow back and view your amazing blog! I read Fox News, and learned so much about the breed, and the incredible Pat who has them as family pets. His good deed looked upon by Wildlife people as dangerous!?!? (shaking my head) Makes no sense. I’m enjoying your photography & look forward to more of your blog posts.

  5. Such a beautiful place! And thanks for sharing the video, it’s wonderful and left me with a sense of wonder and amazement at this little peninsula that really offers a magnificent variety of colours and textures. Do happen to know how the video was made? I imagine a drone would have worked…
    And I’ve never seen this kind of moths before, it’s really beautiful – and cyanide? Woah! 😀 Bet the spider didn’t live long enough to enjoy its meal. 😉
    Looking so much forward to part 2!! Have a lovely Sunday evening, Inese, and a glorious new week ahead! xxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! I cannot get in touch with the video author, but I emailed him shortly after the video was published. I think he did a marvelous job.
      Hope your week has a good start! xxxxxx

  6. Beautiful post, and the addition of the video complements the feel and emotion of An Coinigéar you create with your photos ~ an environment it feels as if I could spend my whole life there and it would feel too short. Another uncovered a gem you bring to us ~ wishing you a great start to 2019, Inese, and look forward to more discoveries with you!

    1. Thank you, Randall! I hope it is a year of amazing discoveries for you too.
      I am so glad I found this video – it wasn’t published yet when I wrote the post. An Coinigéar is indeed a place where the time stands still, marked only by the ebb and flow of the tide. I came there at 8 am and left at almost 4 pm. Magic 🙂

    1. Thank you Dave! The spit is a surreal looking place, and I am glad I found this video. Some places look fantastic from above, especially the estuaries with their web of riverbeds.

    1. Thank you so much, Takami! I cannot wait to visit the Cunnigar again. I have some more pictures and will post them in two weeks. Hope you have a great January ❤

  7. At a boweshot of distance a world of blue reflections and little beings. I love the sound of Irish words, each one seems to tale a story. Thank you, Inese ^_^

    1. Thank you for joining the walk, Francis! This strip of land is unique and beautiful. I am glad that it is still there, unspoiled, and will hopefully remain for millennia to come. 🙂

    1. Thank you! Oh I will write about the cows in my next post. They are not your regular cows at all 🙂 I will also write a few words about the history of this place. It is unique, and thanks goodness, it is not a tourist destination 🙂

  8. Beautiful images, especially of the red and black moths – amazing little guys! I watched the video and found out it had been a golf course – tried to figure out how it was laid out since I play golf. Nice blog!

    1. Thank you! 🙂 One part of the spit is quite wide, it could probably hold nine holes. But I am glad the golf days are over for The Cunnigar. It is a bird resort, and I hope it stays that way. I will write a little more about the past in two weeks. Have got so many pictures, they didn’t fit in one post 🙂

  9. A lovely walk and the gentle scenery of the place. It is interesting that you look for small creatures in this one and I appreciate the difficulty to take pictures of them. Very nice and I feel relaxing. It makes me want to out and looking for small insect to take pictures of too.

    1. Thank you! Yes, the little world of tiny creatures is fascinating, and they are also very beautiful. In my next blog post I will write about the birds and some more butterflies 🙂

  10. You ought to make a book out of your travels around Ireland, Inese. Words and photos. They’re all brilliant photos but the last one, the way you caught the cloud reflection on the water the sea left behind is fantastic – they all are ~ George

    1. Thank you George, I too love the reflections when the tide is out. There is a moment when the whole sky is reflected in the thin layer of water. I missed that moment as i was busy with the creatures 🙂

      1. You’re the expert, but reflections make for great photography. By the way, ‘I was busy with the creature’ would make a great line in a song ~ George

  11. The aerial video by @fardinger is a comprehensive tour. You got down to terrestrial details with those moths and spiderwebs and infused life in the package. Waiting for more…

    1. Thank you so much! It is a new video, I was absolutely stunned and had to share. It is very well filmed, and gives the bird eye view I cannot provide 🙂

            1. Our 14-year-old granddaughter has Paris on her mind. I’m hoping she, her mom, and I can put together a trip. Of course that kind of sets a precedent for all the other grands!

  12. I had to run my laptop over to my husband to show him your photos of the hovering moth and the butterflies. I always look forward to your wanderings with your camera, Inese. You have an eye for the beautiful. ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! It was my first visit, but I will go again an share more pictures in the future. Took some hundred pictures of the moths in flight before I got these two. Hard work behind the scenes ❤

  13. I simply had to show my dear, mad wife this post, Inese. Whether alone or in the company of humans in her garden, aside from speaking to flowers, all manner of birdlife and feral cats, she takes time to speak to insects…in many ways as if they were part of the family; I would hazard a guess that in some ways they are. Both she and I believe what you have here is a wonderful mini portfolio of nature. Superb.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Mike. Shirley would love the Cunnigar. This narrow strip of land is populated with so many creatures who have to share their habitat with the dog walkers, joggers and cows. I admire their perseverance.

      1. I remember…wherever it was in Ireland, the name eludes me – an age thing!…a river leading out to an estuary. One bank had giant tree after tree, quite close together, with herons nesting on each and everyone of them. A unique experience in my book. That said, I should add to Shirl’s skills that she knows all the plants that are edible when it comes to coastline walks. That’s probably becuase she grew up on deepest Devon southern coast. I don’t believe I could live in a place where the sea was miles away.

        1. Wow, I respect these skills a lot. I know all the edible plants on a dry land, but I was not that familiar with the salt marshes until I talked to Andrew and researched this matter in Google. Now I pick up a few plants on my walks to prepare a side salad 🙂 It is so very cool, and yes, I am careful and never damage the roots.
          There are a good few estuaries that match your description, but it is a unique experience indeed. I might write about such estuary sometime this spring as I have a ton of photographs.

          1. She was the first person to introduce me to edible flowers!
            Heron wise, if I recall we’d driven from Kinsale…where I had purchased some super linen granddad shirts and driven along the coast, past Clonakilty, to an area with a small model railway. Close by was the estuary where the herons lived. I could be wrong, yet think that was it…he said hopefully!

            1. Then it must have been river Bandon estuary. That’s a beautiful part of Ireland. Highly touristy, but beautiful nevertheless. Strange, we live so close, but none of us have properly traveled around the other country. I have been to your isle only five times, mostly on business.

  14. It’s looks very unique. Moths freak me out, but I was happy to see them in photos. I hope the spider is onto that poisonous moth in it’s web.
    Sending cheer and warmth, and I look forward to the next post. Will there be bunnies?

    1. Thank you, Resa! I didn’t see the spider… May be he has already made a fatal mistake…
      No bunnies 😦 I was just sitting and watching them, and my camera was in the back of the car… They were running around the road, probably playing in the sun. Little babies with pink, sunlit ears. Would be a fantastic picture.

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