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. 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 🙂

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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 ❤

  6. 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.

  7. 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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