Anne Valley Walk

Anne Valley Walk

Anne Valley Trail is one of the overlooked treasures of Waterford county. I have written about the trail before. This is what I found on my last visit.

Rushes were swaying to and fro rustling in the wind, and I noticed a tiny ladybug feasting on something that looked like a caterpillar.

Yellow dung fly sat chilling on the young fern frond. Don’t be misled by the name – adult dung flies spend most of their time hunting small insects in vegetation.

Furled fronds of young ferns look like cute little animals.

This one looks like a furry snake ūüôā

Larches sport the most beautiful shade of  green.

I check on every blackbird I see in case it is a Red billed chough. There is a couple of them living in the Anne Valley. I saw one last year, but it quickly disappeared in bushes before I grabbed my camera.

The blackbird is quietly following me as I walk.

Finally he shows himself for long enough to take a picture. Funny, curious bird.

Song Thrush young keep together.

This scared baby is a juvenile Robin. A clumsy dove landed on his tree and he moved closer to where I sit. I feel good ūüôā

Warbler ignores me as if I don’t exist.

I took pictures of some simple but beautiful flowers.

This insect is trying to look like a wasp, but it has only one pair of wings and quite a wide waist which gives away its true identity : it is a Syrphid fly.

A group of swans, some of them last year’s cygnets, are floating near the island in the middle of the pond where they will spend the night.

Four ducks, survivors of the family of ten, didn’t want to be photographed.

The swans are finally getting ready for the night, and I am heading home.

One more picture of Foxglove before I drive away.

Thank you for joining me for this walk.

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful week ahead!

Anne River meets the Ocean

Anne river

This is my last blog post about Anne river. Here she is, on her final run to the Ocean. All the way from Dunhill, through the yellow Iris and Buttercup fields.

cows

Her waters are so clear that I spotted a school of young fish feeding on something invisible.

fish

fish

Final destination – Annestown beach. It is where Anne River meets the Ocean.

sea

annestown

First I climb the eastern edge of the cliff, but I don’t walk any further – I think this part is quite dangerous to walk.

annes1

I sit down in the soft grass and enjoy what I see. Thrift (Armeria maritima) is blooming in early June, and it is the most beautiful part of the scenery.

annv 013

annv 059

I cross the beach and walk to the western edge, where cliff walking is safer. I have taken many photographs but it is impossible to share everything in this blog. One of the little pleasures was taking photographs of many flowers I came across.

flowers

I found some big, sturdy daisies that looked a bit like the Seaside daisy but not exactly.

flowers

I also found a single flower of Gladiolus.

flowers

This is the view from the western edge. If you click on the photograph to enlarge it, you will see a stony structure in the end of the beach. It is the remains of a lime kiln. Limestone was heated there until it crumbled, and was then used for fertilising the land.

annestown beach

There are many magnificent rocks and cliffs and welcoming coves down there.

cove

It is where I turned back: I didn’t like that crumbling sandy slope. It is the Ballydowane cove.

annestown

Back in Annestown, there are two donkeys – the most photographed donkeys in the area. I am not sure if they are the same donkeys I see every year – they must be not. Life of a donkey is harsh and unpredictable.

donkeys

As I was talking to them and rubbing their ears and heads, I though about the generations of donkeys that have lived in this old paddock over the years, or may be, centuries. They have never seen beautiful Anne River valley that lies just a quarter of mile down the hill from them, with its lush grasses and clean, transparent waters.

donkey

Thank you for walking with me through these three blog posts along the Anne River!

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!

 

Dunhill Castle and my failed geocaching

dolmen

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 РSidhe. 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.

dolmen

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.

dolmen

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 ūüôā .

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.

foxglove

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! ūüôā

sparrow

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

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Anne Valley – Walk through the Fairy Door

dunhill

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 Рcute 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.

heron

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.

heron

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

robin

robin

I wonder if this is the same bird.

robin

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.

duck

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.

duck

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.

ducks

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!