foxgloves

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!

Carey’s Castle: a hidden gem at the foot of the Comeraghs

carey castle

Just about a mile off the Clonmel to Dungarvan road, at the border between Tipperary and Waterford counties, stands the most loved and visited castle in the area.

The castle is located in the beautiful mixed woodlands close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the River Suir. Centuries ago the place was known as Glenabbey. It was a small monastic site that belonged to the Cistercian monastery in Innislounaght, Clonmel, but was abandoned in the 16th century as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries initiated by Henry VIII. The ruins of the old buildings and walls can still be seen.

After the monks moved out, the site was granted to Edward Gough, an alderman of Clonmel. There is no record that something remarkable had been happening in the site during the next 200 years, but in the beginning of the 19th century the Carey’s castle was built. At that time, the site was the property of¬†the Carey family, the wealthy schoolmasters who loved history. It is believed that they were the ones who built the castle, because it is a mixture of architectural¬†styles and eras. You see an ancient¬†Irish Round Tower, medieval Norman hall, Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. There was also a walled garden facing the river.

The Careys sold the site in the 1840s when they emigrated to Australia. The next owner was Colonel Nuttall Greene, who soon became bankrupt, and his property was sold off in the Estates Court. The site was abandoned and became derelict.

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

I always thought this building was an ice house, but now I know it is a chapel :). I love to receive feedback and learn new things.

Carey Castle

This is the other side of the chapel and the path that approaches the site from the east.

Carey castle

This is the path you would walk on from the parking lot after you take a right turn down the hill. The main path continues straight through the woods. It is also beautiful and worth to explore.

Carey castle

This is what you see when you walk down that path. In summer, the view is obscured by the tree branches.

Carey castle

Here the path makes a loop and returns to the woods. A different view from this point. On the right, you see the walled garden.

Carey castle

All the parts of the path are mystically beautiful. You see many ancient ruins who knows how old.

Carey castle

Glenary River is a treasure itself. Quite deep in some places, she even hosts fish. Local teenagers come for a swim in the icy-cold pool, just five minutes walk to the east from the castle.

I walk along the Glenary River out of the woods to the main road. It is quite dark here, and suddenly there is an opening between the trees, and the sheep appear like pale ghosts out of nowhere, startling me.

I hurry up, and in a couple of minutes the sun is shining again, and there are no ghosts anymore. Thistles and Foxgloves are stretching tall to get out of the thick wall of nettles guarding an old farmstead.

digitalis

I take some pictures of the gate and old roof, and walk to the parking lot.

Carey Castle is a unique place, open to everyone. How sad it is that people leave all their litter there after having picnics and walking their dogs. Once a year, a local Slovakian/Polish family hosts a Gulash Party in the castle grounds. A huge saucepan¬†of stew is cooked, and families with children stay in the site all the day, and some even over night, sleeping in the tents. Everyone can come if they are well-behaved ūüôā ¬†Before the party begins, the hosts are combing the area and picking up all the rubbish left there during the rest of the year. After the party, the place is tidied up again.

There is another Carey’s Castle in the world, a cave-like dwelling in the end of a magnificent trail¬†at¬†the South-West corner of Joshua Tree National Park, USA. Both sites are not officially recognized as tourist destinations, and remain ‘hidden gems’.

Thank you for visiting my favorite place!


Just to let you know. ¬†We have a wee¬†addition to¬†our family ūüôā

 


inese_mj_photography Have 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!