Access to the Dun track - further to what I have said below the other day - is off the Purple Trail.When on the river approach keep your eye on the Marker Posts,especially the one near the zig-zag steps.You will see the Purple arrow points Straight ahead and again Straight ahead at the previous ascent for the Purple walk.After this marker, trees left and right have hazard tape/red and white tape round the trunks.
Take the first left after 20 metres or so and ascend to where the Picnic Table is and continue wending and winding your way to the top to where you will see mounds of chippings ahead.
Bear left to the Marker Post and follow as directed.
Those on the Blue track will be able to pick up this Dun Trail on exiting the Pine Wood,keeping the boundary wall on your left,and follow the Marker Posts.
You will be descending all the way to the river before bearing Right.
Check both approaches out and see what you think.Enjoy.
The images above give a sampler of the new walk through the ringfort/Dun Ui Faolain which is now a walk on it's own or can become an add-on to either the Blue or Purple walk.The track takes you through the wood at the extreme eastern end of the Rock and will,I feel become much used in time by many walkers.
There is no map as yet of this track.Enjoy.
As you descend towards the river there is a Picnic table and seating under the belly of a large rock.
The track is steep in places so care should be exercised as you go.Enjoy.
A further walk - the Gully - will open shortly
Top left is the first shot of a Buzzard wheeling in the sky above,taken with my Nokia mobile;the second tracks of the Heron , while the final one shows the track of an Otter.A number of Otters are to be found within the woods on the banks of the river and if you are quiet and observant you will see one,either at swim and hunting,or on the bank finishing off a meal!
Along the bank of the river on the Purple/Dun Ui Faolain walk one can come on traces of animal movement especially on soft ground.Here we have the signature footprint of the Heron,often mistakenly called the Crane.I have yet to come on the bird on the bank here but I have often seen the bird upriver and downriver - all we have here are traces.
The Heron is the consummate fisherman,with the patience of Job and the concentration of Becket.
Feeds on Eels,Flounder/Flatfish and other bank and shallows' animals.
Take the time to observe this wonderful bird and you will be rewarded with sights of the wrestling match as it struggles with an eel trying to escape it's beak or the battle to roll a flatfish to effect a swallow!
The bird is extremely territorial and will not tolerate a rival on it's stretch of water.
One year on,what?This time last year Willie and Jason were putting the finishing touches to our boundary wall,pointing,filling,building and capping.
For a while after much of the wall was sterile,devoid of plant life.Not any more as a glance at the images above shows.
Already a wide,rich and varied flora is appearing:- Hart's Tongue Fern,Thistle,Nettle,Briar,Dandelion and more.
As you can see that 'more' is a strategy to buy me time to ferret out the names of all the plants I have yet to identify!
I am focussing on the roadside wall above so if you take the walk be careful as the traffic is unforgiving
Work commenced at 0900 and finished at 1700.The work was heavy,Mike doing the cutting,the rest of us doing the rolling,dragging,lifting and stacking at the side of the track.Work of removal of cut wood remains to be done so care is needed.
The Purple track is now completely clear of fallen trees and bushes.
We next tackled the as yet unmarked Dun track and cut and cleared as we went.We worked from the river side all the way to the gate at the V or east entrance.This walk too is now open and can be enjoyed on it's own or walked as an extension to either the Blue or Purple tracks.Will load images of this track tomorrow dv.
We continued into the Pine/Spruce wood at the head of the Blue trail,cutting already dead trees standing;trees that had fallen and trees leaning dangerously.
The day itself couldn't have been better and it was lovely to meet families with children making the most of the day and the walks.
Thanks to all involved:- Ned,Mike,Vincent and Kevin from Coillte;Sean and Janis from the Tus scheme;to Bernie and Liam who gave me a lift,coming and going!
Work done more to do.
Cutting of the remaining trees that fell over the last few months commences this morning so WALKERS are asked to be careful and avoid the following areas : -
the area of the Blue walk where the Pine Wood is;
the area on the river where the steps are leading up the eastern zig-zag;
the high ground near the old Rath;
isolated cutting further along the river path where more trees have fallen.
Red tape will serve as a warning that work is going on in the vicinity
The work will continue all day until evening and will leave all walks open to be enjoyed over the Easter period.
Thanks for your co-operation.
A ramble along the river track will reward the observant with a first view of the early Bluebells growing along the high bank - they are still emerging,slowly but surely.'An Cloigin Gorm' an t-ainm ata uirthi sa Ghaeilge.
Look but please don't pick and so leave for others to see and marvel at.
The Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe has this to say:-
Few botanical sights equal the beauty of the thick carpet of Bluebells that cover the floor of Spring woodland.Nowhere else in the world is this spectacle repeated,for Bluebells are native only to north-western Europe'.
The book,'Irish Wild Plants' by Niall Mac Coitir is a mine of information and mentions that the tradition of bringing Bluebells indoors was considered unlucky in some places while the name features in place names in
Cluain Bu/Meadow of Bluebells with Cuilbooa/Nook of Bluebells in County Waterford.
He also describes herbal and practical uses of the plant noting that the gummy sap of the bulbs was used as a substitute for starch;used as a glue for bookbinding and for setting the tail-feathers on arrows.
Bluebell was little used in folk medicine.However,it has been boiled for throat ailments in County Cavan,and applied to whitlows in Monaghan,while in Donegal the juice was drunk as a cure for coughs!
A story from Glenties in Donegal has Fionn and his men put asleep with a mixture of Bluebell and Tormentil by Grainne before she and Diarmaid eloped.Now there's a thought!
The shots above show that most elusive of plants: the Toothwort - saw it yesterday for the first time this year.
Have only ever seen the plant on the Purple walk,a few hundred metres west of the Wren's Well.
Also known as the 'corpse' flower' in rural areas I believe.Well it is parasitic and ghostly white/purple!
Appears for just a few short weeks every year so get on your boots or wellies - there are still puddles about - and go see it before it returns underground.
Parasitic on Poplar,which grows in profusion along this stretch of the walk,Hazel,Willow and occasionally Beech.
Pollinated by Bumble Bees ,a number of which I saw yesterday and failed to capture in a photo.
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