Sunday was special like so many of the Sundays of my childhood. We used to go for walks on country roads, just like the road from Annestown to Dunhill Castle, here in Co. Waterford.
Childhood walks were always fun, but now that I look back on them, I can see that our parents, more subconsciously than anything else, brought us to places that would be educational in all sorts of ways.
Mother had a passion for nature, especially trees and wild wildflowers and Father was very keen on history as well as landscape photography.
I didn’t really mean to go for a walk on Sunday but found myself in the little village of Annestown with swimming on my mind. My eyes were drawn, as always to Dunhill Castle, which is about two miles up the Anne Valley from Annestown. The castle has a long, long history, which is well summarised here. In short, the site stretches back to pre-historic times but the first castle was built by the hugely influential la Poer (Power) family in the 1200s.
The ruin that stands guard over the Anne Valley today is very imposing and it is intriguing to think that the castle and the remains of an old church and graveyard were once centre pieces of a whole village. It is also quite amazing to think that the sea used to flow right up to the Castle whereas now there is but a narrow river.
My walk on Sunday had me thinking of the battles that raged between the Powers of Dunhill and the City of Waterford in the 14th century, but it also brought me back to Summer Sundays when Mother would delight in lifting us up to smell honeysuckle, pick juicy blackberries, play with buttercups and daisies, climb gates, run through bracken, listen to grasshoppers, watch fish jump in the river, blow dandelions, pick long grasses and gently press the seeds to sail in the breeze …..
That road from Annestown to Dunhill has hardly changed since I was a kid and here’s how it was as I walked from the beach at Annestown up to the Castle and the ruins of the old church and back again…..
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