This is the story of a little Irish village and three newly-minted Irish citizens. It involves a spate of gates being left open, a pooka*, and the mystery of a fluctuating flock of sheep.

Helen and Trevor and their 27-year-old son Ben are late of Kettering and recently of the parish of Ballygomore. Trevor’s a Leaver, Ben’s a Remainer and Helen mediates their furious disdain for one another. She’s also the one with the Irish grandparent and has traced the family back to County Leitrim.

They’ve been taken in by Brendan and Dolores who are at odds over quite when their guests should be moving on. And their flock of sheep is expanding and contracting without explanation, leading to some tough choices.

Their daughter Mags is up the road working a smallholding while her Dublin 4 husband Dessie is distracted from usefulness by notions of becoming a blacksmith. The possible sighting of a pooka* on a dark road only confirms his view of rural Ireland as a place of endless magic.

On the other side of the lake, bachelor farmer Petey employs Helen as his housekeeper, tasking her with increasingly onerous and unhousekeeper-ish farm labour. Their distant family connection suggests an inheritance that Helen may be due.

Barb’s Bar has the only internet in the village and Barb herself is minting it as a result. A proud member of the Chicago diaspora, she revels in being the biggest fish in this tiny pond.

Aunty Catherine has a bad leg and lives on the side of the hill with a load of pigs and may-or-may-not be harbouring fugitives which may-or-may-not be related to the pooka* and Petey’s gate being left open.

All of which is for newbie Garda Mrs Nugent to figure out. A tireless investigator who will not be fobbed off with cups of tea, she is determined to restore order to the good people of Ballygomore.

 

*From old Celtic mythology; A fairy spirit in animal form, always very large.