Some Lessons in Gaelic
An Irish Novel
When an eleven-year-old English boy arrives in Southern Ireland, walking on his hands and quoting Shakespeare, the natives begin to treat him with suspicion.
The town he finds himself in is a small mid-century (1950) maelstrom of snobbery, nationalism, sexual repression and quaint quintessential Irish intolerance, presided over by a clergy, discharging duties of guidance and tutelage with unparalleled fervour in their school. It also has a spectral madman, wandering the Wicklow Mountains, calling to the moon for his young wife who has been buried alive in the bogs.
Avoiding the clutches of the madman and with a pathological desire to avenge all wrongs, be they big or small, real or imagined, he embarks on a mission to win the bemused community to his side. Perhaps trying to murder the meretricious Plunkett brothers isn’t the best way to go about it.
Do we ever see ourselves as others see us? But guided by the gentle Brother Mulligan and the impish but morally sound Poppy Boyle, the boy begins to come to terms with himself and with others and after some harsh lessons, earns through rite of passage, his first steps to adolescence.