Donal Donnelly and the local doctor are the central
characters in this gentle soap-opera tale, thirteenth in
the Irish Country series. The northern Irish village of
Ballybucklebo has reached 1969, and all across the world,
civil rights and anti-war protestors are on the march.
Despite this, the villagers feel they have more in common
than otherwise and everyone gets on with their busy lives.
AN IRISH COUNTRY COTTAGE looks so picturesque, with
whitewashed walls and thatched roof. Disaster strikes not
long after Christmas. Doctor Barry Laverty stops his car by
the roadside where Constable Malcolm Mulligan is
supervising a blazing cottage. Yes, the thatch caught fire.
The family of Donal Donnelly managed to escape, but they
have no home now, and this is the coldest time of year in
I enjoyed the local turns of phrase, and I particularly
like that pets, mainly dogs, are accepted as part of
the family. On the other hand we must expect that some
distressing scenes are part of the village doctor's
routine, and get recorded as part of life. I thought it a
good reminder of how medical practice was carried out at
that time -- fifty years ago, believe it or not. We also get
worried mentions, this far out in the countryside, of how
the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association has advised
against a protest march, in case a backlash causes violence
on the streets. Unlike the Republic of Ireland, at this
time, civil rights issues were very much a factor in
people's lives, so the author Patrick Taylor was right to
include mentions, even as his main focus remains on housing
As the long-running saga has a wide and varied cast, we
meet plenty of people and hear their backstories in
passing. A romantic chapter shows us the Paris of that
time. Books and plays are of great importance, since there
isn't much on television. Anyone who is charmed by this
wintry village, precariously poised between isolation and
mayhem, will probably want to hunt out the earlier
installments and settle down for a long, friendly read. AN
IRISH COUNTRY COTTAGE is the heart of the village.
An Irish Country Cottage is a charming entry in
Patrick Taylor's beloved New York Times and
internationally bestselling Irish Country series.
The New Year brings challenges and changes to the colorful
Irish village of Ballybucklebo. The Christmas holidays have
barely passed before a fire engulfs the humble thatched
cottage housing of Donal Donnally and his family. Although
the family escapes the blaze more or less unsinged, Donal,
his wife, their three small children, and their beloved dog
find themselves with nothing left but the clothes on their back.
Good thing Doctors O’Reilly and Laverty are on hand to rally
the good people of Ballybucklebo to come to their aid.
Rebuilding the cottage won’t be quick or easy, but good
neighbors from all walks of life will see to it that the
Donallys get back on their feet again, no matter what it takes.
Meanwhile, matters of procreation occupy the doctors and
their patients. Young Barry Laverty and his wife Sue,
frustrated in their efforts to start a family, turn to
modern medicine for answers. O’Reilly must tread carefully
as he advises a married patient on how to avoid another
As a new and tumultuous decade approaches, sectarian
division threaten to bring unrest to Ulster, but in
Ballybucklebo at least, peace still reigns and neighbors
look after neighbors.