The battles of the Crimea and the streets of Belfast veil the simple life of young barmaid Mary Cannon. Walenty Nikodemski, a Polish sailor, who lives in the shadow of Russian wars and religious conflict, enters the Shamrock Hotel where she works. Mary feels his jade black eyes seeing right through her to her very soul. He pierces her heart. Family, faith and humour shape Mary as she struggles with grief, her violent Ireland and uncertain love. Encased in detailed historical events and settings, Mary’s Ireland enshrines the human capacity to confront adversity and flourish within it, turning donkeys into racehorses.
Mary’s Ireland is the first book in a series of three. It is to be followed by Mary’s Poland and Mary’s War.