One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced and mysterious at a house in the Irish countryside. By the November fireside he begins to tell the story of this extraordinary land. One of his listeners, a nine-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves, he devotes his life to finding him again. It is a search that uncovers both passions and mysteries, in his own life as well as the old man's, and their solving become the thrilling climax to this tale. But the life of this boy is more than just his story: it is also the telling of a people, the narrative of a nation, the history of Ireland in all its drama, intrigue and heroism.
'Ireland' travels through the centuries by way of story after story, from the savage grip of the Ice Age to the green and troubled land of tourist brochures and news headlines. Along the way, we meet foolish kings and innocent monks, god-heroes and great works of art, shrewd Norman raiders and envoys from Rome, leaders, poets and lovers. Each illuminates the magic of Ireland, the power of England and the eternal connection to the land.