Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Bawnrea. Farm into which the novel’s central character, Leo Foxe-Donnel, is born. When his mother, Judith Foxe, marries his father, Long John O’Donnell, she marries down socially from the local estate house, Foxehall. While Long John welcomes his new bride, he welcomes her land, Ahill Farm, even more and mortgages it immediately so he can buy a third farm, New Plot. Ignoring his older brother’s birthright, his mother makes sure that her youngest son, Leo, will inherit the best land. Leo, however, squanders his chances at education, preferring to drink, chase women, and father illegitimate children. Because Leo is privileged, he makes enemies of his brothers, who must spend their life on poorer land, barely scraping out subsistence livings to provide dowries for their seven sisters. While Leo spreads his wild oats, they must postpone marriage until they are in their fifties or sixties. Leo is saved as a character because he harbors a deep resentment against Britain. During the Fenian uprising, he shoots a man, spends ten years in jail, and thereby loses his land to his hard-working brother.
*Rathkeale. Town in County Limerick to which the older Leo gravitates after he has lost his land. There, O’Faoláin demonstrates that even though it might not seem related, occurrences on the land deeply influence events in the town. The parish priest forces Leo to marry Julie from Ahill Farm, with whom he has fathered two illegitimate children and started a shop in Rathkeale. In the town, the man from the country clandestinely continues his rebel activities. His wife’s sister Bid becomes involved with an Irish policeman, Johnny Hussey, employed under the jurisdiction of the British crown. All have been forced off the land in County Limerick, and although they get along well on the surface, political conflict arises between Leo, who represents victimized Ireland, and Johnny who represents imperial England. Intent on moving up by becoming a sergeant, Johnny spies upon Leo’s patriotic activities, informs his superiors, and has him returned to prison.
*Cork. Irish city in which the family settles after Johnny is transferred from Rathkeale. His wife’s sister Julie and Leo move there after Leo’s release from prison. Now old and seemingly enfeebled, Leo starts another shop and becomes a bookie, which aids him ultimately in revenge against his traitor brother-in-law, who illegally plays horses. The family’s agony in its efforts to reconcile the past on the land is passed down to the third generation: Leo’s illegitimate son, another Irish patriot, and Johnny’s artistic-hearted son, Denis. Johnny and Bid, intent at any cost to forget their peasant beginnings on the land, relentlessly force Denis to enter the priesthood, or to rise financially in the world.