Dunfarring is a small village on the southernmost coast of County Wexford, busy enough to sustain its own quaint seaside hotel, but unimportant enough to have had its railway taken away during the 1960’s. To the west is Quinn’s Forest, a vast expanse of green and shade, broken only by the clearing in which Arlton Hall stands, a red and noble cliff-top outpost ashamed of its common neighbours. To the north is Errishead Nature Reserve, acres of wood, riverside amenities and gorse-lined rocky slopes.

Over the course of one unbearably hot June weekend, Dunfarring plays host to a gathering of visitors, which in itself is nothing unusual for the season. As the weekend unfolds, the strangers in town will find themselves mixing with the locals, their affairs intertwined helplessly.

These people are drawn together by fate, incidence, and the players in Dunfarring’s blackest secret, a darkness known only by the man who keeps it, the village lawman. He carries with him the burden of three dead boys, and the self-appointed judicial roles they are holding, gallant and ghostly protectors of their hometown.

By Sunday morning, the rocks at the foot of Arlton Cliffs are holding the lifeless bodies of the blamed and the blameless, the guilty and the innocent.

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Short Stories


© Martin O'Rourke 2002