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An Irish Country Girl
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An Irish Country Girl

3.6 84
by Patrick Taylor

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Readers of Patrick Taylor’s books know Mrs. Kinky Kincaid as the unflappable housekeeper who looks after two frequently frazzled town doctors in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. A trusted fixture in the lives of those around her, it often seems as though Kinky has always been there.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some forty-odd


Readers of Patrick Taylor’s books know Mrs. Kinky Kincaid as the unflappable housekeeper who looks after two frequently frazzled town doctors in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. A trusted fixture in the lives of those around her, it often seems as though Kinky has always been there.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some forty-odd years before and many miles to the south, the girl who would someday be Kinky Kincaid was Maureen O’Hanlon, a farmer’s daughter growing up in the emerald hills and glens of County Cork. A precocious girl on the cusp of womanhood, Maureen has a head full of dreams, a heart open to romance, and something more: a gift for seeing beyond the ordinary into the mystic realm of fairies, spirits, and even the dreaded Banshee, whose terrifying wail she first hears on a snowy night in 1922. . . .

As she grows into a young woman, Maureen finds herself torn between love and her fondest aspirations, for the future is a mystery even for one blessed with the sight. Encountering both joy and sorrow, Maureen at last finds herself on the road to Ballybucklebo—and the strong and compassionate woman she was always destined to become.

An Irish Country Girl is another captivating tale by Patrick Taylor, a true Irish storyteller.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Taylor, like Kinky, is a bang-up storyteller who captivates and entertains from the first word.” —Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Girl

“Quietly, almost surreptitiously, Patrick Taylor has become probably the most popular Irish-Canadian writer of all time.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“The cozy village of Ballybucklebo and its eccentric inhabitants make the holidays bright.” —Library Journal on An Irish Country Christmas

“Taylor's novel makes for escapist, delightful fun.” —Publishers Weekly on An Irish Country Doctor

“Full of stories and vivid characters, An Irish Country Village recalls a good night in a pub.” —Booklist

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Irish Country Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.36(w) x 8.18(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt


"Run along, make your calls, and enjoy His Lordship’s hooley," said Mrs. Maureen Kincaid, "Kinky" to her friends, as she knelt in the hall and sponged Ribena black-currant cordial from a small boy’s tweed overcoat. "I’ll expect you all back by five, sir, not a minute later. I’d not want the Christmas dinner to be spoiled."

Her employer, Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly, said over his shoulder, "We’ll be on time, I promise, Kinky." He strode off accompanied by his guest, Caitlin "Kitty" O’Hallorhan, and his young assistant, Doctor Barry Laverty.

Kinky shut the front door after them. She imagined that over the excited voices of the children she could hear footsteps crunching through the freshly fallen snow as Doctor O’Reilly led his little party to his big old Rover for the drive to Ballybucklebo House and the marquis’ 1964 Christmas Day open house.

It was warmer in the hall with the door shut. Just as well with a dozen chilled little carollers inside drinking hot black-currant juice. She straightened up, inspected her handiwork, and smiled. "There you are, Dermot Fogarty. Good as new, so."

"Thank youse, Mrs. Kincaid." The eight-year-old bobbed his head. "If I’d got my new coat dirty, my daddy would’ve killed me, so he would."

She tousled his hair. Not for the first time she thought how harsh to her ears the County Down accent sounded, especially when she remembered the softer brogue of her own people down in County Cork.

She’d grown up there on a farm near Beal na mBláth and had left as a slip of a girl of nineteen to come north in 1928. That had been thirty-six years ago. She shook her head. It seemed like no time at all.

"Here." She refilled Dermot’s mug, feeling the heat in the delft and inhaling the scent of the black-currant juice. "Try not to spill any more."

"Thank you, Mrs. Kincaid."

"Anyone else?"

Several voices replied, "No thank you, Mrs. Kincaid."

The kiddies were crammed into the hall and overflowing up the broad staircase of Doctor O’Reilly’s house at Number 1 Main Street, Ballybucklebo, County Down.

"Then eat up, and drink up, and let’s be having a bit of hush." They were quiet now, filling their faces with Kinky’s homemade sweet mince pies and hot juice. She beamed over them. She liked children, would have loved to have had some of her own, but that hadn’t been meant to be. She smiled sadly to herself.

She probably could have found another fellah here in Ulster, but och, he’d not have been the Paudeen Kincaid she lost so long ago. She saw herself in the hall mirror and thought she’d not been a bad-looking lass when she’d been with Paudeen. Her silver hair, which she wore in a chignon now, was chestnut then and had flowed in soft waves to her shoulders. It was the worry about him one Saint Stephen’s Day that had started the turning of it.

She’d been a slim girl then. Now, she knew she could afford to lose a couple of stone, although doing so wouldn’t get rid of her three chins. But it was hard not to sample her own cooking, and she did love to cook. She always had, ever since Ma had showed her how all those years ago.

She shook her head, and sure if the years had passed, hadn’t they been good ones ever since she’d come here, first as house keeper to old Doctor Flanagan and later on, in 1946, to Doctor O’Reilly when he took over the practice? And hadn’t looking after those two bachelor men been a satisfying job, and almost the same as rearing chisellers?

Doctor O’Reilly, learned man that he was, would not get out of the house without egg stains on his tie if she wasn’t there to sponge them off or make him change it. He often called his Labrador, Arthur Guinness, a great lummox. Sometimes, she thought with affection, the pot does call the kettle black.

"Pleath, Mithis Kincaid?" A child’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

She saw Billy Cadogan, a boy who suffered from asthma. He’d been a patient of the practice since Doctor O’Reilly and Miss Hagerty, the midwife, had delivered him ten years ago. "Yes, Billy?" He looked smart in what must be his brand-new cap and bright red mittens.

He held up his mug. "Pleath, Mithis Kincaid, can I have a toty wee taste more? Ith cold thinging carolth round the houtheth today, tho it ith."

So, she thought, she should have known that Billy was the one lisping when they sang "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

Before she could answer, Colin Brown chipped in, "Billy’s right; it would found er you." Even today he was wearing short pants. His bare knees stuck out from under his overcoat, and his left sock was crumpled around his ankle. Colin was the lad who had single-handedly, as the innkeeper at the recent Nativity play, caused the mother superior to faint. Colin spoke again. "My Da says it’s as cold as a witch’s tit today, so he does."

Kinky frowned, then seeing the seriousness on the boy’s face, realized that he was merely repeating what he had heard his notoriously foul-mouthed father say. "And what would you know of witches, Colin Brown?" she asked.

"Oooh," said Colin, "witches is oul’ wizenedy women with wrinkles and warts on their green faces. They have black cats, they wear pointy hats and black dresses, ride around on broomsticks on Halloween night . . . they cast spells, and . . ."—he frowned—"and . . ." Then a smile split his face and his words came out in a rush. "And they get together in ovens."

"Colin means ‘covens.’ " That was Hazel Arbuthnot. She was Aggie Arbuthnot’s twelve-year-old daughter. She had lustrous black hair, just like her mother. For a moment, Kinky wondered if Hazel had also inherited the family trait of six toes. No doubt Cissie Sloan, Aggie’s cousin and the most talkative woman in the village, would know.

"That’s right, Hazel, covens." Kinky heard the other children laughing at Colin’s discomfiture. "And there’s no need to laugh at Colin. He nearly got it right."

The giggling subsided.

"And some witches do cast evil spells and sour the milk, or make the crops fail or animals die—"

"Oooh." Several voices were raised, and Kinky heard sharp in-drawings of breath.

"—but some are good witches." She paused to let that sink in.

"Good witches?" Eddie Jingles asked. He’d had pneumonia two weeks before Christmas. He was better now, but his mother, Jeannie, had very sensibly wrapped him up in boots, thick trousers, a heavy anorak, a green scarf, and a blue-and-white-striped wool toque. "I never knew there was good witches. Are you having us on, Mrs. Kincaid?"

Kinky scowled at him, then let a smile play at the corners of her mouth. "Why would you think I was making it up, Eddie Jingles?"

Eddie blushed and lowered his head. "Sorry."

"Now," she said, "how many of you believe there are good witches? Hold up your hands."

Jeannie Kennedy’s hand was the first to go up, then Micky Corry’s. Those two had been Mary and Joseph in the Christmas pageant earlier that week. The last hand raised was Colin Brown’s, but Kinky had expected that. Colin had a mind of his own.

"Good. So we’re all in agreement then?"

"Yes, Mrs. Kincaid," a chorus of voices replied.

"I’m glad to hear it." She lowered her voice and let her gaze wander over the group, looking this one, then that one, right in the eye. "Because my own mother was a good witch, so. My very own mother, and she got it from her mother, my granny."

"Does that make you a witch too, Mrs. Kincaid . . . since your mammy was one?" Colin had his head cocked to one side, his eyes narrowed. "You’ve no warts on your nose, like."

"Don’t be impudent, Colin Brown." She put her face closer to his, flared her nostrils, and widened her eyes. "Or I’ll turn you into a tooooadstool."

The communal "oooh" was much louder.

Seeing the look on Colin’s face, Kinky softened. "I’m only pulling your leg, son, so, for I’m not a witch at all. I couldn’t turn you into anything." Even if I did get the sight to see the future from my mother, Kinky thought, but that’s none of their business. "And if I was . . . if . . . I’d be a good witch and lift spells or smell out bad witches or cure people with herbs or find water wells—"

"With a hazel twig?" Billy Cadogan interrupted.

"Or a Hazel Arbuthnot," Colin said, then sniggered and stuck his tongue out at Hazel.

"Less of that, Colin, or I’ll not tell you any more," Kinky said.

"Sorry," Colin said. "I’ll houl’ my wheest. Honest."

"You do that, so," said Kinky. She let a silence hang, and hang, until Hazel said, "Pay him no heed, Mrs. Kincaid. He was just acting the lig. I don’t mind. Go on, please tell us more."

Several other children added, "Please . . . please."

Kinky smiled. The sight wasn’t the only thing she’d got from her family, and that was a story in itself. Her Da, God rest him, had been a famous seanachie, a storyteller, and Kinky Kincaid, when given an audience, liked nothing better than to spin a good yarn.

"So, it’s a story you want?"

"Please." She saw the expectation on the rosy-cheeked faces.

"Very well," she said. "Take off your hats and coats and hang them there, now." She indicated the hall coat stand. "Then go on up to the lounge. The fire’s still lit from this morning, and it’s warm. Doctor O’Reilly won’t mind, seeing it’s Christmas Day. There aren’t enough chairs for you all, so some will have to sit on the floor. Mind you’re careful with your mugs of juice as you go up the stairs, now. Leave a chair for me, and don’t be annoying the animals. Arthur Guinness and Lady Macbeth do be upstairs."

The hall was filled with a babel of excited voices as the children struggled out of their outer clothes.

"Now hush. Hush." Kinky had to raise her voice. "Do as I bid," she said. "I’ll be up in a shmall little minute with more mince pies."


She waited for quiet. "And then I’ll tell you a story of faeries, and the banshee, and the Saint Stephen’s Day Ghost, and if we’ve time—but remember I’ve a dinner to cook, so only if we’ve time—I’ll tell you how the Saint Stephen’s Day Ghost came back four years later."

Excerpted from An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor.

Copyright © 2009 by Patrick Taylor.

Published in 2009 by A Tom Doherty Associates Book.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

PATRICK TAYLOR, M.D., was born and raised in Bangor County Down in Northern Ireland. Dr. Taylor is a distinguished medical researcher, off-shore sailor, model-boat builder, and father of two grown children. He divides his time between Canada and Ireland.

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An Irish Country Girl (Irish Country Books Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 84 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Ballybucklebo, Ireland, Kinky Kincaid serves as housekeeper to small village's two doctors (Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly). On Christmas Day, Kinky turns storyteller as she spins a spellbinder to the children with the tale of the St. Stephen's Day ghost. When she was a child the age of her audience, Kinky was known as Maureen O'Hanlon. She had the unique skill of seeing the future. As Kinky tells about dark fairies to enraptured fans, back then Maureen must choose between her heart and her career. The latest Ballybucklebo Irish County cozy (see An Irish Country Christmas, An Irish Country Doctor and An Irish Country Village) is another superb tale with a neat twist as the previous support player housekeeper takes the lead effortlessly. The story line has two key plots one of which is Kinky's past when she had to make up her mind and choose one of two roads and the present when she tells the ghost tale. Fans will relish this terrific twist as Kinky proves to be a superb storyteller as the top banana title lead character. Harriet Klausner
Toolie2 More than 1 year ago
Patrick Taylor has given us a village full of interesting characters (and I do mean Characters), developed in the first book, and successfully maintained their honesty, charm and realistic nature throughout the series. In Irish Country Girl, Patrick Taylor has told Kinky's tale through that lovely lyrical gift of Irish story-telling developed over the centuries. It is definitely a keeper, a book to be read and re-read on a cold winter night with a fire in the hearth, and a cup of tea or hot cocoa on the side. I wish I could hop on a plane and visit Ballybucklebo, but since I can't I will be very happy to dive into my copy now and then and stop in at No. 1 Main street for a cup of hot black currant juice, a piece of mince pie, and a chat with Mrs. Kincaid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Irish Country Girl brings to life the novel beliefs in the little people by weaving it into a good love story. Very true to life, and just the right touches of Irish history to satisfy and lend realism. The main character, Kinky, Maureen Kincaid, is housekeeper for a doctor, and recalls events in her past that led her to this station in life and why she is at peace with it. Love found and lost, fairies, and many details that make the book authentic and interesting. Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, if you liked the Irish Country Dr. Series, you are already familiar with Kinky Kinkaid, as a housekeeper, this book tells her story. It was wonderful. I think I even liked it better the the Doctors.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Narrator Terry Donnelly is a deft voice performer who easily segues between accents from American to English to Irish. And when her text calls for Irish her voice is as authentically Irish as it can be. Her accent is true, crisp, and her voice is often lyrical as she switches to different characters by changing pitch. Thus, her reading of the fourth in Patrick Taylor's Irish Country series is a delight. With AN IRISH COUNTRY GIRL we learn more about a favorite character, Kinky Kincaid, housekeeper for Drs. Laverty and O'Reilly. We have come to know her as reliable, resourceful, and almost as if she had always tended to the doctors, Not so we learn as Kinky takes us back in her memory to when she was Maureen O'Hanlon, the young daughter of a farmer in County Cork. She was an unusual girl in many ways, but most certainly due to her gift of being able to see what others could not - the mystical world of fairies, spirits, and (shiver) the Banshee. Kinky is reminded of her girlhood when children come to visit on Christmas and are rewarded not only with sweet treats but also a tale of spirits - a true one. It is the story of Conner MacTaggart who chopped down a Blackthorn tree despite being warned that dark fairies live underneath it and will surely avenge themselves. That is precisely what they do, which is sad news for Maureen's older sister who wanted to marry Conner. From this reminiscence Maureen who is now Kinky remembers how she met her own husband. Fans of this series will enjoy the opportunity to know more about Kinky and how she came to Ballybucklebo. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
NellyDT More than 1 year ago
I love the whole sires 
Frisby More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable to read, makes you feel like you were there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1Taibhse More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much I just purchaed his other's from this series!
LauraD757 More than 1 year ago
As always in this series of the Irish Country doctor this is one for the record books. I love how his books read. And how they give you a glossary in what the different words mean. What a great way to learn Irish.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In a departure from the other "Irish Country" books, author Patrick Taylor leaves the Ireland of the 1960s and the daily lives of Doctors O'Reilly and Laverty and takes the reader back to the childhood of Mrs. Kinky Kincaid, the doctors' housekeeper. The story begins on Christmas Day, 1964. The doctors have just left for an open house held by the Marquis of Ballybucklebo and Kinky can now turn her attention to a group of village children who have been invited into the house for some warm drinks, mince pies, and a story of the St. Stephen's Day ghost. Kinky quickly settles into her storytelling, interrupted only by occasional questions from the mesmerized children. The housekeeper tells the girls and boys of her childhood home in County Cork, and of Conner MacTaggart, a young man she liked but her older sister Fidelma hoped to marry. Connor needed firewood for the winter and planned to cut down a tall blackthorn tree near his cottage. Upon hearing his plan, Kinky's mother became deathly serious and warned, "Don't you dare touch that tree, Connor MacTaggart. Leave it alone entirely." Mrs. Arbuthnot (Kinky's mother), believed the Doov Shee, or dark faeries, lived under the tree, and to cut it down would bring Connor bad luck.or worse. Connor ignored Mrs. Arbuthnot's advice and cut the tree down. It wasn't long before her warning proved true and Connor was pursued by the queen of the Doov Shee. The young man should have heeded the warning and left the tree alone. Kinky tells the children the rest of Connor's tale and then sends the youngsters on their way. Alone in the house with her thoughts and a cup of tea, Kinky reminisces about her life, the choices she made and the man she fell in love with. Along the way, the reader learns much about Kinky Kincaid, including how she was given the gift of "fey" or "second sight." An Irish Country Girl is a book rich in Irish mythology with a narrator who excels in building a rich and vivid tale. As Connor wanders to a lonely hillside to check on his sheep, the raven watches him and the fog seeps along the ground. You can feel the dampness as the fog approaches and sense the impending danger. It should be noted that An Irish Country Girl is written in the heavy Irish brogue that the characters speak. "Bet you got off school for a clatter of days. That's wheeker, so it is." (pg. 71) It took me a while to get into the story due to the language and terminology. There is a glossary of terms in the back of the book, and for this reader it was referred to often. If you can get past the authentic Irish dialect, then you'll likely enjoy this story of faeries, ghosts, and a young woman growing up and making life choices. Quill says: Kinky Kincaid takes the reader on an entertaining journey through the Irish countryside.
gardenerME More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth in a terrific series!
Volunteer2 More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment. It did not have the charm of the story contained in the previous Irish Country books. I know of three people who felt this book was published mainly on the basis of Mr. Taylor's previous books of Ireland.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the previous books better. Too much superstition for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It had way too much history about the countryside and every little detail for my tastes. It made the story drag on and on.
Jim34SC More than 1 year ago
I love the story telling of Patrick Taylor. Having visited Ireland I relate to the scenery too. Easy, relaxing reading with a feel good effect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a short book but a long read. It gives details on how Kinky came to be the housekeeper for the doctor.
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