Page 156. " There is a big white house on Lambay Island - Georgian at a guessr "

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Lambay Island lies off the coast of North County Dublin and is the largest island off the east coast of Ireland. The island is privately owned and is home to an adapted medieval castle. It supports one of the largest and most important seabird colonies in Ireland. The island is accesible, by prior permission only, from Rogerstown Harbour, near the seaside village of Rush. It is popular with scuba divers because of its deep surrounding waters. 



Page 156. " Ada's son lost to Largactyl and squalor "

Largactyl is an anti-psychotic drug commonly used in short-term treatment of severe agitation in  psychiatric cases or long-term to calm restlessness in the elderly - to modify behaviour and prevent over-stimulation. It can have a 'zombifying' effect on users.Patients on Largactyl for long periods need close monitoring, such is the dumbing-down effect.

Page 157. " The Firbolg of Griffith Way "

In ancient times the Fir Bolg were the rulers of Ireland overthrown by the Gaels and thus taking a lower social position in Irish Society, legend has it they were driven westwards and that the Aran Islands on the Atlantic coast was their last place of rest. Veronica suggests that Ada and herself and Ivor and Midge do not have the 'true' Hegarty eyes but are instead throwbacks to another tribe- perhaps the 'true' tribe..

Page 162. " I saw a man with tertiary syphilis at Mass, once. "

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease and in its tertiary phase, which can occur between three and fifteen years after initial infection, is characterised by the formation of chronic gummas typically on the skin, bone and liver but they can form  anywhere. Gummas are soft tumour like balls of inflammation which can vary considerably in size. Co-infection with HIV is common and left untreated syphilis has a high mortality rate. In 1999 it is believed to have infected over 12 million people worldwide - most of these cases in the developing world. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only real preventer. 

Page 164. " passing a naggin of vodka "

Vodka (along with cider) has long been the drink of choice for Irish adolescents experimenting with the nation's drug of chioice in fields and outside shops all over the country. The naggin is a a flat bottle, handy to hide in a deep pocket, it carries a measure of 200ml.


Page 166. " The Gardai had rung the house "

An Garda Síochána (Irish for the Keepers of the Peace) are the unarmed police force of Ireland. The fact that Liam was arrested for a minor misdemeanor would have horrified his parents. Above all middle class children DID NOT do anything to bring either priest or Garda to the door, thus shaming both their families and communities.

Page 169. " After five days of it, they headed off to Mayo "

Mayo is a large, essentialy rural county on the west coast of Ireland. It would be one of the least populated counties in the country but has a wild beauty about it. It is very popular with tourists from Europe and the USA. To this day between sixty and eighty percent of children who grow up in Mayo are forced to leave it to find work. There are no indigenous industries although it is felt that in the future Ireland's majestic but barren west coast will serve as sites for windmills and dams to harness the power of wind and wave and provide electricity not only for Ireland but for export to Europe via an inter-connector. Mayo is home to the Céide Fields - these were uncovered as one of the most extensive pre-bog field systems of the Neolithic period, preserved for aeons by the blanket bog.The Irish Famine of 1845-1848 decimated the population of Mayo in particular and it has never repopulated to pre Famine levels.