This author's catalogue of tiny Irish islands is a literary geography--Inishgallen (The Coriander), Inishdara (Fort of Gold), Inishmanann (The Lost Island) and so on. This time it's Inisharcain, a bit of the old sod which seems fair to being washed into the sea. For years Inisharcain had been protected by a stout wall, but the villagers had grown careless about mending it and it had grown full of holes and, as old Sally dictates to the lad John in a letter to the County Council in Galway, ""twenty-nine years ago a great wave like a dragon came prancing up over our island."" Sally has visions of a similar wave coming, and come it does after the islanders have defiantly turned away the county engineer. Once the damage is past, they all maintain that there is no need to worry for another 29 years. But then John and his friend Pat decide to take charge of the matter, storming the Galway Council and convincing their stubborn neighbors. Slightly mad, very Gaelic characters in a parochial, yet wise, setting.