Have we had enough Irish childhoods, lackadaisical days remote from English stresses, charming eccentrics, amusing turns of speech, rain, religion, nostalgia? Well, no, not if they are as acute and funny as this tale of a Protestant boyhood in County Meath. Homan Potterton is the youngest of eight children of long-established farming stock. He grew up in the 1950s, in de Valera’s Ireland, insulated by its neutrality in the late war, quiet, poor, safe. The Pottertons had lived for the best part of 300 years at Rathcormick, a plain 18th-century farmhouse only embellished by a portico over the front door added with uncharacteristic grandeur by Old Elliott. Old Elliott was the cousin who left the property to Homan’s father on condition that he provided a son and heir.