Dermot Gray, an Anglo-Irish boy who spends his holidays with his maternal grandparents in Ireland. To him, his grandparents’ cottage at Sandycove is home, beloved as his home in England is not. After a happy childhood and a comparatively painless adolescence, Dermot is killed in World War I.
Mrs. Gray, his mother. To her also, the cottage in Ireland is home.
Mr. Gray, his father. He confuses Dermot, who does not know whether he will react to something with patience or anger. Dermot is afraid of his father, who is sickly, and is also afraid for him.
Eithne, Dermot’s younger sister. As she grows older, she shares in his pleasures and excursions; when Dermot and her beloved cousin are killed in the war, she feels torn apart but comforts herself with the belief that the young men are together and surely happy.
Granny, Dermot’s grandmother. As a very young child, Dermot confuses her garden with the Garden of Eden.
Grandpapa, his grandfather, a wise and loving man.
Ben McManus, Dermot’s uncle, a boisterous retired mariner who is also a strict Puritan.
Aunt Patricia McManus
Aunt Patricia McManus, Ben’s wife. They live a happy-go-lucky life in a seaside house containing such wonders as a telescope and the dried jaws of a whale.
Con McManus, one of their four children. Much older than Dermot, he is boyish and exuberant. When Eithne is fourteen, he falls in love with her. He and Dermot are killed only a day apart.
Eileen McManus, Con’s sister, a lovely and lively girl whom Dermot adores.
Paddy Kennedy, a disabled lad hired by Granny to teach Dermot to fish.
Long Mike Hogan
Long Mike Hogan and
Peg-leg O’Shea, Paddy’s pals. From them and Paddy, Dermot learns a great tolerance for poor people.