James O’Brien, Lord Glenmalure, called Jimmy the Hangman for his record as a judge. He marries his daughter to John D’Arcy and dies the same night.
John D’Arcy, an ambitious, tricky man of little character. Lord Glenmalure hopes he will become a great politician, but he does not. He is a weak character who takes to gambling. Challenged to a duel by the Citizen for deserting the Citizen’s sister, D’Arcy cheats by shooting before the signal. He burns down his wife’s house and dies when he jumps from a window to escape the flames.
Dermot McDermot, a serious young Irishman, D’Arcy’s cousin. He mistrusts the loyalties of D’Arcy. He falls in love with Connaught and tries to prevent the Citizen from killing D’Arcy, Connaught’s husband. When Hangman’s House is burned by D’Arcy, McDermot builds a cottage on the site, hoping Connaught will return.
Connaught, Lord Glenmalure’s daughter, who marries D’Arcy. After her husband’s weak character becomes apparent, she falls in love with McDermot. She leaves Ireland for England but returns after her husband’s death to live in the cottage built for her by McDermot.
The Citizen, an Irishman who is an officer in the French army. He returns to try to prevent civil war in Ireland. He seeks revenge for his sister Maeve, deserted by D’Arcy. He fights a duel with D’Arcy and is wounded. After D’Arcy’s death, he returns to France and his regiment.
Tricky Mick, D’Arcy’s father, an old friend of Lord Glenmalure.
Maeve, the Citizen’s sister, married to and deserted by D’Arcy. After the desertion, she and her little son die.
The Bard of Armagh
The Bard of Armagh, Connaught’s famous race horse. D’Arcy kills the horse after he bets heavily against the animal in a race and loses a small fortune.