This first novel won the Oireachtas Prize 2007, and the Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin award 2008.
Set in mid-17th century Ireland and Continental Europe, the narrative in An Cléireach is triggered by a single event that takes place during the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland, when a small band of the retreating Irishry gather on the side of a mountain and, despite the threat of massacre, for one night the rain lifts, the stars shine, and art and dreams take centre stage.
“We're stuck in the mud with them, and in the mire, and the muck. There are pages here that leave you reaching for a towel to dry yourself. .. A strong clear style.” Alan Titley, Foinse.
“It is the credibility and verisimilitude of the writing that lures the reader into the story in the first place, followed by an surpassed richness and precision of language that convinces him that he is in the centre of the whirlwind wherever the action takes us.” Tadhg Dubh Ó Cróinín, The Limerick Leader
“The richness and the clever manipulation of the prose are on an equal footing from beginning to end." Prof. Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, An tOireachtas