In Springmount, County Wexford, Will hides away to watch Kate Kelly through her cottage window - a moth at the glass. As the strains of the St Anne's Reel fill the air, Kate and her brother Philly begin to dance on the newly laid floor of their living room, while old Mrs Kelly looks on from beside the fire. Desperate to understand how the terrible tragedy in his past can haunt his present, Will thinks back to the 1920s: a halcyon time. Romantic expectation dominates this period of change and tension when traditional order gives way to the new political awareness, and the ties of family and friends no longer hold so much sway. Mountain lads roam country lanes, loaded pistols in their pockets, and innocence and romance are corrupted by a physical passion that runs all too deep.