top of page

Blood Beyond the Keyhole

Vard, Colin

Delgany: Celtpress


Blood Beyond the Keyhole

Plot Summary

* Note: youth fiction

Shortly after Gráinne begins boarding school at Montclare, a concussion prevents her from going on a school trip to Dublin to see a high-profile hockey match. While everyone is away, Gráinne decides to explore the school grounds, and eventually ends up next to a door linked to stories about a crying woman who haunts a secret passage. Responding to a voice on the other side of the door she learns that a woman named Róisín, who has been missing since 1896, is on the other side of the door and is actually trapped in the past. Róisín asks Gráinne to retrieve the key to the door so that she can escape back to the present, but once through the door Gráinne learns that Róisín is needed in an important Rising in Dublin. She therefore decides to stay with Róisín in the past until the drama subsides.

Over the next week, Gráinne watches the events of the Easter Rising unfold from Coutness Markievicz’s encampment. Gráinne actively takes part on behalf of Markievicz by burning important documents as the police raid Surrey House and controlling the stock of medical supplies at Liberty Hall. She witnesses members of the Cumann na mBan, such as Dr. Lynn, Elizabeth O’Farrell, and Margaret Skinnider, take part in the rebellion. Gráinne becomes distressed at the horrors of war as people are shot all around her. She is particularly devastated by the death of a young Fenian, Séan, with whom she bonded over the previous days. Once the order to surrender is announced, Markievicz orders Róisín and Gráinne to retreat to her cottage where, over the next few days, they receive daily sad stories of the executions of the leaders of the Rising. When Gráinne returns to her time period, Róisín decides to stay behind and continue the fight for Ireland. But when Gráinne returns, she realizes that she left a bag containing her modern clothes in the past and so she decides to go back through the door. When she emerges on the other side, though, the surroundings have changed and she finds she has traversed even further back into the past—this time, to the 1600’s.

Main Characters

  • Gráinne

Significant Minor Characters

  • Róisín Burke

  • Sister Clodagh

  • Countess Markiewicz

  • Sister Mary Francis

  • Michael Mallin

  • Séan

Publication History

The novel was published in 1993 by Celtpress. There are no other editions. Novel is currently out of print.

bottom of page