Kelly Ann Sullivan: She was born and raised in the Irish neighborhood of Chicago in abject poverty. When she’s a young child, her father abandons her and her mother. It’s rumored Kelly’s mother resorts to prostitution, inviting men into their tenement in the slums, leaving Kelly vulnerable to those with bad intent, and a mother who is desperate for money. She dies leaving Kelly to the orphan system, but the child ends up a ward of the sisters at the convent. Recognizing her vulnerability, they raise her lovingly cloistered from the rough streets of Chicago. She’s nearly mute, quite introverted, yet very sweet. Her striking characteristic is a curly head of wild, untamable, copper colored hair. The nuns sympathetically call her the invisible child when no children at the parochial school play with her. When she’s in her late teens the nuns, having taught her to cook, give her a paying job as the cook in the Catholic run boarding house in the neighborhood. Even though her time in the book is short, she becomes a significant character held in the highest regards.
Sheridan McKay: An immigrant from Ireland, he’s taken advantage of the seedier, illegal opportunities America has to offer. In the late 1800’s, he’s built a significant bare knuckle fighting syndicate that zigzags across the country, running it with a strong arm using a small legion of thugs dressed in leather vests and caps known as McKay’s men. Even though McKay’s nefarious, his fighting show is a popular event when it comes to any town, raking in admission and entry fees. He fixes at least one fight per show to benefit himself, and anyone who gets in his way or crosses him disappears, proving him quite a dangerous man. Even his best fighter and biggest money-maker is not exempt from McKay’s deadly retribution.
Ed Murphy: A former Dubliner, Ed comes into Liam’s life in a time Liam needs a friend. He’s high in the ranks of an underground Irish-Catholic fellowship. This alliance followed the Irish-Catholic immigrants to America, born from the struggle for Irish independence from Great Britain and the internal resistance against subjugation of Catholics by pro-British Protestants in the old country. Ed and Liam become good friends.
Dr. Sean O’Neill: The Dadys meet the O’Neill family when they migrate west from Virginia Minnesota to Helena Montana. He and Liam become fast friends at the hospital Liam gets a position at, both born in Ulster County Ireland. As Liam gets to know Sean he becomes aware of his two secret lives. He’s handsome and alluring to women and a compatriot to all his fellow Irishmen as is Ed Murphy. Sean O’Neill is the cloth his two sons are cut from.
Molly O’Neill: Dr. O’Neill’s petite, wife and loving mother of his children. She wants nothing more than to be a wife to her husband and mother to her beautiful children, young Sean, Maggie, and Alice. Their last child Robert comes in 1906. Molly and Eva quickly become friends like their husbands do. Molly’s aware of one of his underground activities, but not the other. It’s she who really wears the trousers in the O’Neill household, yet she fiercely loves her husband.