Ballykissangel is a small, rural village in the heart of the Irish countryside, where life revolves around the local church and its next door neighbor and rival, the village pub. It's the kind of town where everyone knows everyone else, and where any matter in dispute is settled by taking bets on the outcome. Needless to say when the new priest, Father Peter Clifford, arrives curiosity is aroused. Not only is he young and open-minded, he's also English. Early on it would seem that this former inner city priest has bitten off more than he can chew. Contending with the long-established ways of the villagers and their eccentricities and superstitions is a full-time job.
Much of the early seasons of Ballykissangel focus on Father Clifford's run-ins and confrontations with the beautiful and stubborn pub owner, Assumpta Fitzgerald. But after the death of Assumpta and the departure of the heartbroken Peter Clifford, life goes on with several new faces in town:
Father Aidan O'Connell, is newly emerged after 10 years of cloistered confinement in a Cistercian monastery. His sister, Orla, is a free spirit who has spent her life travelling. She's back in Ballykissangel to see her brother, and she creates quite a stir among the male population. Sean Dillon is another returning native, and he's recently widowed. Although he made a fortune in England, he is not welcomed back. Many remember suffering at the hands of his father. Sean 's teenage daughter is Emma, a feisty city girl struggling to come to terms with life in the country. And Danny Byrne is the brooding bad boy from a Dublin housing estate, who sets female hearts fluttering.
How will the new arrivals fit into Ballykissangel? Who will run the pub now that Assumpta has gone? How will Quigley react to another wheeler-dealer in town?