In the seaside town of Tramore, County Waterford, visitors arrive in waves with the tourist season, reliving the best days of their childhoods in its caravan parks, chippers and amusement arcades. Local teenager Helen Grant is indifferent to the charm of her surroundings; she dreams of escaping to art college with her glamorous classmate Stella Swaine and, from there, taking on the world. But leaving Tramore is easier said than done.
Though they don't yet know it, Helen and Stella's lives are pulled by tides beyond their control. Following the Grant and Swaine families and their neighbours over three decades, The Amusements is a luminous and unforgettable story about roads taken and not taken - and a brilliantly observed portrait of a small-town community.