Juno Boyle, a hard-working Dublin tenement dweller whose husband, 'Captain' Jack, is unwilling to get a job and spends most of his day swilling booze and reminiscing about the past with his parasitic pal, Joxer. Juno is a good woman who does the best she can for her family, but in many ways, she is the enabler who allows Jack to indulge in his irresponsible lifestyle. Their daughter, Mary, who wants to better herself, makes every effort to move out of the poverty in which the family is mired. Mary, however, is now out on strike and her brother Johnny, injured in Republican fighting, has become another drain on the family's slim resources. Juno's hopes for her daughter are raised when she brings home a young man who delivers unexpected and promising news to the family, thereby setting off a series of developments that, in turn, become both funny and dispiriting.