Its Christmas 1901, and a group of Dubliners make their annual call on Granny Morkan's island. As the music and wine flows Gabriel's initial contentment with his wife Gretta changes as he realizes his wife's mind is far away thinking about one of the departed just remembered by all - but which one?
Pete and Glynis meet in a post office queue for booking long distance phone calls overseas. Their loved ones abroad become less important as they both discover they have a mutual appreciation of Rembrandt.
Facing retirement, elderly journalist Clarence Hubbard reflects on the pointlessness of a life wasted writing banal tabloid human interest, animal, and crime stories. Rather than go quietly to tend roses in a garden, Hubbard begins a series of violent actions not unlike those described in tabloids, and this is heightened by inter cutting tabloid headlines between scenes. Throughout, there are occasional shots of a television critic who watches this very play as it unfolds, and he writes a negative review filled with cleverly phrased but bitter invective.
On learning of the death of his ex-wife, American businessman Sam Dirk arranges to meet Daniel - the son he has never known. Sam's attempts at reconciliation seem doomed as Daniel doesn't seem to want to know his father.