Jack Boyle and his old friend Joxer Daly are two Dublin tenement dwellers who put more work into avoiding work than most do in securing it. Boyle is a fantasist who's styled himself a Captain of the High Seas and he regales his crafty companion with maritime tales; herein lies the comedy. Jack's wife Juno is the breadwinner and moral powerhouse, but she can't stop her life unravelling as she's surrounded by a family who doesn't deserve her. Johnny, her son, is a moral weakling who has betrayed a Republican comrade, while her daughter, Mary is vain and a poor judge of male character. Therein lies the tragedy.