Dublin 2001 - Alison and Charlie are a young, upwardly-mobile couple expecting their first baby. While Alison lives the suitably glamorous life of an advertising executive, Charlie is the successful boss of a car business he started from scratch. But the birth of Charlie's son - whom he names Michael after his long-lost father - makes him begin to wonder about his past. When Alison stumbles across some old papers and effects belonging to his mother, the ball is set in motion. His errant father is tracked down, and Charlie is reunited with him before his death. Meanwhile, Charlie's grandparents, Marie-Therese and Cormac, a sergeant in the local Garda, play out their courtship, marriage, and the birth of their son Michael, against the tense political atmosphere of Ireland in the 1920s.