In the early 1900s Mary O'Grady leaves behind the countryside and the family she cares for, to be with her husband in Dublin. Here she puts down new roots and looks forward to the day when she will return to Tullamore with her own sons and daughters. Marriage and motherhood sustain Mary, gradually the memories of her own childhood fade and her life revolves around the secure home she has created. But as her children grow, they seek the freedom of adults as she had done. Slowly Mary comes to realise that a mother's love cannot protect them, as it could not protect herself, from the sorrows and tragedies of life.