Based on the real life of Bridget Mary Larkin, aka Tipperary Mary. We journey back to Ireland, to follow the story of a young girl, growing up without her father, who dies before she is born. At the age of 15, she finds the body of her stepfather, a man with a history of mental illness, who has hanged himself in the family home, leaving behind his natural daughter (Bridget's half-sister, Philomena). Following the death of her mother, Bridget finds love with a local lad, Bill. But when her brother - now head of the household - discovers the relationship, he stops it, threatening Bill - then beating and raping Bridget. Bill is forced to flee to England, while Bridget endures a terrible life at home at the hands of her brother. Finally, after giving birth to her brother's child at a single mother's institution, she has her child removed for adoption and she flees to England in search of Bill and a new life. She eventually tracks him down - and they fall into each other's arms.
However, Bill is now married with a child of his own. They begin an affair, and she adopts his surname - but Bill, wracked with guilt, returns to his wife. Now pregnant with Bill's child, Bridget's drinking becomes worse. As her life spirals out of control - her daughter, Phyllis (named after her beloved young half-sister Philomena) is born. Bridget holds onto the child she has had with the love her life for as long as she can - but is finally forced to let her go. Will they ever meet again...?