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In the spring of 1916, a fever of rebellion against British rule spreads through the streets of Dublin. Fearful that her husband Jack will die fighting in the Irish cause, as her father did years before, Nora Clitheroe keeps secret from him the news that he has been made a commandant in the new Citizens' Army of Ireland. When Jack receives a message ordering him to report as a commandant to General Connolly, however, he chastises Nora for her selfishness and joins the army's torchlight procession and rally. During the rally, Nora commiserates with Mollser Gogan, the poor tubercular daughter of her upstairs neighbor, and explains with anguish that women are doomed to love, and men to fight. After the procession, Jack and the Irish army leaders meet to formalize their commitment and sign a declaration of Irish sovereignty. Later, while Nora and he enjoy a park outing, Jack is called away to another meeting, at which General Connolly announces plans to take control of a British-controlled post office. As a desperate battle between the poorly armed revolutionaries and the British army rages at the post office, hundreds of Dubliners begin looting stores and fighting among themselves. After Jack volunteers to run messages to the other commandants, he meets a frantic Nora on the battle-torn streets but refuses to return home with her. Before the fight is finished, Mollser dies and Nora is weakened with worry. The rebels, defeated at the post office, then take to the rooftops, where they hide and snipe at British soldiers. Hotly pursued, Jack scrambles over the rooftops and into the Gogan's flat. By hiding his rifle in Mollser's coffin, Jack avoids arrest and is reunited with Nora. As the British throw down the Irish "Plough and the Stars" flag from the post office roof, however, Jack vows to Nora that the fight for freedom will continue.