In a committee room, Mat O'Connor, a canvasser for Richard Tierney, a candidate in an upcoming municipal election, discusses child-rearing with Old Jack, who tries to keep a fire going. Joe Hynes, another canvasser, arrives and needles O’Connor on whether he’s been paid for his work yet. He proceeds to defend rival candidate Colgan's working class background and maintains that Tierney, although a Nationalist, will likely present a welcome address at the upcoming visit of King Edward VII. When Hynes points out that it is Ivy Day, a commemoration of Charles Stewart Parnell, a nostalgic silence fills the room. Another canvasser, John Henchy, enters and derides Tierney for not having paid him yet. When Hynes leaves, Henchy voices a suspicion that the man is a spy for Colgan. Henchy badmouths another canvasser, Crofton, just before Crofton himself enters with Bantam Lyons. Crofton had worked for the Conservative candidate until the party withdrew and gave their support to Tierney.
The talk of politics drifts to Charles Stewart Parnell, who has his defenders and detractors in the room. Hynes returns and is encouraged to read his sentimental poem dedicated to Parnell. The poem is highly critical of those who betrayed him, including the Roman Catholic Church, and places Parnell among the ancient heroes of Ireland. All applaud the performance and seem to forget their differences for the moment.