Introductory black-and-white archival footage from the 1920s and early '30s establishes context for "Jimmy's Hall." On screen titles provide background: the 1919-1921 Irish War of Independence, the Anglo-Irish Treaty fueling continuing conflict, and, 10 years later, a government promising a better future. Cut to 1932, Jimmy Gralton returns home to County Leitrum after a decade of exile in New York.
Ricocheting through events, "The Angels' Share" introduces the main characters through their appearances in Glasgow's criminal court on assorted charges: theft, drugs, drunkenness, and assault. Last to be judged and the story's anchor, Robbie Emmerson harbors an anger management problem but also loves Leonie, pregnant but with a thuggish family who loathes Robbie.