An unnamed, thirty-something Dublin busker (listed in the credits as "Guy", played by Glen Hansard) sings and plays guitar on Grafton Street, a Dublin shopping district. He struggles with the trials of performing on the street, including chasing after a heroin addict (Darren Healy) who attempts to steal his earnings. Lured by his music, an unnamed young Czech immigrant flower seller (listed in the credits as "Girl", played by Markéta Irglová) approaches him and, despite his annoyance, persists in questioning him about his songs. Delighted to learn that he also repairs vacuum cleaners in his father's shop, she insists that he fix her broken cleaner.
The next day she brings her Hoover by and parlays it into lunch together, whereupon she piques his interest by telling him that she is a musician, too. He asks to hear her play, so they visit a music store where she regularly plays piano. After teaching her one of his songs ("Falling Slowly"), which she quickly learns to play, they sing and play the song together, kindling a musical and potentially romantic connection. He invites her and her ailing vacuum back to his father's shop, and on the bus home musically answers her question as to what his songs are about: a long-time girlfriend who cheated on him, then left ("Broken-Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy").