The episode opens at 5pm on the corner at Arbour hill where an anonymous narrator is talking with a Dublin metropolitan police when he nearly gets poked in the eye by the broom of a chimney sweep. He considers going after him, but decides against it.
The episode is interspersed with 33 passages of stylistic parody, which will be noted throughout (e.g. PARODY: legal jargon.).
The narrator runs into Joe Hynes, and they discuss a local Jewish grocer that has been selling without a license, which is very looked down upon in Dublin.
They decide to go down to Barney Kiernan's pub.
When Joe Hynes orders the first round (and he'll order all the rest of them), the narrator is impressed to see how much money he has.
The citizen and Bloom get into an argument, and the narrator thinks disparagingly of the Blooms. He learned about them from Pisser Burke, who lived in the City Arms hotel at the same time as the Blooms, early on in their marriage. He remembers an old man who got Bloom very drunk to teach him the evils of alcohol.
Doran stumbles out of the bar, and the narrator thinks what a fool he is. He remembers a time when he was pick-pocketed by two prostitutes.
Joe starts telling the citizen about how he saw Nannetti at the meeting of the cattle traders. Bloom jumps in and starts acting like a know-it-all about country matters, and the narrator again thinks disparagingly of Bloom. He thinks of how Burke told him that Molly used to cry her eyes out when they were living in the hotel together.
PARODY: The narrator thinks that Bloom could steal the egg out from under a hen, and the prose becomes like that of a children's nursery rhyme.
As the men discuss law and history – mainly their grievances against the British – the narrator thinks of what a kick he gets out of Hynes. A bit later, the narrator asks Hynes to shove over his drink.
Later, Lenehan suggests that Bloom won big in the Gold Cup race, which infuriates the narrator.
The narrator gets up to make his way out to take a whiz. He's wasted, and as he does so he thinks about Bloom with resentment.
When the narrator comes back in, Wyse is spreading gossip about Bloom. The narrator thinks about what a bane the Jews are on England, and thinks of Bloom's father committing suicide with acid.
Hynes mentions he did have children, and the citizen wonders who fathered them. The narrator thinks that the citizen has hit on some truth without knowing it.
The narrator thinks that killing Bloom would be a justifiable homicide. He's furious that Bloom won in the Gold Cup (or so he thinks) and won't buy them drinks.
Bloom comes back in and tells Cunningham he has been looking for him. The narrator thinks he is lying about where he has been and that he's been collecting money.
The narrator thinks that there is always someone causing a ruckus.