“The Boys Are Away”

I woked up today
In my Grannie’s house
Mammy was already there
And smiling at me

A great big big smiling face
Like a face that was happy
And she walked so so slowly
Over to me in
my cotty-bed
She then lifted me up
And kissed my face
And hugged me tight
And hugged me more tightly

Your hurting me, Mammy!
Sorry, she said!
And hugged me again
And again, it was a little bit sore
But not as bad as before

I like how Mammy is happy in Grannie’s House
I like Mammy’s hair in Grannie’s House
She’s got big soft curls in Grannie’s House
I like putting my hands on Mammy’s hair in Grannie’s House
Mammy’s hair
smells really nice in Grannie’s House

Mammy in Heydayaya

Mammy carries me down the stairs
Grannie’s House has two stairs in it
With a bathroom in-between
It’s a lot of stairs so I have to hold on tight
When we go down the stairs in Grannie’s House
We get to the hall in Grannie’s House
I like the white and black tiles
On the floor in Grannie’s House

I remembered them from yesterday
The Big Grandmother’s clock goes
Cling Cling
Cling Cling
I shout back to it,
Cling Cling!
Cling Cling!
To you,
Mrs Clock!

The Girls and Conor

The Murphy Children in 1971 – All of us were in Belfast on the night of Internment

I like the smells coming out of Grannie’s kitchen
It makes me hungry for my breakfast
Mammy carries me in and puts me at the table
On a big chair w
ith a big cushion on
I dangle my legs under it and kick the table
Mammy says, stop kicking! and Grannie has a giggle

Grannie gives me porridge with butter and milk and sugar as well
My feet are nice and warm in my new slippers 
In Grannie’s House
I sit at Grannie’s table with a nice yellow tablecloth
I watch Grannie going in and out of the pantry
She has a fridge in there too
That is where she gets the milk from
And the butter as well

The pantry smelts funny
It’s got lots of different kind of smells in it
I like going into the pantry and looking at all the jars on the big shelves
Grannie has a lot of packets on the shelves
And lots of bottles and boxes on the floor
And jars of sweeties as well
But I cannot even reach them
They’re put up too high
I can’t even do it on my tippy-toes

And anyway, I’m not allowed to go in the pantry
Well, not 
on my own
I saw Rice Krispies on one of the shelves
But I didn’t get any – even though I had asked
But Mary Margaret did get some
When she came down stairs
Mary Margaret is bigger than me
So, she’s allowed Rice Krispies
But not me

Rice Krispies

Grannie said,
“You’ve had your breakfast!”
I sigh, and I 
put my hands under my chin
And watch Mary Margaret
Eating Rice Krispies

Mary Margaret asked Grannie,
What was all that big noise
Last night
When I woke up

Grannie said,
The soldiers came and took the boys away.
And it was just the women rattlin’ the bin lids to warn them.
Do you want some bacon and sausages now?
Yes please! Said Mary Margaret
Staring at Grannie
Then she just kept on eating Rice Krispies
Until her sausages were ready


Because I amn’t getting any Rice Krispies
I go to find my brother, Patrick Leo
Coz he’s a boy – and we only just got him
So it would be a shame if the soldiers had taken him away
With all the other boys
Because I wanted to play with him
Even though he’s atill really small
But one day he’ll get bigger
And play football in the hall
And he’s the only boy we’ve got

I found him in the sitting room in his pram
I ran back into Grannie’s kitchen and told her
Patrick Leo is still here!
I found him!
He was in the sitting room
All along!
So, he’s not gone with the soldiers, Grannie
See for yourself!

Internment Young Boy

Grannie is laughing that Patrick Leo is still here
She is happy coz he has not gone off with the soldiers
Then I watch Grannie make sausages
And then she blows on one
So as it is not very hot
And gives it to me

I play on the black and white tiles
Inside Grannie’s House
In the Hall
The Big Grandmother Clock goes
Cling! Cling!
I say
Cling! Cling!
To You!

Mammy is watching me play
On the black and white tiles
She is laughing at me
And I do more Hopscotches
And some dancing
She has a cup of tea in her hand
But then she goes into the sitting room
And closes the door

Grannie's Diamond Floor

I am too small to open it
Coz the handle is too high
I try to jump up but I cannot reach it
I want to go into the sitting room
To see Mammy’s laughter
And to tell Grannie about the spider
I hit the door with my hand
Let me in!
Let me in!
With my chinny chin chin

And so Mammy eventually opens the door
And I run on in
The sitting room is really cozy
The fire is on
I saw Mrs Kettle in there
She is eating cake again
With her hat on
I hear a big bang

Internmant joe mc

I look up at Grannie
Grannie smiles down at me
And laughs
She gives me a big bit of cake
Straight into my hands
I’m supposed to use a plate
I spill crumbs on the carpet
I look at Mammy
But she doesn’t give me into trouble
I pick up the crumbs and put them in my mouth


Mrs Kettle laughs
Grannie laughs
Mammy laughs
I hear another bang
I look up at Grannie
She smiles down at me
It’s fireworks, love
Just fireworks
I smile and laugh
I sit on the carpet
I eat my cake

Grannie’s house
Is the most f
un house
I’ve ever been in
For my whole life

Fireworks for the 70s




Cling! Cling!

Mrs Clock!

The boys are away!
The boys are away!
The boys are away!
The boys are away


internment 9 August 1971