The Blackie Boys

Cover of 'The Blackie Boys' This is a book of short stories about a river and a group of boys who grew up alongside it. Mick and Franky were joint leaders of a gang which consisted of ten members between seven and eight years of age and Beano, aged four and a half, who desperately wanted to join the gang. The Blackie River flowed from its source in the Divis Mountains above Belfast. It meandered, buried beneath the streets, through toxic industries on its way to the sea; emerging, polluted and poisoned, from under a low arched bridge. From here it made its way, unfettered by culvert walls, for almost two hundred yards; before once again, disappearing beneath the streets. It was here that the Boys and the River became friends.


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Story 1: Mick meets Franky

“Hearing the handle turn, Mick scuttled out the backyard door and without looking back escaped into the cobbled stone entry, that ran straight down to the Blackie River.”

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Story 2: Round the Backs

“Everyone knew that unwanted puppies and kittens were tied up in canvas sacks and thrown into the river to drown!”

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Story 3: The Bonfire

“The image of the Pope burning at the top of a Shankill Road bonfire didn’t register highly on Mick’s Richter scale, where hatchets were a nine and marbles an eight, but he considered it worth a five.”

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Story 4: The Wee Field

“Franky hated Beano! He hated the way he stuck his finger up his nose “mining for coal” as his Dad would say!”

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