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New documentary tells story of two Irish boys who mitched school and ended up in New York

Gary Grimes

| Last updated 

New documentary tells story of two Irish boys who mitched school and ended up in New York

Many of us have fond memories of the days we decided to forego the shackles of formal education and commit the ultimate act of teen rebellion - mitching school. 

Most of us spent the days we bunked off maths class because we didn’t do our homework skulking around the back of a SuperValu, or perhaps overstaying our welcome at a table in the nearest Supermacs. 


However there once was a pair of young Irish boys who took the experience to a whole new level by ditching school and sneaking onto a ferry at Holyhead - only to ultimately wind up in New York of all places.

A new documentary directed by Garrett Daly tells this legendary story on screen for the first time. In a recent interview with the Irish Sunday Mirror, Daly explained: “We have been working with the guys to do a feature film, but that got sidelined with Covid, so that’s why we made the short documentary.”


The stars of the documentary are Keith Byrne and Noel Murray, who were aged just 10 and 13 years old respectively when they embarked on the mother of all big days off. After successfully boarding the ferry, the pair decided to ride their wave of luck and attempt to blag their way onto an Air India flight.

This proved surprisingly easy - the boys simply told airport staff their “ma” was behind them with tickets and ran onto the plane.


“The plane was only half full, so nobody came near us,” Keith explained. The boys were so relaxed they even managed to enjoy a James Bond movie on board. Once they were out the other end the boys’ lucky streak continued as they somehow managed to duck beneath a barrier at JFK immigration and leg it out the door when asked for visas and passports.


The pair even managed to dodge immigration at JFK Airport, ducking under a barrier and “legging it” when asked for visas and passports.

Ultimately their adventure came to an end when NYPD officer Kenneth White noticed they were on their own and stopped them in their tracks to investigate. This one of a kind documentary is called Nothing To Declare and is set to be screened at the Dublin Film Festival next month.


“Noel and Keith have had a reunion of sorts with the New York cops and chatted to them on zoom. I don’t even think Noel has a passport at this stage,” the director went on to say.

“It’s a hilarious tale and you’re almost brought on this journey with them.

“It’s been joyous to be there at festivals showing it, because audiences respond so warmly to them as they tell their story.

Ferris Bueller has noting on these lads, eh?

Featured Image Credit: 'Nothing To Declare'

Topics: Ireland

Gary Grimes
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