This is a very good book which we both enjoyed. The main 3 boys in the book were Perry, Jerry and Billy. Reading about them gave us a very good understanding of their families and the places that they lived in. Some of the descriptions in the book were really good, because we could use our imaginations to see what things looked like and smelled like. We would not have been able to do this without all the details in the book, stuff like sunshine/shadows, smells, colours and stuff like that.

All except the street names. As we are not from Dublin, much of the detail of street names was confusing and we often skipped over it, as we do not know the places. When Jerry’s dad goes to Dublin Castle (for his work), we did not think that all the directions were needed, so this was a waste of time. When we go to Dublin, we saw a lot of these places in the book, but lots of the street names have changed and we did not have the book. We would recommend leaving some of this detail out, but others might like it.

Each of the boys came from different areas of Dublin and their families were very different. It was a very dangerous place to live with lots of people being shot. This is why the parents were always asking the boys to be very careful and come home if there was anything dangerous happening. But the parents still allowed their sons to go to Croke Park on their own, even though the city was very dangerous. This is crazy, but children then were allowed to do things that we are not.

It was very interesting to read about where the boys and their families lived, how many rooms they had, what they ate and what their neighbours were like. It really gave us a good idea of what life was like in Dublin at that time over 100 years ago. We really enjoyed reading about where their families came from, what jobs they did and what games they played.

Even 100 years later, boys still love football and going to games. We still do the same things as the boys did then, meeting friends and love to sit up on a wall to see the game better. It’s scary to think that so many people, especially kids our age, could get shot at a GAA match. It is also not good that the police did not help people as they would today.

We read that many of the policemen, army and others really hated the people of Ireland, but do not know why they did not just go home if they did not like it here. Because they really did not like it in Ireland meant that they would do mean things to people who lived in Dublin. They were always being mean to people who lived in Dublin, so the people of Dublin were mean back. Irish people were also shooting them, so maybe this was part of the reason.

On the morning of Bloody Sunday, lots of the friends of policemen and the army were shot, so this is why they attacked the people of Croke Park, but that was not right. It was very sad that the boys died because the police and army got mad. They shot people who did not do anything wrong. The families of everyone who was at the match would have been really worried while they looked for them after hearing about the shootings. It is a very sad ending to the book and very sad that Perry’s family had to leave Ireland to be safe

As we are both young, we found it a little confusing when the story jumped from one boy to the other, but we got used to it. But when the story jumped to Billy’s friend (Charlie) remembering what had happened, we got very confused.

We are really looking forward to our next trip to Dublin as we are going to Glasnevin Cemetery and will visit the graves of many of the people in this book that we did not know about beforehand
Conor gave this book 7/10 and I (Patrick) gave it 9/10, so we agree on 8 out of 10 (4 stars out of 5).

By Patrick (aged 9) and Conor (aged 8)

The Children of Croke Park” by Michael Foley, published by O’Brien Press, is on sale now for €9.99 (P/B).

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher, O’Brien Press, free of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review.