IN 1985 two boys from Darndale, Dublin, Keith Byrne (10) and Noel Murray (13), made headline news around the world after hopping on a Dart and ending up in New York, escaping authorities in three countries in the process.
Keith Byrne said that he and Noel decided to go to the US because he wanted to see his favourite television star at the time, B A Baracus, of The A-Team - or Mr T to many today.
Their incredible adventure began when they went out to play before dinner one night, Keith said in an RTÉ Radio documentary: “My mum said: ‘don’t go far, your dinner’s nearly ready,’ ”he recalled. “I said: ‘I won’t.”
But they did. They took the Dart to Dún Laoghaire and, from there, snuck on to a ferry to Holyhead. Emboldened by their success so far, they avoided the ticket checkers and got themselves on a train to London.
Eventually they wound up at Heathrow Airport with nothing but a few coins they had nicked from a charity fountain.
Once there they asked a random passenger where his plane was going and he told them New York. They told the ticket checker and security their parents were behind them, and boarded an Air India plane.
“The plane was only half full so no one came near us,” Keith said. The ease with which they slipped past the authorities was even more surprising given the fact that, just two months earlier, an Air India jet had blown up off the southwest of Ireland, killing 329 people onboard.
Byrne recalled being unable to eat a very hot Indian curry and watching the James Bond film 'A View To A Kill' on board.
Their journey eventually came to an end when they left JFK airport and asked a policeman for the way “into town”.
They were taken to a police station where they immediately became the centre of attention thanks to their incredible journey.
Authorities were taking no chances and they were put in a hotel suite with five security guards. “There was BLTs, chips, everything, fed us like lords. We loved it,” Keith said.
Their exploits made the front page of the New York newspapers and are set to become the subject of a new film.
Don’t Go Far has been written by Conor Ryan and is being developed by famous US producer Frank Marshall, who is best known for his work alongside Steven Spielberg.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be working to develop Don’t Go Far into a feature film,” Marshall said.
“Not only is the story of Keith and Noel’s stowaway adventure almost too incredible to believe, it’s also just the kind of uplifting and inspiring tale I think we could all use a bit more of right now.”
Keith Byrne and Noel Murray, now both in their 40s, still live in Darndale.
** Originally Published on: Oct 11, 2020