‘Stevie is about a little boy. He was made by a group of young fellas. He is a reflection of what we see, growing up in our local community, with lots of fiction added in. Everyone wants a better life. We wanted a better life for Stevie. In this story, Stevie goes from being a nobody, to being somebody.’

Poem (see below) and Animation:

  • Written by Rialto Youth Project young men’s group: David Ring, Craig Hamilton, Dylan Farrell + Eoghan O’ Neill with artist & writer Fiona Whelan.
  • Youth work support from Michael Byrne and Thomas Dolan.
  • Editorial support for poem from Jessica Traynor and Fionnuala Cloke.
  • Animation by Paper Panther Productions.
  • Sound Design by Denis Clohessy.
  • Directed by Fiona Whelan.

© Fiona Whelan and Rialto Youth Project, 2020.


Listen here to one of Stevie’s makers describe the process of his creation:

Stevie was the first boy created through the Boys in the Making programme, developed by Fiona Whelan and Rialto Youth Project, which brings together groups to co-create a boy and explore his needs and experiences as he interacts with the world around him. The groups take collective responsibility for naming their boy and guiding him through life, exploring how he is shaped by and influences the world he lives in. The methodology of this programme is now being piloted in a number of different contexts in Dublin.

In 2021, Stevie was previewed in a series of online screenings, then premiered at the Louth International film festival, and in 2022 Stevie has been shown at a number of events including the Mother Tongues festival and the Canal Communities ‘Voices from the Community’ film festival.

Photos taken by Dannielle McKenna, Michael Byrne and Fiona Whelan. Nike drawing by Fiona Whelan. All other drawings by Aoife Balfe, created for Stevie animation.


Little Stevie
Four years of age
Jet black hair and green eyes
A few bruises on his arms
Climbing on roofs
Playing hopscotch
A poor fucker
Jack Russell following him
wearing clothes
he was bought when he was two

Bed at night in a room full of bunks
Preparing him for the Joy
Fighting over toothpaste and toilet time
The immersion going through the roof
He uses his finger to brush his teeth
so he can leave the flat

Still too young to be slinging dope
He hasn’t been given an ounce of green
or had score bags put in his pockets
so he can do his drop offs

Dreaming of being a bodybuilder
A vigilante
A librarian
Opening his own library
Free like Matilda
Minted like Batman
Nights swinging off the blocks
like Spiderman

But this kid is neglected
Scared of police
And the local bully
who pulls his socks through holes in his shoes
Parents on the missing list
Their money in their arms
There but not there
He draws their pictures on a milk carton

We need to put him wide
to life in the ghetto
Tell him

Nobody gives a fuck about you
All you have is the group of mates
you see around you
Stand up for yourself
Get stick – give stick back
Don’t be a rat
And be proud of the flats
Because before long
you will be one of the aul’ fellas
and your bird will be one of the aul’ ones
shouting from the balcony

Age eleven
School is torture
Incorrect shoes
Uniform’s tight
Not right
Greasy hair
Nicknamed ‘Scruff’
Fake shit and Penney’s runners
held down
by the bully with his fresh Nike
Still a poor little cunt
Life on a road to misery

Get stick – give stick back
Don’t be a rat
And be proud of the flats

He learns to bring in money
Hustling crayons in the block
25 cent each
A little mastermind
making a hefty profit
Soon we will move him on
to something heavier
like play-doh

Morning Stevie
You’re fourteen
A poor teen
Still in school for now
Three days a week
going in stoned
It’s time to go left or right
Big stage of development this
You could try get a labouring job
Or join Sinn Féin?
You can’t be a little bitch anymore

Time for a tough guy persona
Bulk up
Add a Nike sign to that t-shirt
You’re not poor now Stevie
We’re moving you up in the world
Shed the Jack Russell for a proper dog
So everyone knows you’re not to be messed with
But you don’t want a little monster
that would go for a child
You will want to rear your dog to be loyal
Snap at anyone who looks
You’re fucked if you don’t stand up for yourself now
Time to rise

Gets given his first kilo
No choice but to sell
Can’t say no
And he needs the money
Fresh Nike
Moncler trackies
Tattoos of clocks and roses
Gucci runners for his bird
a used yoke from the flats
All fake
but 10k a day keeps the doctor away

Get stick – give stick back
Don’t be a rat
And be proud of the flats

Filthy rich
Weekends flat on the pat
Won’t give a rat
Whacking the gear in his arm
Too smart for prison
Not going to get caught
He’ll invest in the flats
Buy a summer house in Spain
and a mansion on the quays
Five bedrooms
65 inch TV
Living off ham and cheese toasties
His ma making Sunday dinner
Surrounded by hash and protein shakes
Weed and subway


Stevie was funded by the National Youth Council of Ireland  – Artist in Youth Work Residency Award, and as part of an Arts Council Arts Participation Project Award in 2019.

Drawing by Fiona Whelan