Childhood

This exhibition is focused on the voices of the participants as they reveal vivid memories and stories from their childhoods. Their recollections provide fascinating insights into the nature of childhood and particularly its fragility. The participants reveal stories and memories which emphasise the simplicity and happiness of childhood as well as its vulnerability. For many of the participants the narrative of their childhood is played out against a background of harsh social and economic conditions. This is particularly evident in the descriptions of education. By and large schooling was delivered through religious institutions who were given responsibility for education by an economically constrained newly independent Irish state. Childhood effectively ended for the majority of the participants when they finished their schooling and entered employment. For most of those interviewed this took place at age 14. At this time they became responsible for a portion of their family income and their mother was dependent upon their wages to sustain their family. This exhibition is divided into three sections: The first section focuses on the memories of childhood games and adventures, many of which took place on the inner city streets. The second section concentrates on the theme of education. Finally, relative deprivation is discussed in the third section. This section highlights that for many of the participants the extent of the poverty, which pervaded at the time, was not evident to them as they were living through it; they recall that everybody was in the same boat. It is the intention of this exhibition to provide a space to reflect upon the importance of childhood as a time which must be protected and cherished by a mature and evolved modern Irish society.

Sections

  • Games and Entertainment

    To hear about the games played by the participants when they were young as well as they forms of entertainment which were popular during their early years, click on this section.

  • Education

    To find out more about education and schooling during the participants childhood and to listen to the participants recollections of their school days click on this section.

  • Relative Deprivation

    Click on this section to find out more about the relative deprivation experienced by many of the Bridge-IT interviewees.


Children playing in McGuinness's court off Townsend Street


Ringsend children in the 1950's