At Play in Belfast: Children's Folklore and Identities in Northern Ireland

By Donna M. Lanclos | Go to book overview

One
A Day in the Life

I walked through a checkpoint on my way to school;the army was stopping cars, but not pedestrians. It was raining on and off the whole morning, and the tunnel vision my rain hood gave me left me unprepared for the army patrol that seemed to appear out of nowhere in my line of sight.I was dismayed to see that they were on the side of the road I needed to be on, so I walked by as best I could, trying not to notice the big machine guns.I even had to say “Excuse me” to one soldier, who was standing in front of the school gate, waiting for word to move—backward—farther down the road. He readily moved out of my way, but it was unnerving all the same.

It is a relief to get onto the school grounds. The rain has stopped for a while, and the sun is shining through a brief gap in the clouds.I am standing at one end of the long playground, waiting for the bell to ring and for the school's morning break to begin. The bell rings, and a couple of minutes pass before the kids explode onto the playground, running down the ramp to the yard. The explosion is a visual one—girls and boys tearing out into the yard in their school uniforms, clutching bags of crisps and other morning snacks—as well as an aural one—the sheer noise of their released energy, in the form of shouts and screams, as they run. One girl asks another, “Let's run, OK?” The other agrees, so they join hands and run down to the other end of the yard and back again. There are a few pairs of kids who start off this way, and then three or four of the pairs get together and

-21-

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At Play in Belfast: Children's Folklore and Identities in Northern Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • At Play in Belfast *
  • Introduction 1
  • One - A Day in the Life 21
  • Two - Rudeness and Defining the Line Between Child and Adult 48
  • Three - Masculinity and Femininity on the Playground 84
  • Four - Exploring the Protestant/ Catholic Divide 124
  • Conclusion 149
  • Appendix - Methodology and Description of Schools 159
  • Notes 169
  • References 183
  • Index 201
  • About the Author 209
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