| 13°C Dublin

Parades, dances and the seaside - the joys of an Irish childhood

SMALL lives through a lens - and each image tells a story.

A new exhibition documents Irish childhood for almost a century.

Small Lives features photographs of Irish children taken between 1880 and 1970 from across the country.

Curator Aoife O'Connor had the unenviable task of selecting 50 images from some 25,000 photographs held in the National Library's archive.

The pictures demonstrate how the lives of Irish children have changed immensely over the years -- but the cheeky grins, laughter and enjoyment from the simple things in life remain the same.

Images from Dublin include children playing in the shadow of Ballymun flats, shortly after their construction in 1969.

The photograph demonstrated the new lives and joys for those children, who had moved from the old tenements in Dublin's city centre for a new life in Ballymun.


Another image shows a little boy and girl posing before a large crucifix on Dublin's Henrietta Street during the Corpus Christi festival.

A Dublin seaside picture shows two little girls tucking in their long skirts and daring each other to go further into the sea. Another seaside image shows a young girl riding a tricycle along the shore. Both images were taken between 1890 and 1910.

Children playing Red Cross on a Dublin street during the Civil War in 1922 shows how childhood games often reflect what's happening in the world at that time.

Images from across the country include a group of cyclists in Waterford in 1910, a group of Dublin children preparing for the St Patrick's Day festivities, and a puzzled baby sitting on his or her very first pony.

Small Lives will be on display in the National Library's Archive in Temple Bar until next June.