Is Ireland child-friendly?

Are we a child-friendly society – do we embrace children and their parents in all areas of 21st century Ireland? Or do we corral them into suitable times and places, conveniently out of the path of mainstream everyday life?

Fiona Carey thinks we have a way to go. When the Bray-based mum of one was unable to find childcare for a recent screening in the IFI, she brought her little boy with her. She had been looking forward to attending the panel discussion “Presence and Absence: Women in Contemporary Cinema” – an afternoon seminar on feminism and women in film – however, she was asked to leave after five minutes because her toddler made noise.

“After leaving, I felt pretty embarrassed for even having the audacity to turn up with him in the first place, but I’d been looking forward to this discussion for weeks and had no-one to take him. I didn’t feel outraged. I get it, no one wanted a baby there. I didn’t want him there,” said Fiona. She’s not necessarily angry with the IFI, but rather frustrated with the overall lack of child-friendliness in Ireland that she sees in her day-to-day life. She wanted to raise this topic, not as a means of criticising the IFI, but as a general discussion point.

And as she points out, there’s a certain irony to a woman being unable to attend a feminist discussion because she has no childcare. The IFI were quick to respond to the e-mail she sent to them, and are considering her suggestion to live-stream discussions such as this one to another room, where parents and children can attend.

But it does raise a more general question – is Ireland child-friendly? When Fiona brought this up, my first instinct was that day-to-day I don’t encounter much difficulty with my own children. However, this is primarily because I know my limits. I go to cafés and shops that I know are buggy-friendly. I go to parks and playgrounds and play-centres that are designed with children in mind. I walk or drive everywhere – I haven’t yet braved Dublin Bus with a buggy. I nervously check out new venues on arrival, and leave soon after if I don’t feel comfortable being there with my kids. I know which coffee shop staff will look anxious if I walk in with three kids, and which ones will welcome us with booster seats and colouring pages and smiles.

Fiona does the same. “I have my mapped-out buggy routes and favourite cafés and restaurants that I know are baby and child friendly. But I don’t want to be one of those parents that never leaves the comfort of the suburbs, I want to go to into Dublin and go to galleries and museums and places to eat and shop every now and then without being reduced to a blubbering mess because everyone I encounter glares or tuts or someone is just not nice to me and my child. I think some businesses think that, unless you advertise yourself as child-friendly, you don’t have to accommodate children,” she says.

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Her last point reminds me of an experience I had some months ago in a coffee shop that’s beside my daughter’s school. Two friends and I went there, with our children, after the school-run. We went through to the back-garden behind the coffee shop, where we were the only customers, so the children could explore without infringing on anyone else. As the cafe is beside a primary school, a large proportion of the customers are mothers with children, but nevertheless, we were happy to be outside where we were less likely to invade anyone’s space. The owner however was nervous. “Ladies, I’ll have to ask you to watch those children” he instructed, as we walked through the café to the back-garden. We wondered to ourselves why he thought we wouldn’t do so, and laughed quietly about it outside. We bought our smoothies and coffees, and sat outside chatting. While I wouldn’t say we’re helicopter parents, we’re not far off. We kept the kids at ground level, plucking them off benches as soon as they started to climb, and calling out the usual reminders to stay up our end of the garden and stay out of flowerbeds. Unneccessary warnings – the kids were in good form and on their best behaviour.

But the owner was still nervous – the kind of person who is just not comfortable with kids. He came outside. “Ladies, I have to ask you again, you need to mind those children,” he said, and walked back in. We were bewildered (and I do understand that I’m asking you to trust me when I say the kids were well-behaved). He came out a third time, and repeated the same warning, so we gathered up the kids and told him we were leaving. It was an annoying experience, but not one that I saw as particularly unusual. “Man owns coffee shop beside school but doesn’t like children on premises” isn’t going to make the headlines. But perhaps it’s symptomatic of an overall attitude to children in Ireland – the idea that they’re inconvenient?

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The same old “you didn’t have to have kids, it was your choice” argument is peddled out every time this discussion comes up, but it’s disingenuous at best, and not an excuse for businesses and society to shirk responsibility.

“Whatever way you look at it, the fact of the matter is that most women will end up having children,” says Fiona. “At the moment, whether we like it or not, most of us will end up being the primary carers of those children and many of us of us can’t afford or don’t want to put them into childcare every single time we want to leave the house and take part in the public world.”

Society would generally like women to have babies, but doesn’t always want to accommodate them when they do. And society promotes gender equality but doesn’t always practice what it preaches.

Fiona agrees. “So much is being done to try to keep women in politics, in positions of power in companies, in public life in general, without there ever being any real discussion time being given to what happens with the kids. The only solution ever talked about is more affordable childcare. But wouldn’t it be better to create a society that is more tolerant of people who maybe aren’t “productive” …? Children, the elderly, people with physical and mental disabilities, people with short or long-term physical or mental health issues all find themselves on the outskirts of society”

If we can accommodate traffic and big buildings and giant corporations, perhaps we should also be more accommodating to the mini-humans who will keep all of this going in the future.

What do you think – is Ireland child-friendly? If you have children, have you encountered difficulty? Or do you think that businesses and society already do enough to facilitate children and their parents?

photo credit: Enokson via photopin cc

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34 thoughts on “Is Ireland child-friendly?”

  1. I definitely agree that Ireland really needs to be more child-friendly particularly in public spaces that all age groups use like eateries etc. Dublin City is a nightmare with a buggy but there have been big improvements in the last few years. There’s still much needed to be done.

    I’m not sure if the IFI example is a good one though. Lectures in general don’t lend themselves to an audience of toddlers, nevermind such an esoteric subject as the one described. It think it’s also unfair to paying attendees who weren’t expecting a toddler disruption to their day’s activity. Some things are just not children appropriate and I think this is one. I’m also not convinced it’s the responsibility of anyone else except parents when they can’t source childcare. Sometimes we just can’t go! Regarding the live streaming idea. While good in principle, the practicalities of arranging this are expensive and time consuming. Looking at the cost benefit analysis for a very tiny target audience, personally I’d prefer if taxpayers money was spent to facilitate more children’s and family events.
    Mind The Baby recently posted…The perfect birthMy Profile

    1. Yes, navigating the city centre with a buggy is not for the faint-hearted!
      Regarding the IFI, Fiona was really keen to say that she wasn’t particularly annoyed with them – she totally understood that their policies are in line with other cinemas/ lectures and wasn’t looking to criticise them. She was embarrassed and frustrated on the day – not with the IFI, but with the situation in an overall sense, and she wanted to raise the debate, so asked me if I’d be interested in writing it up. If that didn’t come across properly, it’s entirely my fault for not being clear enough about how she felt!

    2. Thanks for your response, Mind the Baby. I think Admin responded already, but I would like to point out that I wouldn’t expect to bring him to most lectures or discussions but I thought with it being a free (no paying attendees) afternoon event with a feminist topic exceptions might be made. It is very common to have arrangements in place at feminist events to accommodate parents. The live streaming is a very practical way to do this and one that is used regularly. It is not expensive and the IFI, for example, would already have all the equipment required – a simple camera, a screen, a projector and a room. If it was a very small audience, I could even rig up something similar with the basic tech equipment I have at home right now!

      I rarely have trouble sorting out childcare, I’m very lucky, I have a husband who splits it with me 50/50 and a family that are very willing to mind my son at any time of day or night. This was one of the few occasions I was stuck. It made me even more aware of how completely impossible it must be for a single mother on benefits with no support network to take part in feminist discourse and public life. I don’t think it’s good enough to just turn around and tell her that childcare is her own problem and no one elses. I don’t want people to think that this experience has made me think ‘poor old me’ – it really hasn’t, it’s made me more conscious of lucky I am and and how much harder people who are less privileged that me have it.

      As I said, I wasn’t outraged at this, I fully expected to have to leave if he was being disruptive (the IFI’s policy is to ask continuously disruptive people to leave – fair enough) but the people I spoke to about it in the days after – panelists from the discussion itself, audience members, people with and without kids, friends and strangers – really, really were, so I thought maybe there was something here worth talking about.

      Thanks for your contribution!

      1. Yes but you’d also need mics for the panellists, then a sound desk and likely someone to operate it. You’d also have to consider bandwidth with your ISP etc. It all adds up…but granted if anyone is likely to have all of that to hand it’s the IFI.

        I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the subject of who’s responsible for childcare. Personally, I prefer that it’s solely mine and my husband’s responsibility. I wouldn’t like any third party believing they had an interest or role there but that’s probably a topic for another day…
        Mind The Baby recently posted…The perfect birthMy Profile

        1. You really wouldn’t need all that equipment – most cameras and laptops have built in mics and a sound desk would be totally unnecessary . The internet doesn’t even necessarily have to come into the matter if it’s in a nearby space, if it did, it wouldn’t cost more than a Skype conversation and I’m sure most businesses could handle that.

          It can and regularly is done at very little cost. Trust me on this one!

  2. “Wouldn’t it be better to create a society that is more tolerant of people who maybe aren’t “productive” …? Children, the elderly, people with physical and mental disabilities, people with short or long-term physical or mental health issues all find themselves on the outskirts of society” — yes because children mostly become “productive” adults, and sick and vulnerable adults and the elderly usually have been productive. But besides that they are PEOPLE, and at the end of the day, it is people that should matter, otherwise what is the point of anything?
    looking for Blue Sky recently posted…Mourning Robin Williams and wondering what will happen nowMy Profile

  3. Well I held my breath the whole way through this post – I could feel the tension rising with that man from the coffee shop, I can feel the embarrassment being asked to leave somewhere because your child just wants you to look at something, I can see feel the glares, when the bus has to wait for you to manage your children and your buggy and your fare all at the same time. Living on an island kind of shields you from most of this, basically because we’ve no buses. But seriously our cafes and bars are mostly child friendly because in general most of the owners have children. There is one exception here I might add that’s very VERY anti-child. So I don’t go there with my children. And I don’t go there myself, even for a quiet coffee anymore. When in Dublin or Galway it’s a completely different experience. I’m always very aware of my surroundings so would never go to any place where either I or my children were made feel unwelcome. Or where is feels uncomfortable. Like you, I tend to drive places when there. As a parent, I make sure that my children, when out at various places, are well behaved, not screaming, fighting or causing annoyance to anyone else – if they’re annoying me, then more than likely other people will be irritated – so i use that as a meter. But I refuse to helicopter, because they don’t need it. I can’t control what other people think about my parenting in these places, I’m happy with it. But I love my children, and want to take them places, for social development, for education, for shared experiences and for fun. I don’t believe that as a country we are child friendly I’m afraid, but do find that if places ‘claim’ to be family friendly, then they tend to live up to their motto, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when I go into a regular place and they treat you and your family like you’re the most important customers they’ve ever had. That should always be the way you’re treated. x
    Paula recently posted…the brave face…My Profile

  4. Just on this “I want to go to into Dublin and go to galleries and museums and places to eat and shop every now and then without being reduced to a blubbering mess because everyone I encounter glares or tuts or someone is just not nice to me and my child.” Dublin city is literally full of family friendly restaurants and the museums and galleries could not be more family friendly. Many of the galleries and museums have activity packs, with games and pencils, the national art gallery provides papers and colours for children to make their own masterpiece. The dead zoo/ national history museum is brilliant for children although there is no lift so second floor is out of bounds if with buggy but there is a place to leave it.Obviously out of bounds for wheelchair users though which is an awful shame. I know the National Art Gallery was upgraded in recent years, hopefully the dead zoo will be too because its a must visit place for kids. Collins Barracks is good too and the Science Gallery in Trinity. IMMA in Kilmainham also hugely child friendly as is the coffee shop on site. In fact I actually cant think of any museum or gallery that isn’t.
    The Clothesline recently posted…An Update On My Persil Eyeball InjuryMy Profile

    1. The National History Museum is brilliant (liking the dead zoo name) – we didn’t know we couldn’t bring the buggy upstairs the first time we went, but I had a sling with me and it was perfect. Your post listing the child-friendly activities is really good – there are lots of places there that I haven’t tried.
      On the topic in general: I think some of it is down to confidence – one parent feels comfortable in an environment where another feels very self-conscious. And it’s about expectations too, and where we want to go ourselves. I think it’s different for each person. Seven years into motherhood, I think I separate kid-world and grownup-world most of the time. We do stuff during the day that suits the kids, and if we want to do something that’s not suitable for them (mostly, going out to a restaurant at night), we get a babysitter. But I do remember when I had just one child, feeling frustrated – trying to do things I had always done, but finding I couldn’t. I didn’t have any family to mind my daughter, so even going to the dentist was a problem. I’m not sure it’s a black and white subject, but great to have the discussion.

    2. Thanks for contributing to the debate, The Clothesline!

      I know that there are a lot of great places for children and the galleries and museums have kids areas, I’m not disputing this. I am not saying there is nothing for children, I’m saying there is nothing for parents of children. I am not a child and sometimes I want to go to an exhibition that isn’t for children but I happen to have a well-behaved child with me and this is where we start to run into trouble!

      I guess, the real question isn’t is Ireland child-friendly, but is Ireland parent-friendly?

      1. Fiona on the above with the exception of the Dead Zoo ( not a huge fan personally) there are things for both adults and children. Ireland is parent friendly to a point but it is all about compromise too. Sure my children do things occasionally they may not have a lot of interest in to appease me and vice versa. More on my part, but that’s ok because I do some things, like sit through a moshi monster movie, because they want to and I happy to do that.

        Its the age profile of children too, there are very few places I wouldn’t go with my 8 year old. A toddler limits things by the very nature of toddlerhood. Gross generalisation here to toddlers but generally speaking they can behave the way a drunk person can. I wouldn’t attend a lecture with either for fear of them being disruptive, talking when inappropriate, singing when inappropriate and not sitting still. In the same vein, there are plenty of things I wouldn’t attend with my children, there are certain events I wouldn’t invite certain friends to as I know they wouldn’t enjoy it. There are movies I wouldn;t go to see with my husband and there are places I wouldn’;t have any interest in visiting with my parents
        .
        I don’t think this is a feminist issue at all. There are some things that just aren’t suitable for some people in your example ,toddlers and drunks. Did your toddler want to go to the lecture? I try and find things that everyone has some interest in attending/visiting/ watching. It is shame that you missed out because of lack of childcare but that is what it boils down too, in my opinion.

        You make a decision when you have children that parts of you life will be different. This is one of these things. I think a lot of people feel oh my child will fit into my lifestyle but, it is not easy to achieve that and then you have to ask what about the child and their lifestyle? And isn’t that as important as yours.
        The Clothesline recently posted…Dublin Can Be Heaven……….Child Friendly DublinMy Profile

        1. Hi Clothesline,
          If I can just direct you to my later comment – it is a feminist issue because the debate was on a feminist topic. At feminist events there are usually provisions made for parents, so I wasn’t being totally out of line in thinking there might be at this one. I was just suggesting that in the future, maybe they’d consider how they could make the event accessible to parents.

          I was not going to force my child to sit through a 90 minute lecture and I was not going to force him upon anyone else there if he was being cranky. I merely hoped there might be exceptions made for parents (as is standard fare at feminist events) and when there wasn’t, I hoped that I might catch 20 minutes of the discussion.

          I’m disappointed that this discussion has descended off-topic into mothers accusing each other of being selfish.

          1. Absolutely they could look at making future events more accessible but still leads to question of how would the toddler be accommodated? Did you contact them?
            I don’t think you are selfish. I don’t think any comment accused anybody of selfishness. I am only basing my comments on my experience and my children. I think for me it would be unrealistic not selfish.
            The Clothesline recently posted…Dublin Can Be Heaven……….Child Friendly DublinMy Profile

          2. I did indeed contact the IFI and suggest a tried and tested model, which they assured me would be discussed at their next board meeting. A cheap and efficient way around this is to live-stream (the IFI would certainly have the equipment on hand to be able to do this) the discussion into a nearby room where anybody (not just parents – adults with involuntary vocal ticks, people who needed to come late or go early, etc.) who was likely to disturb the discussion could watch.

            One of the great things I came across when my son was a newborn was the parent and baby cinema screenings, and even better, though I’ve never been, are the special needs screenings – the lights are up, the sound is down and no one minds a bit of noise or moving around.

            This whole thing isn’t really about me and my toddler, I rarely encounter problems in my day to day life as a result of me being a mother. I want this discussion to make people think, well if there are barriers in the way of me (as in me, not making assumptions about anyone else in this thread) accessing certain events and I’m a well educated, white, middle class, cis-gendered, able-bodied, employed person with a husband who takes our son 50% of the time and a family who love babysitting, how much more difficult is it for people who don’t count all of those privileges? Don’t they also deserve to be able to take part in real life and maybe attend events that are for the general public from time to time?

          3. I don’t think the topic of a lecture makes this a feminist issue, had the lecture been on race would it be a racist issue? I think a lack of accessible, affordable childcare acting as a barrier for mothers return to work is a feminist issue as indeed is the protection of the predominantly female childcare worker when looking for affordable childcare.
            The Clothesline recently posted…Dublin Can Be Heaven……….Child Friendly DublinMy Profile

          4. If I can just make one last clarification that I think has been overlooked in a lot of comments…

            I think it’s important to note that the theme of the panel discussion plays a huge part in the debate. I usually wouldn’t attempt to bring a toddler to a similar event, but it was undoubtedly marketed as a feminist discussion and feminist events usually accommodate parents, so I don’t feel that I was completely out of line to hope that an exception might be made!

            I’m just going to copy and paste another comment here that hopefully clarifies. I’ve explained a few times why this particular event was an exception – feminist events usually accommodate parents. This one didn’t. That’s fine. It’s just not totally unreasonable for people like me to hope that at feminist events there will be provisions made for parents. Because it is what happens. That’s all I’m saying. Whether or not it’s a feminist issue is a matter of opinion and kind of besides the point.

            “I think it’s important to note that the theme of the panel discussion plays a huge part in the debate. I usually wouldn’t attempt to bring a toddler to a similar event, but it was undoubtedly marketed as a feminist discussion and feminist events usually accommodate parents, so I don’t feel that I was completely out of line to hope that an exception might be made!

            It was the irony of trying to attend a discussion about keeping women working in film – women like me who left after having a baby – and not being able to because I was stuck holding said baby. As we all know, motherhood is one of the main reasons women leave their careers. This problem is even more magnified in an industry like film because of the gruelling hours. It was this perfect irony which I thought made the whole situation exceptional and worthy of discussion. I assure you I don’t just storm into any old panel discussion with a gang of screaming toddlers behind me!”

          5. Oops, don’t know what that double copy past was all about…

            Just because it might be difficult to accommodate “inconvenient” people, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

          6. I apologise if any of what I wrote came across as defensive or aggressive! I’m just very conscious of a) clarifying all the facts b) trying to assure people that I’m not (or at least I don’t think I am) an unreasonable person – as I said catering for parents is standard at feminist events and c) steering the conversation away from me and my specific experience!

            We all encounter barriers with young children and I’m not suggesting we should just be able to storm through each one and bring screaming kids wherever we want, whenever we want! I just think that sometimes more attention could be given to accommodating people with particular needs – some of those people with a lot more specific needs than mine – because their contribution to public life should be as valuable as people who don’t encounter as many barriers.

            Anyway, over and out! I’ve not gotten a minute’s work done today, so I’ll have to switch off!

      2. But no one is going to stop a parent with a child going to a non child focused exhibition. Even if children were disruptive unless they were causing physical damage to property they wouldn’t even be thrown out. You might just get some funny looks 🙂
        Mind The Baby recently posted…The perfect birthMy Profile

  5. Like many questions concerning quality of life, location and income are key. I live in a small town and am envious of the parent and children screenings on offer in cities; even the notion of a cinema being open before 8pm is something to covet!

    Proximity to parks provides some compensation but considering our climate, the benefits are really only seasonal. This leaves fewer options. I know many, many women who don’t have access to transport, or the income for coffee shops or play centres, especially if they have more than one child. I also think that parents have different perceptions about cultural spaces like galleries and museums in terms of having an entitlement to cross their threshold. A fantastic facility can be on the doorstep of many but a host of barriers (real and perceived) block their access. I would include libraries in this. They’re a fantastic facility and I would hope they are kept safe from threat.

    I know a lot of these issues are for discussion in other contexts, but it’s hard to divorce them from the question.
    MO’D recently posted…Ms. Fit TinginMy Profile

    1. You’re right – so many factors come into this. As well as income and location, I think it does come down to expectations, even personality, and experience – one bad experience is enough to influence all future decisions about where to go with kids.
      Libraries are a very good point – I was saying to someone else earlier, we have a great library nearby with a huge kids’ section, but the staff don’t like children to make noise and actively ask them to be quiet, including a friend’s small baby who was babbling contentedly – it’s difficult when one of the very few indoor, free venues is unwelcoming.

  6. I don’t really know if Ireland is child-friendly enough, but one thing for sure the attitude towards children is a lot better here than in France. I wrote on the subject before and I definitely think that Irish people are a lot less judgemental than the French when it comes to kids. I’ve never really had any problems bringing my children to coffee shop, pubs or restaurants. Maybe we are lucky and live in an area that welcome families, and trust me, I’m the one who always apologize for my children’s behaviour… I’m always afraid they make too much noise or bother other customers, but in the end everything is always fine… In France people give you a bad look if your child is a bit too noisy or doesn’t behave the appropriate way. I think Irish people are a lot more relaxed around children and I find a lot of places accommodating. There’s always more work to be done, but on the whole I do find this country a lot more child-friendly than other places…
    Anne recently posted…Somewhere on the seasideMy Profile

    1. Anne that’s a very interesting point – I agree with you, but at the same time, I’m not really in a position to say it in the same way that you are! But yes, five years holidaying in France has taught me that there are restaurants you can go to with kids, and there are amazing restaurants with gorgeous sounding food that I’ve never got to try 🙂

  7. If I can just make one last clarification that I think has been overlooked in a lot of comments…

    I think it’s important to note that the theme of the panel discussion plays a huge part in the debate. I usually wouldn’t attempt to bring a toddler to a similar event, but it was undoubtedly marketed as a feminist discussion and feminist events usually accommodate parents, so I don’t feel that I was completely out of line to hope that an exception might be made!

    It was the irony of trying to attend a discussion about keeping women working in film – women like me who left after having a baby – and not being able to because I was stuck holding said baby. As we all know, motherhood is one of the main reasons women leave their careers. This problem is even more magnified in an industry like film because of the gruelling hours. It was this perfect irony which I thought made the whole situation exceptional and worthy of discussion. I assure you I don’t just storm into any old panel discussion with a gang of screaming toddlers behind me!

    1. I’d agree with you on the irony Fiona. It’s seems somewhat short-sighted and indeed farcical that the IFI would think that a seminar was the ideal set up to discuss that topic. Maybe if they had considered a different format in the first place we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
      Mind The Baby recently posted…The perfect birthMy Profile

  8. I think this is one of the more interesting exchanges I’ve read between blogging parents lately, and worthwhile in itself. There can be a lot of consensus that masks the realities of life for some parents – including access to child/parent facilities (money, class, and entitlement are often ignored or minimised when raised), and it’s refreshing to see ideas being unpicked for some honest chat.
    MO’D recently posted…Ms. Fit TinginMy Profile

    1. Thanks MO’D – I think you’re right, internet debate, by its very nature, is limited to the privileged – those who can afford computers, smartphones, broadband and are well-educated enough to be able to communicate their point and confident enough to dispute other points. We tend to live in a bubble and think that everyone has these things to hand, they really don’t.
      The whole just get a babysitter thing isn’t an option for many people. It wouldn’t be an option for me if I didn’t have my family. I’m well aware of how privileged I am in many ways, but I don’t have much disposable income. We’re facing a rent jump of 500e soon and, if it weren’t for my parents’ spare room, would be homeless!

      1. I’d agree with you on the limitations of income in terms of accessing and utilising technology for web communication.

        I think education is more complex however. Being well-educated can help with securing privilege, broadening opportunities, and increasing earning power, but the well-educated are as mixed ability group and diverse as any other. Lacking formal education doesn’t negate life experience and the ability to make coherent and cogent arguments. The views of a diversity of women are under-represented in blogging for many reasons.

        I didn’t intend to break into class warrior mode but I guess that’s one of the benefits of blogging – taking the odd left-turn off the well-worn highway.
        MO’D recently posted…Ms. Fit TinginMy Profile

  9. Ireland is definitely child friendly. I loved it when I had places to go to on my maternity leave and I was not limited to walks in the park. I enjoyed my time spent with other mums in Yoga or Pilates classes while our babies were minded by carers on the side of the room. After each class we went for coffee or lunch and despite the buggy jam I never heard complaints from staff or other customers. Of course, like everywhere, there will be people who do not tolerate children and places where children are not welcome. But still to me Ireland is very child friendly because most public places are prepared for families. There are baby changing facilities, high chairs, children menus, cinema screenings for families etc.

  10. I’m going to jump in one last time – not to stir it up but to make just one small point that I think hasn’t been clear (based on discussing this in person with others who read the post and the comments) – Fiona has mentioned that feminist events usually facilitate parents. I don’t go to feminist events and didn’t know that, as was the case for others with whom I discussed this during the week. It’s a small point but I think it’s important because otherwise many of us are reacting with a simple “I wouldn’t bring a toddler to a panel discussion” (me included – that was my first, instinctive reaction) and then we miss the chance to look at the other questions raised.
    Thank you Fiona for raising this really interesting topic and thank you to everybody who took the time to comment here – it’s great to have such an open discussion on something that’s relevant to all of us.

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