Maybe it’s because we travelled to a school in the countryside this time?
Maybe we are witnessing a subtle change in Irish value systems?
But this year’s third and fourth class school children had much more simple aspirations for 2013 than school children in years past.
Whether they’d got wind of the property tax or not, there was barely a mention from any the 40 kids of trading up to a gated mansion.
For the past couple of years, our annual end-of-year trip into the classroom has encountered dreams of palatial homes, private jets and the odd purchase of a soccer team here and there. This year, the horses still frolicked in the children’s dreams but there was a strong emphasis on family and on bringing emigrated family members home.
10-year-old Nicola Bennett wanted to “see her uncle more” as he’s in the States. Lisa Reddy dreamt of travelling to see her aunt in Cornwall next year as “we barely ever see her”. Cliona Stafford wanted her “aunt to come home from Wales”.
Yet again the importance of grandparents in their children’s lives shone through. Jack McFarlane just wants his granny to get better next year while Niamh O’Halloran has always nursed the idea of bringing her great-granddad back to life. He sounded like lots of fun and she thinks they’d get along.
“When he was younger, he went chasing after crows a lot, trying to catch them. One of them eventually bit him on the back of the neck. He got a really bad rash. Today, when I was walking to school, a crow flew past and rubbed off my back. I thought of him,” she said.
At this time of year, we’re all supposed to be dreaming of a white Christmas. Where practicality can kill off that dream for adults, youngsters still dream of a Christmas and January spent throwing snowballs and making snowmen.
“I’d like it to be snowing. Last year I loved it. When I was smaller my brother and I made a sled, just sitting on a plastic bag. It was the coolest,” said Liam Mannion, 9.
Of course, snow always brings holds the wondrous potential to shut schools. “If it [the snow] started to melt just when we are supposed to come back after the holidays, that would be great. If the school was flooded with melting snow, we wouldn’t be able to come back. That would be brilliant. I could stay at home and play Playstation,” beamed Sean Deasy.
The age-old Irish longing for a half-decent summer inevitably popped up
“I’d like a really, really sunny summer. Then I could go to Inch beach every day with my friends. I don’t want it to be too hot though. I went to China last year on my holidays and it was too hot. We went to a beach there though. The beach was in a theme park,” said Mia McLoughlin.
Many more of the children have given up on Ireland. A holiday in Spain where they could spend the whole day at the beach or in the pool was a popular request but one boy wanted to up sticks and move to Germany.
“I’d like to go and live in Germany. My aunts live there and my cousins are over there. It’s cool in Germany because the kitchens are upstairs and it’s a rich country. If I lived there, I could get more stuff I think,” he said.
A few of the students were under the spell of winning the lottery. What they planned to do with the proceeds was interesting though.
Zoe Reddy would buy a horse, called Beauty that she could take to the races. After that though, “I’d give it to the poor” she said.
Roisin Lansley dreamt of getting a kitten that would somehow escape persecution at the hands of her dogs.
As for Segdae Barry, he’d buy a Ferrari with his winnings and ensure the passage of legislation enabling him to drive it, aged nine.
“I’d only buy the Ferrari though. I’d save the rest of the money,” he said.
There was only boy in the class who was considering property in 2013. That was Sean Carroll, the second eldest of eight children. Space or, more likely, the lack thereof plays on his mind.
“I wish my mum won the lottery and then we could get a new house. There’s 10 in my family you see. I have four sisters and three brothers, including the twins. I’m the second eldest and I have to share my bedroom with two more brothers. I’d love the house to have a big kitchen and three bathrooms. I’d also love a bigger living room. I’d like to still live in Whitegate but I’d like to move to another part for a change,” he said.
Every year in every classroom there are children who have the most wonderful whimsical imaginations, imaginations that would make you quite depressed about how flights of fancy are derided in adults. Take 9-year-old Amy Mc Loughlin.
“I’d like to be able to fly. I’d fly to London. It would be brilliant flying over the sea. I’d be like a bird up high. I’d also fly down into the sea, flying under the water would be brilliant as I’d get to see rare fish. When I got to London, I’d go into every single shop there,” she said.
Fionn O’Toole is clearly a Lego fanatic. Instead of losing himself in the world of Lego after school, he wants the whole world to become Lego.
“If I could do anything I want next year, I’d turn the whole world into Lego. My house, the school, everything would be in Lego. We’d drive to school in Lego cars and we’d all be Lego people. If somebody pulled our arm off? We could just fix it by putting another one back on. Lego cars would probably be the coolest, driving around the place in a real lego car,” he mused.
Aidan O’Sullivan, like many of the other kids, said he doesn’t want anything next year.
“If I had a magic wand next year, I’d give it to my sister. She likes dolls. She is two and she has two dolls. What would I like next year? I’d like a hug,” he said.
‘I want my granny to be well again’
“I really hope that my granny gets better. She’s really nice and buys me too much sweets but she’s not well at the moment. My mum just had an operation too and she’s not able to drive. I’d love that they both got better and my mum can drive me around again.”
Jack McFarlane, aged 9.
‘I want to turn world into Lego’
“If I could do anything I want next year, I’d turn the whole world into Lego. My house, the school, everything would be in Lego. We’d drive to school in Lego cars and we’d all be Lego people. If somebody pulled our arm off? We could just fix it by putting another one back on.”
Fionn O’Toole, aged 9.
‘I’d like to have more family around’
“I really like what happened last Christmas when I had all my family here, all my family from all over Ireland.
“I’d like to have more of my family around.
“To have more of that next year.
“To see more of my cousins and everyone because its brilliant.”
Luca Cavallo, aged 10.
‘I want snow, and school to be shut’
“I’d love if snow fell during the holidays. I’d make a giant snowman like I did before with my dad. If it started to melt just when we are supposed to come back after the holidays. If the school was flooded with melting snow, I could stay at home and play Playstation”.
Sean Deasy, aged 10.
‘I wish we could get new house nearby’
“I wish my mum won the lottery and then we could get a new house. There’s 10 in my family you see. I have to share my bedroom with two more brothers. I’d love the house to have a big kitchen and three bathrooms. I’d like to still live in Whitegate but I’d like to move to another part for a change”.
Sean Carroll, aged 10.
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