I’m from the Republic of Ireland, and when I was about 8 years old I was on a family holiday in France and in the playground and pool I would play with another girl I met who was from Northern Ireland. After a few days she asked me if I was Catholic or Protestant. I wasn’t sure and had to check with my Mum. When I passed on the news that I was Catholic she said her Mum said she couldn’t play with me anymore. I was pretty disappointed, and confused that something I had so little awareness of could mark me out as an enemy. It made me a lot more aware of what being Catholic meant outside my immediate sphere (where nearly everyone I knew was also Catholic). As an adult I do think it’s quite extreme that this mother felt the need to stop the innocent play of two young girls who were having a lovely time together on neutral ground. I sometimes wonder whether the girl ended up taking on her mother’s view of the world as well.