Emma & Conor Crumlish, 12: ‘Boys can look any way they like. It's annoying,' says Emma

‘It’s annoying that boys can look anyway they like,’ says Emma. ‘I believe in God,’ says her twin. ‘There is no single answer why’

Emma and Conor Crumlish: “Our parents didn’t tell us who was oldest until we were 10.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Emma and Conor Crumlish: “Our parents didn’t tell us who was oldest until we were 10.” Photograph: Eric Luke


This article is part of The Irish Times Generations project. Since April 2014, people ranging in age from 12 to 102 have shared their views on Irish life, past and present, with reporter Rosita Boland. Read all those published so far at irishtimes.com/generations


Emma and Conor Crumlish , who are twins, live in Dublin

Emma: I’m the oldest by a minute. Our parents didn’t tell us who was oldest until we were 10. When we were seven Conor and I decided that, since he was taller, I got to be older.

Being a twin, everything has to be fair. We have to get the same amount of everything and the same time with our parents. I can read Conor’s face very easily. I know when he’s touchy and you can’t speak to him.

My first memory is of breaking my bed. I was bouncing on it with my cousin, and we broke it.

I’m interested in politics. Politics are so amazing. The whole country is run by regular people who got voted in, but they have to make decisions for the whole country.

I think there should be a way for people my age to be heard. I know we’re not old enough to vote, but decisions are being made about the world we’re growing up into, so people should listen to what we have to say. Everything is decided by adults, even if it is for children. Children don’t get a say. Adults don’t wonder what the children want; they wonder what adults want for children, which isn’t the same thing.

We are going to secondary school in September. You go from being the oldest to being the youngest and not knowing where anything is. I think it’ll be exciting.

The two things all the girls in my class are looking forward to are the cafeteria and having a locker. I don’t know why. It’s just cool to have a locker. I really want one. They’re in all the movies. They’re like your hub.

I do notice that girls my age are very conscious of their image. A lot of girls go into the bathroom to do their hair. I think it comes from pop culture. All the singers are really thin and have cool clothes and cool hair. Now you can get clothes online from halfway across the world, and there is lots of pressure to wear something that’s cool that nobody else has.

Where does the pressure come from? At my age the pressure only comes from the person themselves. Like, at our confirmation, everyone admired what everyone else was wearing, but the person themselves said they didn’t like what they were wearing. It will get more complicated as we get older. I just accept it, but it’s annoying boys can go out and look anyway they like.

Since I was six I’ve known what I want to be. I want to be a primary-school teacher. I’m kind of bossy and I love little kids. I love them so much and they’re so sweet. I’d love to be able to teach children how to grow up and develop. I have learned so far in life that you can’t always have everything that you want. You will win sometimes, but not every time, and if you insist that you have to win every time, you’re going to give up and stop trying.


Conor: Being a twin, you know what the other is thinking at that moment in time. It’s because we were raised together. If Emma got into trouble I’d know the reason why she did it without even asking her.

And because we are different sexes we have different viewpoints on different situations. The stereotypical thing is that girls enjoy ballet and boys enjoy football. For the most part I’d say that’s true.

I play a lot of sport. I play Gaelic football and hurling. I have a basketball hoop in the garden. I have an Xbox, and I do a bit of web surfing. I look at things like YouTube: the best football goals, big sporting moments.

My first memory is of having my photo taken in the garden for my first day at school.

At school I like history. I like seeing how people have changed over time. I like creative writing, too, writing my own stories. And I like geography, learning about mountains and capital cities. I mostly read paperback books, but I buy some books on my Kindle, too. I prefer reading a book to reading it on a Kindle; I don’t know why.

The most money I ever had was €500. I made my confirmation this year, and I got €500. I bought a GoPro camera with part of it. It’s a video camera, and there are a number of attachments. There’s a selfie stick, and a suction cup you can stick on to a windscreen. It’s for filming live sport.

I believe in God. There is no single answer as to why, but the universe can’t just have exploded out of itself. In my class there are 30 kids, and there is one atheist and one Protestant and the rest are all Catholics.

We found out because the teacher asked who wasn’t going to be making their confirmation, and one boy said he was making it next year and the Protestant said he wasn’t, and the atheist said he wasn’t because he was an atheist. An atheist is someone who doesn’t have any religion.

I’m quite worried about secondary school, because it’s supposed to be a lot less fun and a lot more homework. I suppose you’re most likely going to learn a lot more, though, because teachers have specialist subjects.

What I think I have learned about life so far is that not everyone is perfect. I would hope for a good score in exams, not a perfect one. I would like to earn a lot of money but only if I was happy doing the job. I would like to work a job where the hours aren’t too long, so that I could spend time with my family. If you have $50 billion and you are not happy there is no point. Life is short, and it is not all about riches.