"He blew MY birthday candles out!"

I was discussing earliest memories with friends yesterday and whereas most of us could remember as far back as around 3 or 4, some couldn't remember past their Communion! 

Mine was my first day in play-school - I did play-school for 2 years so I would have been 2, almost 3. My mam had a yellow car and upon depositing me in through the door of of the Community Centre, I tuned around and legged it back to the yellow car, fell, cut my knee and then hopped into the back seat. Needless to say, I was reefed out of the car and marched back into through the door, where 3 hours later, apparently I cried because I didn't want to leave!

Research has indicated that most people’s earliest memories on average, date back to when they were 3.5 years old. Recent studies of children, however, suggest that our earliest memories are more likely to go back even further.

Think back to your first memory. Can you remember your age? Or how you felt? Some of these are so great!



  • “Hey Sweetpea, my earliest memory would be playschool also; however mine wouldn't be a great one like yours. I got locked in a cupboard - or at least, the door closed behind me - and I remember it as locked! This happened the first day and I never went back. My birthday is in January so I was probably 2 and half!” - Gary making his daily commute from Wexford to Dublin'


  • “When I was 3 or 4, another child at crèche pushed me and I fell on the ground. When I started crying, an adult came over and put us both in the corner, even though I hadn't done anything. That was when I learned the world wasn't a fair or just place!”


  • “Paula I also remember age 3 – it was my third birthday party. I had an A-Team cake, and my best friend at the time blew out my candles.”


  • “One of my earliest memories was when I was roughly 3 or 4. I remember my first rainbow. My younger brother and I were standing at the kitchen window just staring at the colours in the sky!”


  • “Paula I was four when my grandfather died. I mainly remember my mam crying and how weird that was. Mams weren't supposed to cry.”


  • “Paula I remember hitting my sister with a plastic shovel, denying it and getting away with it and then feeling bad about it. I was about 4 and guilt was a whole new emotion to me!”


  • “Hi there Paula, good morning, Laura here. I've been commuting to work in Belfast the last three months, been listening to your show and I love it! My earliest memory is when I was 4 and it's very vivid. My parents got married, and I was the flower girl. However, they had rented bridesmaids and flower girls dresses to save cash. I, being 4, obviously wasn't aware of this. So I remember being put to sleep the night of the wedding, but I don't remember the dress being taken off. So I woke up, in my vest and my tights from the wedding, and I remember panicking thinking I'd lost the dress! Haha! Gas thinking back!”


  • “Paula - around 4 years old... leaving the kitchen table, tripping and WALLOPING my ear off the table end - discovering gravity AND pain!” - Dave, Clondalkin


  • “Paula, my earliest memory was falling out of a moving car age 3. I was dressed as a cowboy at the time!” - Niall


  • “One of my first days in school I kicked the teacher when in a mood. Trouble is - as I got older, I realised she was one of the nicer teachers!” - Dave in Athlone


  • "I was 3 and it was almost my 4th birthday. I asked my mam how old I would be after my birthday and she told me 4. I said, but I still want to be 3. I still want to be 3!”


  • “Morning Sweet P! One of my earliest memories is as a 4 year old, being taking by my mother to visit our cousins in Canada. I literally can remember EVERYTHING, from leaving home, to going through the NOW VERY OLD part of The Airport, the plane, the 3 weeks there, EVERYTHING! My Mam is a LEGEND. Also, I remember my brother telling me our dog Skippy ate my bar of chocolate...I reminded him of it last week and he laughed but this time I didn’t deck him unlike when I was 3. I guess that at 53 I must be copping on and at 58, I didn’t want to hurt the auld fart! Loving the show as always!” - Shay


  • “Hi Paula, my earliest memory is breaking my collar bone when I was about 18 months old when an old door fell on me, only bit I can remember is being stuck under the door and seeing the dog barking at me!” - Pete in Westmeath


  • “Hi Paula, my earliest memory of getting my Rupert the Bear flares caught in my bicycle chain - trousers ripped and my mother killed me!” - Richard


  • “It may be an implanted memory from having been told about it, but reckon the trauma was enough for me to have a vague memory imprinted in there... must have been about 2, my sister decided that she really didn't like the idea of me being there and told my mam this. My mam had enough of hearing it so she said fine, I'll get rid of him so, and went to put me in the bin. My sister freaked out and came to my rescue!” - Alex


  • “Playing pass the parcel at my friend’s house. We played 3 games, with only 6 of us, and I lost each time, and cried like a baby!”



  • “Going to the zoo. I was 3-4 and I remember the orangutans looking huge from my tiny view. For years I thought orangutans were huge!”


  • “Paula, I remember that around 3 years old, Dad would hold me in his arms in the pool and stretch me out flat on my tummy, teaching me to keep my chin above water. I still love swimming!”



  • “Hi Paula, it was 1984 and I had literally just turned 3, we went to Mosney. My mother took me to the circus and I was so terrified of the clowns I wouldn't look at them. My mother ended up leaving with me and it was my first and last time ever at a circus!”


  • “When I was 3 or 4 I was swimming at my cousin’s house in Florida, I remember so much of that holiday but especially this. We went in for dinner, and I got spaghetti bolognaise on my togs. I didn't think they would let me back in the pool with dirty togs, so after dinner without saying a word I took my suit off and swam in the nip!”


  • “I remember when I was about 5 or 6, I fell out of a tree and broke my arm and was carried home by friends to my Mam. She kicked me back out to play - she thought I was trying to get off school til I tried to put on a pair of socks the next day with one hand! Didn't go great, so she brought me to the hospital and told my uncle that if my arm wasn't broken she was going to break it for me cause we were down there for hours!” - Keith



  • “Hi, I remember I was roughly 4 or 5 when my brother and sister, who were both a couple of years older than me, both decided that they needed a "snowman" in the house one night so they painted me head to toe completely white, placed me on a mattress and pushed it down the stairs with me on it! LOL - my mother’s reaction/face palm is something I will never forget!”



  • “Paula my earliest memory of pain when I was 7. On one of last days in primary school we had our sports day to finish off the school year. I was running and I fell off the stage on to rough tarmac, which is like rough rock, and burst my knee open from one side to the next. I'm nearly 30 now and still have the scar to prove it!” - Steven Brew Laois