Ian is not as daring as Paddy, but is still prepared to be part of the gang and cause mischief.
For example, we see that he is often in trouble at school with Mr Hennessey and that he “really went to sleep one day when Henno told us all to go to sleep”, despite this not being what the teacher really wanted them to do.
Ian seems to experience a lot of bad luck in general. He is bullied for being overweight and having “little diddies, like a woman’s".
His mother is overprotective. This provides a contrast to Paddy’s mother who - while being firm with her children - allows them freedom to play and discover the world.
Mr O’Connell is described “looking up at the moon and howling”.
We know from the dialogue of Mr and Mrs Clarke that this is because he misses his wife. But Paddy in his childish innocence just sees an adult acting strangely.
Mr O’Connell provides a contrast to the Clarke parents in his permissive attitude to childrearing.
This causes Paddy to be naively envious of Liam and Aidan at times.
In addition to the Clarkes and Paddy’s friends there are numerous characters and families which fill the novel, adding to the richness of the story.
Paddy is clearly part of a settled community, full of a great variety of people living in each other’s company.
This has its disadvantages. For example if - like Paddy - you don’t want someone telling your mother what you’ve been up to.
It seems Doyle is showing us a way of life that to some extent has been lost.