The realities of the ethno‐sectarian conflict have dominated the analysis of social problems within the context of Northern Ireland (NI). As a result of this, issues such as non‐conflict related childhood risk have received less attention than in the remainder of the UK. However, with the rapidly changing agenda of the Peace Process there is now the momentum to take a broader approach to examining Northern Irish society. This paper examines children's own experiences of growing up in rural NI and explores their own and adults' perceptions of the risks that they encounter and the resulting constraints placed on children's activity outside the home. It is evident that the legacy and reproduction of ethno‐sectarian conflict still influences notions of fear and mistrust of ‘an ethno‐sectarian other’. However, as shown within this paper these fears run in parallel with other fears that are constructed around concerns over ‘everyday’ risks that are evident in the range of outdoor play practices reported by the children involved in the study.