This paper presents the findings of research into children and young people’s experiences of participating in their communities in Ireland. Using a social and relational understanding of participation, the research found that children and young people are engaged in a wide range of activities in their communities. They are however often misunderstood in the community and have limited opportunities for participation in decisions affecting them. Despite these problems, they report positive experiences of participating in youth clubs and organisations, where their participation is supported by adults. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for research, public policy and community.