We present a detailed study on the possibility of manipulating quantum information encoded in the 'radial' modes of arrays of trapped ions (i.e. in the ions' oscillations orthogonal to the trap's main axis). In such systems, because of the tightness of transverse confinement, the radial modes pertaining to different ions can be addressed individually. In the first part of the paper we show that, if local control of the radial trapping frequencies is available, any linear optical and squeezing operation on the locally defined modes - on single as well as on many modes - can be reproduced by manipulating the frequencies. Then, we proceed to describe schemes apt to generate unprecedented degrees of bipartite and multipartite continuous variable (CV) entanglement under realistic noisy working conditions and even restricting only to a global control of the trapping frequencies. Furthermore, we consider the transmission of the quantum information encoded in the radial modes along the array of ions, and show it to be possible to a remarkable degree of accuracy, for both finite-dimensional and CV quantum states. Finally, as an application, we show that the states which can be generated in this setting allow for the violation of multipartite non-locality tests, by feasible displaced parity measurements. Such a demonstration would be a first test of quantum non-locality for 'massive' degrees of freedom (i.e. for degrees of freedom describing the motion of massive particles).