The Travelling People

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

“When I was a child we were hunted from place to place and we could never have friends to be always going to school with. The little settled children would run past our camps – they were afeard of the travellers. Other people had a sort of romantic idea about us, because of the horses and the colourful wagons. They would ask us did we come from some place special like the gypsies you see on the films. They thought that the travellers had no worries and that we didn’t feel pain or hunger or cold. The truth is that we’re people like everybody else but we’re a different speaking people with our own traditions and our own way of life and this is the way we should be treated, not like dirt…” ––from ‘Traveller’, an autobiography by Nan Joyce.

Travellers are often referred to by the terms tinkers, gipsies/gypsies…

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