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Irish travellers and their association with Roma Gypsies

category national | irish social forum | opinion/analysis author Monday December 27, 2004 17:43author by Cathal Campbell-Shawauthor email cathal_campbell_shaw at mail dot ie Report this post to the editors

A paper on the subject entitled “The origins of the Irish Travellers and the genetic structure of Ireland” concludes that “the Travellers are undoubtedly of Irish ancestry, due to their proximity to the centroid. Furthermore, the Travellers clustered with several heterogeneous counties in Ireland, including Wexford and Westmeath. Therefore, these data support that the origin of the Travellers was not a sudden event; rather a gradual formation of populations. Indeed, the Travellers probably originated with craftsmen and artisans forced to leave their monasteries (Crawford 1975). Later, their population grew as they were joined by various Irish groups that were forced to leave their homes because of various calamities and political upheavals (i.e. the potato famine and the repression of British occupation) (Crawford 1975). However, the timing of the Traveller origin is not certain and may have predated the historical period (e.g. Ni Shuinear 1996).”


Irish Travellers are often referred to as Gypsies and I’m intrigued to why this is.

A friend of mine and I were talking to a Traveller recently, and during our exchange with him the traveller made racist comments about African refugees who are housed near his halting site. My friend scolded him for this and remarked to me that it was ironic that a traveller would make racist statements about others.

This is an example of how there is a perception in Ireland that Travellers are not racially Irish, and to be honest I see no evidence to support this.

A paper on the subject entitled “The origins of the Irish Travellers and the genetic structure of Ireland” [Ann Hum Biol 2000 Sep-Oct;27(5):453-65 ] concludes that “the Travellers are undoubtedly of Irish ancestry, due to their proximity to the centroid. Furthermore, the Travellers clustered with several heterogeneous counties in Ireland, including Wexford and Westmeath. Therefore, these data support that the origin of the Travellers was not a sudden event; rather a gradual formation of populations. Indeed, the Travellers probably originated with craftsmen and artisans forced to leave their monasteries (Crawford 1975). Later, their population grew as they were joined by various Irish groups that were forced to leave their homes because of various calamities and political upheavals (i.e. the potato famine and the repression of British occupation) (Crawford 1975). However, the timing of the Traveller origin is not certain and may have predated the historical period (e.g. Ni Shuinear 1996).”

The language Shelta is simply a cryptic form of Gaelic, with letters jumbled around so that Travellers could communicate privately among themselves. Cailín is Laicín in Shelta.

So why are the associated with Gypsies? Is it simple a case that their nomadic lifestyle is similar to that of the Roma, or are we too embarrassed to accept Travellers as our own?



author by Faolchupublication date Mon Dec 27, 2004 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's simple. They led a similar lifestyle to the Romany gypsies of Britain. They travelled in similar wagons and were colourful. So people called them gypsies.

author by Cathal Campbell-Shawpublication date Wed Mar 02, 2005 14:39author email cathal_campbell_shaw at mail dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've just read that the goverment will be asked to justify the treatment of Travellers in Ireland by the UN when the latter presents a report on Ireland's record in combatting all forms of racism today.

What have Travellers got to do with racicm? That's basically the jist of my first question.

author by MGpublication date Wed Mar 02, 2005 14:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Travellers are an etnic group. Racism isn't only about skin colour.

author by Cathal Campbell-Shawpublication date Wed Mar 02, 2005 17:15author email cathal_campbell_shaw at mail dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I though racism applied to race, not ethnicity. Can Austrians be racist towards Germans? It seems like poor usage of the term to me.
Also, I wouldn't regard travellers as an ethnic group. Is Ireland not supposed to be a nation with people of different heritages? I would see travellers as having there own heritage, while still being Irish. Same would apply to Norman-Irish, Anglo-Irish, Scots-Irish and Native/Gaelic-Irish etc. I have a Scottish ancestry. Am I ethnically Irish?
If your going to call Travellers an ethnic group, then why not call the working class an ethnic group also. They live in different types of dwellings from middle class Irish, speak differently, have a different type of education, work different jobs.. etc. etc.

author by Deirdrepublication date Wed Sep 14, 2005 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a note to say that Travellers language Cant/Gammon (or Shelta as it is called by academics only) is not a jumbled form of Irish. A couple of words like laicin seem like Irish when reversed but this is not enough to say that a language is a derivative of another. Important to remember. English has words that come directly from other languages and related languages can be linked via cognates but they are defined as being languages in their own right nonetheless. : )

author by suspiciouspublication date Thu Sep 15, 2005 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wonder how many mortgage holders or their tenants or sub-let tenants care how their capital is traded beyond the mere saving of a deposit and the monthly bill.
you got a clean bank?
no none of you do.
in the greatest scales of good and evil the travellers and roma are right up their on the rightous side along with the homeless. & alas, many will find that funny or even more blindly think it offensive.

author by edward connorspublication date Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:09author email eddybodhran at rock dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am an Irish traveller and reading your comments I can see your lack of understanding of travellers and the travelling life. you all just look from the out side and ask questions to each other not to travellers so what understanding you gain is limited.

you can not put Irish travellers in to a stereotype though we come under the same heading are life’s are as different as yours. people think to be a traveller you must live on the side of the road in a caravan.
that is not what being a traveller is . as soon as you are born in to a travelling family you are a traveller for life no matter what you do.

I feel very blest to be a traveller, as I now who I belong to. I am part of a people that looks after there own I can meet strangers but if there travellers they wont harm me and i wont harm them . the very opposite in fact thell bend over backwards to accommodate me .unlike many young people to day my life has a direction i don’t feel lost and wondering what am i going to do.

traveller have very close families and most if they can help it will live close together. the most important member of a travellers family is the oldest. we look after and treat the old with respect. we lesson to there advise and to the storeys they tell of long ago. as many travellers can not read or write we still pass on storeys though word of mouth. people say that traveller are good at dealing and talking. well if that was the only way you could make a living you’d be good to.

The travellers have there own language that is all ill say about it, as it was kept secret for hundreds of years and only now stupid travellers are writing books or telling every one they meet so that thell feel important. the language will loose it usefulness and there for will be lost.

just some thought from an Irish traveller thanks

author by Katharinepublication date Sat Feb 17, 2007 09:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank you edward for your comments
Of course some settled people are curious about travellers because your lives are different
and to most of us pretty well unknown
I don't know much but recently begun to appreciate
the strong points of travellers lifestyle

It seems to me that there people have been nomadic for much
longer time (100,000 years) than settled and that
5,000 years of settled life is well on the way
to finishing off the planet as a place to live
I don't see why people assume that Travellers were all forced onto
the road because in past times it was possible to make a
good living Travelling and Travellers were
more welcome to come with their trades, news, music etc.

author by martin - western traveller and intercurial developmentpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2007 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am an Irish traveller and am proud of my Irish Traveller Heritage.Their is doucmented evidence that some Travellers were evicted on to the road side.Wheter by Cromwell or the 1740 famine does not matter at this stage in saying that it is a fact it happened.I come from one of the oldest Traveller families in the country and many of my people were evicted this was a sad chapter in Irish History.


author by ciarapublication date Wed Sep 19, 2007 00:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Martin, its good to hear you are proud of your Traveler heritage.

You say that the origins of Traveling people could be in their eviction on to the side of the roads some centuries back and you refer to this as a "sad chapter in Irish History". Does this mean that you find it regrettable that these events brought about the existence of a group of people who are considered separate to the rest of the people on the Island of Ireland? (Be it separated by "race" culture or any other socially constructed formation?) Just curious.

Edward Connors - you say peoples' "lack of understanding of travellers" is down to "ask(ing) questions to each other not to travellers". So I would like to pose a question to you as a Traveler and hopefully gain some insight. You say that to be born into a traveling family is what makes one a Traveler, not the actual traveling. Am I getting you correctly? You say that it is not living in caravans or on the side of the road, so what is it that makes one a traveler? Is someone a traveler if there mother but not their father is a Traveler, or the other way round? Or how about if their grandfather was/is one? What is it about Travelers that makes them different? Would very much like to hear an Irish Traveler's view on this.


Ciara (a curious Settler)

author by sooblic - tlf traveller liberation frontpublication date Fri Nov 16, 2007 23:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

there is a old belife amongst the wider comunity of ireland that travellers are of a seperate liniage and gene pool they would like to think that travellers some how made thier way to ireland from europe and are of gypsie origin when they are told that is not true they asume travellers were created at the time of the patato famines this is partley true tho alot of people did take to the road at this time in order to survive hunger and hardships but then when they are told travellers go back all the way to the twelfth centurey maybe even earlier thiere mouth drops with astonishtment because they do not want to belive or acsept travellers are the result of war invasion and evictions could it possibley be that travellers are the decendents of the great irish clans who faught the normans and english and were then driven from thier lands and were forced to wonder the with and breth of ireland for hundreds of years still to this day .you see this truth is not acsepted because it would be an admission that settled and traveller people are infact a comon foe and share the same ancestery you can agree or disagre with this coment but remember all you have to do is look at the facts look up historicle records of clans and people being evicted from thier lands or homes they will have the same sunames as travellers living in the same area today

author by Sage & Thymepublication date Sat Nov 17, 2007 09:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Short History of Gypsies & Travellers in Britain & Ireland

To look at this subject we must first establish the various kinds of Travellers and Gypsies and then look at their origins.

Here follows a list of nomadic people in Britain & Ireland :
Romany Gypsies
Welsh Travellers, Kale
Irish Travellers
Scottish Travellers
New Travellers
Circus People

Let us now look at the history and culture of these Travelling groups.

Romany Gypsies are, by far, the largest group of Travelling people in the UK. They were thought to have originated from Egypt, hence the name Gypsy. However the studies of English Romany in the 19th century lead to the conclusion that their origins were from northern India. Scholars such as John Samson realised that English Romany language was mainly Sanskrit with foreign words added. These words would have been picked up along the way and incorporated into their native tongue. It is possible to track their progress through Europe by the words they now speak. There are still Roma tribes living in India who share the same linguistic and cultural roots. We know now that they left India about 1000 A.D. They arrived in Western Europe about 1300 and crossed over into Britain about 1514 when we have the first record of them. By then many of them had accepted the Catholic faith mainly because they could mask themselves as pilgrims and could travel anywhere in Europe without hindrance. When they arrived in Britain, it was at the time of the protestant reformation and Henry V111 thought of them as dangerous spies for the Roman Church. In 1530 Henry forbade Gypsies to come into the country. In 1554 Mary 1 passed a law in England making it a crime, punishable by death, to enter the country as a Gypsy. Elizabeth 1 passed a law, that if Gypsies did not give up their way of life they would be put to death and their belongings taken away. The Romany Gypsies survived all of these persecutions and became a useful part of country life. The farming community used Gypsies and Travellers for many years to harvest the crops. They were useful in that, they were itinerant and after their work was done were happy to move on elsewhere. The word Romany comes from the word Rom which means in Romany, man or human being. Romany people have a strong family based culture where the family is very much their support system. Romany people are from birth to death, governed by strict hygiene laws known as Mochadi which can be translated as unclean. Romany’s believe cleanliness to be of great importance and strict principles have been laid down. Washing one’s hands is very important:
*Prior to handling food or dishes,
*After getting dressed in the morning
*Before going to the kitchen.
To a Gypsy, bodily fluids are thought to be “Dirty”, therefore latrines are to be well away from the living area. This is why Gypsies find modern housing very difficult as it breaks Mochadi. To the Romany a house is a dark and depressing place because they are very much out of doors people.
Roma are Romany Gypsies who have arrived here in the last century mainly as refugees from Eastern Europe. Under Stalin the Roma as they call themselves, were forced to settle, they literally took the wheels off their caravans and in some parts of Eastern Europe they are still living in those vans. However Stalin set up Roma schools all over the Soviet Union and wrote down Romany in Russian script. He wanted to create a Roma communist elite and in some circumstances he succeeded. Many of the children in these schools became high up officials in government and the Red Army. At the collapse of the Soviet State the Roma became the target for racial abuse and this continues to this day.
Welsh Romany’s or Kale as they call themselves, are mostly the descendants off Abram Wood, who was a talented violinist. They entered Wales about 1700 and until recently they spoke their own type of Romany which is very much more like continental Romany and was of great interest to the linguist John Samson. He thought of it as being a purer language and thought it was far closer to the original language of those who left India a thousand years ago.

The Irish Travellers are one of the oldest Travelling people of the British Isles and some scholars believe them to be the descendents of the original hunter gatherer people of these islands. They speak two languages, Gammon and Cant . They were at one time tin smiths, tinkers and peddlers and also brought information from place to place. This was valued because before 1700 Dublin was the only Irish town to have its own news paper. In culture they have the same hygiene laws as the Romany Travellers, which is very much a mystery to anthropologists as they have little to do with each other and intermarriage is rare even to this day.
Groups of Scottish Travellers developed between 1500 and 1800 from Scottish craft workers, who married into immigrant Romany groups from France and Spain. In 1969 one third of them were still living in tents. Much of Scotland’s traditional music has been collected from Traveller families. They have their own language which is known as Cant. To this day the Scottish Parliament refuses to count them as an ethnic minority.
New Travellers or as some quite wrongly call them New Age Travellers started to form in the 1970s. Most of them come from the settled community and there are many reasons for this. Some chose the way of life because they thought it was better for the environment, being that they used less of the worlds depleting energy stocks. Others however are just poor people who have been forced through economic circumstances to live on the road. In the dark old days of unemployment and the poll tax, many young people from the North and from the Midlands where poverty and unemployment were at there highest, groups of homeless young people simply did what the then minister told them to do, they bought old vehicles such as Buses, Lorries and took to the road to live like Gypsies. Today many of those people would like to come off the road but because they are being constantly moved on they have no chance of getting into council housing.
Bargees are a distinct group of Travellers who live and work on barges. There are now very few Bargees in Britain as canals are no longer usually used to carry freight. However some New Travellers wishing to get away from constantly being moved on by local authorities have bought up old narrow boats and travel on the canals. Recently this has come under fire from the water authority, who again want to move them on.
The Showmen and Circus people probably travel the most out of all these groups. The word fair comes from the Latin word Feria meaning holiday. There were probably fairs in Britain before the Roman invasion. In the middle ages, traders from Europe brought goods to trade from all over the world. Travelling entertainers such as jugglers, musicians and tumblers performed wherever people gathered to buy their goods. Rides first appeared in the 1800s. In 1889 the fair ground people formed the Showmen’s Guild. Some of the guild members are from Gypsy decent, others are not but this made them distinct from all other Travellers.
The first Circuses were travelling shows with musicians, jugglers and acrobats performing in open spaces and collecting money for acts. Later circuses were held in enclosed spaces and people paid to watch. The first modern circus was held in London in 1768, but tents were probably not used until the 1820s.

The plight of Gypsies Travellers today is not easy. In 1968 a law was passed saying that each council had an obligation to provide a site for every Traveller. This promise was never honoured and the sites that were provided were often old rubbish tips or even under flyovers, places no one else would want to live. In 1994 the conservative government abolished the Caravan Sites Act and took away the obligation for local councils to provide sites. At least 5000 families were left without any legal home. The Gypsies and Travellers were told that they should look for their own sites and that councils would give them planning permission. Again this never happened and families were forced to either go into housing or apply for planning permission retrospectively, because no Gypsy could ever get planning permission granted because of local prejudice. In recent years many of the old traditional stopping places such as commons, old roads etc. have been sealed up and this has made it more difficult to live on the road. Those who have chosen the housing route have often found hostility from the settled population and many of these folk forced to live in houses have landed up clinically depressed. Young people living on these estates have lost their cultural roots and have ended up with a dysfunctional family life. It is difficult to count how many Gypsy Travellers there are in the UK because they move so often. It is thought that at the least there are 120,000 of them. It would not be greatly difficult to solve this problem, if only the settled population were less prejudiced. It costs the tax payer £20,000,000 a year to just evict these people from one place to another and make their lives a misery. That money could build many sites and solve the problem. However; there is a lack of political will to do this, because the settled community are so hostile to the Travelling community. This hostility comes from fear and ignorance and until this is addressed, as the Gypsies would say- We are on a puckering cosh to nowhere- (a sign post to nowhere.)

author by martin lacey - nonepublication date Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:15author email mlacey at oceanfree dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

there is no evidence that the irish travellers are a seperate ethnic group. this was an invention by john o'connell of pavee point,. for example the word cant is simply the gaelic word caint. this cant/ gamman or shelta is simply an argot or slang used to confuse or keep secrets from settled people. there used to be a homosexual argot in london (ive forgotten the name) so that gay people could talk together secretly. travellers did have an economic status and purpose in the past but so did coopers, dockers, blacksmiths and other fairly obsolescent trades. are people on the east wall a separate ethnic group. its time travellers and their so called supporters grew up and integrated into this new ireland.with friends like these - the travellers dont need enemies.
integration for all is a 2 way process . see ya, martin

author by Phyl.Bpublication date Mon Jan 14, 2008 15:37author email phylbranch at postmaster dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have just read your very interesting notice, about Gypsies and Travellers, dated 17th Nov.2007.
You have it seems done a lot of research into the history of said subject, this is the reason I am writing to you.

My mother used to tell us little about her life with the circus in Ireland, in fact all we really know is that either
her great grandparents, or her grandparents had the first travelling circus in Ireland.

I believe the name was TURNBULL. Other than that we have no idea, and my Brothers and Sisters would love to know
more about our history'

Is there any way that you may be able to help us to trace the family?

Thanking you for your time


author by Sage & Thymepublication date Mon Jan 14, 2008 19:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am sorry the name Turnbull is I believe an English name which has it's origins in Northhumbria ? if not then definitely in the border regions of England and Scotland. Which is where I suggest you start your search.

author by Pyrepublication date Wed Aug 20, 2008 22:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tinkers were travellers long before the Famine, for the simple reason that no single village needed enough metalwork done to support families of metalworkers year-round -- but by touring around villages, Tinkers could find enough work to get by.

Also, it's a survival skill not to depend only on one trade, but to have several in hand, so breeding and trading horses, or collecting and trading scraps of everything from cloth to metal, have at time been Traveller trades.

Now, should it be a surprise that families in widespread trades sometimes wish to communicate privately amongst themselves, despite curious crowds surrounding them? I assure you the Florentine noble families used codes in trading, as the great corporations of the early 20th century relied on huge volumes of commercial code books for telegraphed messages. Even the medieval stonemasons, another travelling trade, had their secret codes, as their latter-day inheritors the Freemasons are famed for using. So why should poor Tinkers be looked askance at for doing likewise?

author by tomeilepublication date Thu Aug 21, 2008 15:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anybody interested in Irish Travellers and their traditions could do worse than tune into Lyric FM on Saturday . The station is broadcasting three programmes -starting this week - on the Irish Travellers , their songs and culture recorded (mainly in London) (1973-2004). see

author by Bernard Kenna - iam An Irish Travellerpublication date Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi i i am an irish traveller i have not got refuseed admission but a member of my family was not let in to a night club she was with a friend thats not a traveller she was asked for ID she had not got it on her at the time but she got it takeing up to her and then she was still not allowed in her friend was allowed in with out haveing to give ID also they said that she was in thery befor and was put out but this was the frist time she was in the night club i beleave this was a form of discriminate as the owener knows who she is and what that she is a traveller from what iam saying i beleave that it is worng to be refused from any where no matter what you are traveller, a setteld person or a none national you should be thared the same i would like to add on that all travellers are not the same as each other everyone is diffrent no matter what you are

author by pavee sooblic - the paveespublication date Sat Jan 03, 2009 15:50author email tomconnors at ymail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

i would just like to say if a group of travellers from one part of ireland cause truble then why do another harmless group get slated for it i often went to a pub or a disco and the management could say sorry lads not tonite i would ask why not and they would reply we had some of your people in here the other day and they caused truble when id tell them it wasant me and the other people are no relation and not from the same town or county theyd reply well look yous are the same people because u are a traveller just like the others that caused truble were travellers ' so acording to that if i opend up a disco or a pub and some settled people caused trouble would it be fair if i turned away another group settled people just for being who they are

author by henry cooperpublication date Wed Jan 28, 2009 15:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the situation of irish travellers in ireland reminds me of south africa when the white ruling class had a aparthied in place well basicly thats what is going on in ireland only the irish travellers are white not black another thing barrack obama is now the president of america would the irish public ever allow a traveller to run for president of ireland ha i dont think so

author by O D Bpublication date Thu Jun 04, 2009 01:08author email eoai.oe at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I find it unusual that many of the comments in this thread lack any genuine review and exploration into the topic at hand, some simple time researching any academic studies of the tradition will unearth the agreed truth that the linguistic formation of the Pavee language is recognised as being distinct onto itself, the post colonial adoption has certainly left it's mark but the essence and origins are well maintained and encased within the earlier Celtic conciseness.

The same goes for the savage and relentless protection of heritage, to such a degree that it is becoming eroded and lost to the hungry hands of time – in not sharing and expressing the unique variation of Irish society it is stolen away, not only from those that will, in the coming dawns be reared beneath the title of Pavee but from the greater communal body in which it exists within.

Much akin to Martin lancys comments Irish Travellers do not need enemies, but I deeply differ on the reasoning of why there is a need for such integration at the risk of genuine and authentic lineage – the claims for a cited ethnic presence is one not held by the majority of Irish Travellers and has it's placement among the political fractions of the tradition and not the heritage itself, it is somewhat arrogant and contemptuous to thrust the blunt of a unwavering ideal that the tradition itself is not of value, worth and deserving of respect.

Discrimination is a vile and reckless aspect of our human identity and being born within a certain lineage does not make one untouched by the ignorance and idiotic trends that run deep in our veins – the attempt to focus on discrimination as a means of defence or progressive attack is one of common folly, as us mere mortals will always attempt to superimpose a egotistic superiority above others though any medium at hand.

Regardless of origins the Tradition is never the less in existence, and it is manifesting itself in a ever evolutionary flux and will certainly be going no where for a very long time – so if we are to move forward we can only do so, by not bickering and lashing out through word and deed but in the process of understanding that there is no greater kinship then that of basic humanality and that our futures just like our past is a shared on.

Daylon derehl


author by Ethnic Human.publication date Thu Jun 04, 2009 07:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Some scholars believe them to be the descendents of the original hunter gatherer people of these islands."

Which scholars?

There is plenty of evidence that they are the descendents of ordinary Irish people who travelled from town to town selling goods like leather and tin utensils (hence "tinker") etc.

Nothing more romantic than travelling salesmen.

This happened throughout Europe.

For instance Norway:


The Irish version are not Firbolgs, De Danaans or Roma...they are as Irish as the Murphys or O'Connors or Ahernes.

author by Historymanpublication date Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's an interesting point of view, to suggest that Irish Travellers are a race unto themselves; it's a coy political move, but it bears no relation to socio-historic facts. There would be numerous PR and political advantages in Irish Travellers being designated as separate race or some-such: but they are Irish and that's that, subject to the laws of the country.

author by ramblerpublication date Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The word gypsies, which people in my village used as a polite alternative to tinkers thirty years ago, comes from a widespread British belief that they originated from Egypt.

I think some Irish travellers may be descended from some of the many tenants who were evicted after the Famine by landlords who decided ruthlessly to clear their estates in grim efforts to ward off bankruptcy.
That theory would only account for some of the travellers, for folklore suggests that 'na tinceiri ' existed and tramped the dirt roads of Eirin for several centuries before the Famine. Among the contemporary travellers there appears to be no folk memory of their origins.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jun 05, 2009 13:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

read Angus Fraser's 1992 book, 'The Gypsies'
for a thorough and academic explanation of the stories of the Roma/Gypsies.

95% of the book is about the Roma (and other groups with them) that traveled from the Punjab area of today's India more than a thousand years ago. He basically says that other than some inter-marriage between the Irish/UK travelers on an individual level, there is no past connection. But he also says there had been many 'nomadic' groups all over europe that of today's knowledge are lost to history. These people were ignored by the literate of the time and were (mostly) not written about.

The term 'nomadic' should also be challenged - are Poles in search of work in Ireland from a 'nomadic' culture?

and looking at some of the comments above, some people really really need to let go of these genetic-based ideas regarding cultural identity - it's the 21st century fer christ's sake!

read some samples of 'The Gypsies' at....

also listen to my MP3 of a lecture by Janos Barsony about the history of the Roma
MP3: International Roma Day 2009, Budapest

{with photo series}

Janos Barsony wrote Pharrajimos: The Fate of the Roma During the Holocaust
which is widely considered to be the best english book on the Roma Holocaust

read samples here: http://books.google.com/books?id=N00MTd_7hLIC&dq

and, while you're at it!...
listen to my MP3 of Flamenco at Budapest's Roma Parliament

no, Flamenco is not a hungarian roma dance, but it is a roma neighborhood and the local kids were fascinated with it!

Angus Fraser's 1992 book 'The Gypsies'
Angus Fraser's 1992 book 'The Gypsies'

Flamenco at Budapest's Roma Parliament
Flamenco at Budapest's Roma Parliament

Related Link: http://LMV.hu/redjade
author by Eleanorpublication date Wed Nov 11, 2009 23:15author email eleanorphillips at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could everyone who is so sure of the origins, historical or otherwise, please check out this link: www.historyireland.com/volumes/volume12/issue4/features/?id=114362 for a more up-to-date and well researched article by Prof. Sinead Ni Suinear. And please stop saying tinker, in Gaelic Travellers were originally known as Lucht Siuil - "The Walking People".
Just read the article and be amazed.

Related Link: http://www.historyireland.com/volumes/volume12/issue4/features/?id=114362
author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Thu Nov 12, 2009 14:49author email westernwriters at eircom dot netauthor address Canavan House, Nuns Island, Galwayauthor phone 087.2178138Report this post to the editors

The Western Writers' Centre some years back had a project of working with the Galway Travellers' Support Group (as it was then) and a play, subsequently produced by Galway Bay FM radio, was came out of this.

Related Link: http://www.twwc.ie
author by Barefoot Paveepublication date Wed Oct 13, 2010 23:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As an individual from an Irish traveller lineage I refuse the notion that my character and person should be judged on the actions of others. How obscene and unrealistic the concept is to suggest I am no more then those I may have a passing conversation with, how limited and ignorant it is to also believe I can not, and would not wish to progress, as both a person and as a traveller.

As of the understanding that my community is not of an ethnic standing I would refer thoughts to the legal identification that most of European countries holds to the Irish Pavee, as well as the five primary aspects of ethnic identification including self identification and the externalised rational of difference.

Lets however put politics aside and realise that despite the name and the guise if offers, people are still people.

I am indeed flawed, but it is a characteristic you too carry.

Know of me before you cast me aside.


author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Oct 14, 2010 13:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just had a glance at the site.
You reckon Kant comes from 'Canuit', the Gaeilge for dialect. Might it not be just from 'caint', the Gaeilge for talk?Seems a more direct and simpler derivation. My dictionary has 'canuint' for dialect, whereas 'caint' and Kant are more immediately interchangable, and talk is just that much more broad and less of an academic word than dialect. Either way, safe travelling.

author by fiona - Travelling communitypublication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 01:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hi. i am not irish but i'm a gypsy traveller,while researching my own lineage i came across this site,and to be honest the theroies re where irish travellers came from are very weak and the people who wright up these ideas are just wanting to write a book,and it's easy to be vague and give un true explanations since NO one actually knows the true origins of travellers,but i dont think the traveller way of life came about just because of a crisis,it is of choice a love of the freedom rather than a punishment put upon travellers,and the things that distinguish us from country people[why do we call non travs country people?] if we originate in same country?our hygiene rules are diffrent...our moral rules are diffrent...our lifestyle,history,language,and our desires as to that of the settled people ie in wanting big houses and lands with our names on them,the travellers prefer freedom,if travelling was only took up as a result of abject poverty,then those peasents must have been really intelligent to learn skills diffrent laws and language etc etc in a few hundred years?which would have taken any civilisation centuries to create...no travellers ARE an ethnic minority.surely anyone with a brain would see that. the reason irelands goverment wont accept travellers as an ethnic minority is because it does'nt want to accomodate the lifestyle to do so would mean treating travellers with long due respect...

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 14:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My theory, for its tuppence worth, is that the traveller way of life is the natural one, and settlers are the aberration. I'm born into a settled situation, but all our ancestors migrated more freely than the 'country people' who claim the land and fence it for their own benefit, excluding us in the process and resenting our existence as a living testimony to their illegitimate absolute claim of 'ownership', which stems from the feudal enclosures of the commonage (open access of land to certain rights on a communal basis, where responsibility was democratically decided).

The commercial controllers of our current social structures like a captive market(witness the great periodic fleecings, one of which we are at the minute undergoing, based on this same private ownership scam). I've been a compulsive traveller(small t) since I could toddle. Domestication is for pets.

And you're right about 'the reason' ; the authorities are frightened that if travellers get ethnic status the government will have to conform to international human rights legislation in a more strict way. That could curb their bully-boy tactics. safe travels.

author by Geneticist.publication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Travellers are ubiquitous throughout Europe.

Swedish travellers dye their hair black and pretend to be Romanies.
DNA analysis proves that they are Swedes.

DNA analysis will probably prove that Irish travellers are pure Irish.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 16:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..but I dont think we need the genome splitters to verify that. just check the surnames. And as a geneticist i think you might find the gene bank across these islands is fairly uniform. Or have you other evidence?

author by Geneticist.publication date Thu Feb 24, 2011 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yup Opus.

40% of the female mitocondrial genes in Iceland came from Ireland or Scotland.

So those male Vikings from Norway really did carry off our women.

The monks weren't telling lies after all.

author by ACpublication date Sat Feb 26, 2011 00:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"DNA analysis will probably prove that Irish travellers are pure Irish"...This logic is hilariously absurd, and on so many levels, that it's worth teasing it out a little. The best response to it however is a hoarse horse-laugh. Which I intend to give at the end of my comment.

First of all, in seeking recognition of their ethnic status, who says Travellers are trying to make themsleves less Irish? Secondly, how would you "prove that Irish travellers are pure Irish"? Do you think you'll find shamrocks dancing in their DNA? Scarcely much of a "geneticist" ...

so being Irish is about your genome? If so, do you think the Icelandic people you mentioned with "Irish" genes are 40% less Icelandic then? What about black Irish people, do you think they are somehow less Irish? Do you think the Jews Hitler murdered were less German? The Nazis certainly thought that.

As if Travellers would become less Irish if their human rights were respected by having their ethnicity recognised by the govt. Of course they should be recognised as having their own ethnic identity, they tick all the boxes. What's the major problem? Why does this bring out the hysterics in otherwise normal people? It's normal in much of the world for people to have mixtures of national, ethnic, or religious identities speak more than one language, pray at more than one church. It's only in this benighted region after the horrible era of imperialism followed by the horrible era of one-nation, one-religion, one-skin-colour, one-culture, one-party states that we have specialised in breeding minds like our soi-disant geneticist. I fear for the future of this country.

But don't take my word for it, Travellers have lots to say about this themselves. This site- Navan Travellers Workshops Ltd - is quite good on their putative origins.


Oh and by the way... HRUAGHHAHAHA!

author by BoJanglespublication date Mon May 23, 2011 12:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I can't accept that Irish travellers are of Irish ethnicity, unless of course the settled Irish are not truly Irish at all! I grew up in a small town with a large travelling population. They looked different to us, you could tell someone was a traveller immediately. They had different customs, gender relations, attitudes to animals, houses, women, children - life in general! They used to cause a lot of problems, especially the men. Some of the traveller girls going to school were extremely decent though. Later on I became a teacher, some of the best and worst students I ever taught were travellers! Anyway, my point is that they are extremely different to the settled community in both looks and customs so this study makes me wonder where the hell the settled community have come from if the travellers are the ones who are truly Irish

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon May 23, 2011 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

could it be that us settled ones are the decendants of the planters from next door and the travellers the remnant of the old Gaelic Brehon culture?

They keep the old traditions of holy wells(pre-christian nature-spirit worship?)the patterns(patron saints of local areas)and nearly all bear Gaelic clan names, so I dont think its a genetic question, as you imply.
Some of the clans(clann, gaelic:family)are also the old aristocratic gaelic patronyms. It might be interesting to do a study of the proportion of English surnames in the general population compared to the traveller.(get me the funding and I'll start).
Also this island is made of a series of invasions, many of which are pre-historic, so we can only scratch the later layers of oral and then written records. Up to recently travellers kept oral rather than written traditions, and retain their stubborn seperate identity, but its more culture(nurture)than inborn(nature). I'd say we're just the lazy paddies that gave way to the final Anglo/Norman feudal invasion got on with intermarrying and adapting to the British 'facts on the ground', while the Travellers held to the older communally based sept and tribal values we diluted to accommodate the new landlords. And, like ourselves, they are a mixed bag, mostly sound, but when paddy goes bad, it aint a pretty sight.

Hence the success of Tammany Irish racism in the states in the long suppression of the negro, his main competitor at the bottom of the vicious economic food-chains, again the neo-feudal system the traveller never quite got INCORPORATED into. And I think the reason for the virulent hatred of the traveller from the propertied classes stems from subconscious recognition that its us, rather than them, that are the real trespassers, which points to the reiteration of that old chestnut of all property being theft, which while a bit extreme, bears its truth; in so far as beyond a certain basic personal level, ownership claims are just based on conquest, and ultimately thats murder and theft. Of course we prefer to claim it was all 'hard earned' and bought with 'good cash'. The only comparable virulent hatred I've encountered was the Ausie's for the displaced Aboriginal, or maybe the denial of existence of the Palestinian by the Zionist.

And then there is the case that they call their 'secret' language cant, which seems to derive from the gaelic 'caint' meaning simply speech, appropriate for an oral tradition where a certain circumspection dealing with the SETTLERS would seem a wise idea.
Thems my theories.

author by BoJanglespublication date Mon May 23, 2011 16:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That is very interesting indeed, and you could perhaps be right. If I even think of my own family, both my parents have a lot of English blood in them from British soldiers who married Irish Catholic women but became Catholic also, for some reason I can't explain. This genetic study is throwing open the doors on the facts of our heritage. As you say, it could be quite possible the majority of us settled Irish are not so Irish at all. It would explain the rapid decimation of the language - I for one do not believe that it was the populace's decision alone to decide to stop speaking Gaelic. It was definitely as a result of economic and social reasons combined with rampant intermarriage in my opinion. Anyway, who knows what we are at this stage. This genetic study on the RTE programme is definitely shining light on my ignorance anyhow, I always thought travellers were originally from Romania or somewhere in that neck of the woods. Would love for you to get that funding as I say it would be a fascinating piece of research!

author by The Local Look.publication date Mon May 23, 2011 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There has a Swedish Traveller community for hundreds of years.
They claim to be Gypsies.

(Even after they dye their hair jet black they still look like Swedes.)

Irish and Swedish travellers look like "locals".

author by Tony - NONEpublication date Fri Sep 16, 2011 13:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just take a look at the names of Irish travellers and you can clearly see that they are from the same stock as the rest of the settled people of Ireland .Some of the best known names Ward , Joyce , Conners, Doherty these are all common names in Ireland that can be traced back to the Normans. At some stage in our history for what ever reason certain native Irish people decided to live a nomadic lifestyle be it for work or out of having there lands taken from them over the centurys. Most likely English land reforms in ireland, forced a lot of people on to the road.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Sep 16, 2011 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At one time most human societies were nomadic, following game with the seasons, and vegetation.
A particularly rich environment might start a more permanent settlement. Quite a few were just journeymen tradesmen when the economy was less urban, some would have been on the run for rebellion or civil crime.

Many just dont like the wage-slave system we've become conditioned to, or the concrete cells of our dwellings that seperate them from the contact with the elements they were born closer to than us more domesticated animals. They retain a healthy scepticism about our own fixation with location, location, location. Looking around, I'm inclined to share it. Who is more fucked now than the property worshipper?Not your Traveller. For all their stubborness, their values are closer to communal, a dimension we might learn to recover if we really want to extricate from the sub-prime mega-bondage. Not much sign of light dawning yet in the PLANTED society. As Albert might have said, thats planters for ya. Shoulda stuck to vaga-bondage.

author by Lokipublication date Fri Sep 16, 2011 14:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Travellers have three times the infant mortality rate* of the settled. I don't think all of this can be blamed on the capitalist system. A nomadic life style also disrupts the education of children. Traveller women are thirty times** more likely to suffer domestic violence than settled women.

The traveller lifestyle isn't really all that noble or romantic.

*Traveller infant deaths rates higher

**Traveller women 30 times more likely to suffer domestic violence - report
TRAVELLER WOMEN are proportionately 30 times as likely as settled women to suffer domestic violence, while migrant women are more than twice as likely to suffer domestic violence than Irish women, according to a report published yesterday.

The report, Translating Pain into Action – Gender-based Violence and Minority Ethnic Women in Ireland, is published by the Women’s Health Council. It finds ethnic women are not only more vulnerable to gender-based violence than the general population, but also that they face a range of additional barriers to accessing help

Report summary: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/pdf/MEWTranlsating_Pain...ect=1

Report: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/pdf/MEW_Full_Report.pdf

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Fri Sep 16, 2011 14:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was only speculating about origins. The same is true for Australian Aboriginal populations(whats left of them), Inuit, Native Americans, and others at the bottom of our kicking-order economy. The viciousness trickles down more than the wealth does. Alcohol becomes an analgesic for poverty and exclusion, with downstream behavioural consequences.

Things are improving slowly, but already the first in the firing line for cutbacks are Traveller education programs and remedial asistants. But then our thoroughbred horses have better medical treatment(right down to swimming pools for muscle sprain exercise)than most of us. The exclusion is complex, like the Jewish pogroms, it was(and can remain) a reaction to the internal cohesion of closed tribalist networks. I'd say the Traveller side of it, despite its degeneration into criminality betimes, is less vicious than the settled. And anyway, criminality, like grammar, is cultural and context-bound. As the man said, steal a little and they throw you in gaol, still the lot and they make you a king. You'd be locked up at home for what you are payed to do and given medals for once you're pointed at the selected enemy.

author by Lokipublication date Fri Sep 16, 2011 18:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Part of the problem is cutbacks. But also their parents choose a nomadic lifestyle. This lifestyle is inevitably going to lead to eductional and health problems. Do those parents have the right to inflict that on their children.

Some would answer: do settled parents have the right to inflict a settled lifestyle on their children?

Well a settled lifestyle means that a settled infant will only have a third of the mortality rate of a traveller infant.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Sep 17, 2011 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm no expert, but I'd be wary of that equation. I've led a nomadic enough existence but my kids emerged healthy as any.

Maybe poverty and lack of access to education are the bigger culprits, with state bigotry and exclusion to the fore in driving both.

A straight line does not divide sedentary/settled families from nomadic/migrant. In reality we all partake of both in varying degrees.
Those of us not ethnically linked to the conventional bigotry tend to fare better.

author by Lokipublication date Sat Sep 17, 2011 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Then please tell us what aspects of the studies you challenge: were the traveller women telling lies about being abused? Were doctors inventing infant deaths with the collaboration of the traveller families and coroners?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sun Sep 18, 2011 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..I'm challenging the findings of your study, Loki. I'm questioning the direct correlation of nomadism to these problems. Are you saying stop the nomadic movement and these problems will evaporate?If so, it smacks of the enforced settlement policies that seem to do more harm than good. And its usually been coupled to enforced movement when the settled Traveller community gets 'too big' for the comfort of the 'respectable' folks.

Travellers are settling more and more, for different reasons, and increasingly valuing access to education. But their exclusion from mainstream work opportunities requires (not unlike workers generally)increased mobility. Do you advocate compulsory settlement?

author by Serfpublication date Sun Sep 18, 2011 15:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

would travellers that have accepted accomodation be excluded from those statistics on mortality / domestic violence?
surely such statements :
(i.e: that there is a 30% higher mortality rate / higher household violence etc)
only have meaning validity if comparing like with like. i.e. settled travellers versus normal travellers

author by Lokipublication date Sun Sep 18, 2011 19:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heres the PR regarding the report:

The report presents the one year follow-up of Traveller infants born on the island of Ireland between October 2008 and October 2009.

The Department of Health and Children in conjunction with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland commissioned the study in 2007. The School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, University College Dublin were appointed to conduct the Study which expanded on research conducted by the Health Research Board in 1987: ‘Travellers Health Status Study – Vital Statistics of the Travelling People’.

This research consisted of a detailed longitudinal study investigating health-related issues of maternal and infant health status and the health services utilisation experience of 508 Traveller families and their infants. This was completed with the cooperation of Traveller mothers themselves, public health nurses and other healthcare staff.

Key Findings:

Traveller parents are younger in comparison to the general Irish population with an average age of 27.5 years for Traveller fathers and 25.9 for Traveller mothers. This is a difference of 7.1 years for fathers and 5.7 years for mothers when compared to the general population.
· Traveller mothers have a shorter birth gap between pregnancies and higher parity and stillbirth rates compared to the general population. On average, 5.0% of Traveller mothers have had at least one stillbirth compared to the 1.6% average of the general population.
· More Traveller mothers now present for the first booking visit to the hospital for antenatal services than reported in the past, with rates almost the same as the general population (22.5% versus 28% at 3 months). · More Traveller mothers (81.5%) had shared ante-natal care between maternity hospitals and General Practitioners than the general population (76.6%). However 2.1% of Traveller mothers had no ante-natal care compared to 0.2% of the general population.
· The breastfeeding rate for Travellers was still very low. Only 2.2% of Traveller mothers initiated breastfeeding compared to around 50% in the general population.
· Average birth weight of Traveller infants was comparable to the general population.
· Traveller babies have a comparable growth rate with the general population at 9 months of age.
· Public Health Nursing, community-based health services and Primary Health Care (General Practitioner) services are the main services utilised by Traveller mothers and their infants during the first year of life.
· The commonest complaint that Traveller infants attended health services for was for respiratory-related conditions. This was also the case in the general population.
· While Traveller infant mortality rates have decreased since the 1987 study, the study team found a higher infant mortality rate than the general population. This was 12.0 per 1,000 live Traveller births in 2008/2009 and 14.1 in 2007/2008 compared to 3.9 and 3.2 per 1000 live births in the general population for the same periods.

Full PR: http://www.dohc.ie/press/releases/2011/20110907.html

Full report: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/aiths_follow_up.html

Al reports: http://www.dohc.ie/publications/traveller_health_study.html

From the report:

1.4 Traveller mother movement
Overall, at least 30% (n=152) of the mothers were noted to change their address (moving of
accommodation) or move out of their original area. Some who moved within the same LHO were not
informed to the study team as the follow-up remained the responsibility of either the same PHN or
designated PHN. 19.7% (n=30) of those who moved were lost in the process despite the team’s best
effort. The movement resulted in losses to follow up including from county to county, across the border
to Northern Ireland (and vice versa), to the United Kingdom and to Europe. In most cases there was no
forwarding address for those who moved out of the island of Ireland, although some who travel actively
made contact with the PHNs upon their return. Sometimes a family left without notifying the PHNs or
register with the PHNs in the next area although a small number were picked up by the Primary Health
Care for Travellers Projects (PHCTPs) in the next area.
The movement of Traveller mothers in the cohort of 30% is somewhat higher than the reported
number from the AITHS census in ROI (21.5% reported to be ‘on the road’ at least once in a year) but
lower than the number from Northern Ireland (37.4%)

Section 4 covers Traveler infant mortality

4.1 Introduction
In this chapter we present the findings from our documentation of infant mortality of those infants who
qualified for the birth cohort. We first discuss the methodology used for the birth cohort study and then
present the total number of deaths and causes of Traveller infant deaths. We also make comparison to
the general Irish population and other groups where data are available.
4.2 Methodology
In this section we present the methodology employed to ascertain the infant mortality rate of Traveller
infants who met the criteria for the cohort.
4.2.1 Time frame and ascertainment period of mortality
The birth cohort study ascertained infant mortality prospectively from 14th October 2008 to 13th
October 2010 [while the AITHS mortality study ascertained all infant mortality retrospectively starting
from the AITHS census (14th October 2008)].
4.2.2 Sources of data for Traveller infant mortality
The main data sources for the birth cohort study were:
1) Public Health Nurses/ Health Visitors and Primary Health Care for Travellers Projects
2) Other media sources
3) General Register Office

From the conclusions:

The demographic profile, compared to mothers of both Irish and European origin giving birth in this
country, and also across social classes, gives us a clear picture of current Traveller families. Both parents
are younger on average than other groups, have more pregnancies and children and most experience
positive outcomes. As we discuss in chapters 2 and 3, booking rates are now high, though still not at
the level of the general population and factors such as immunisation completion need to be improved
to reach the general population rates.
Travellers are more likely to have spontaneous vaginal deliveries, but also go home earlier if they have
had a caesarean section. Breastfeeding rates are confirmed as very low as previously found (All Ireland
Traveller Health Study Team, 2010; McGorrian et al, 2010). There is also evidence that Traveller babies
are lighter on average than other population groups with the causes likely to be similar to the general
literature on low birth weight. Utilisation rates of health services in the first year of life are higher than
expected generally.

Table 5.1: Summary of recommendations from the AITHS Summary of Findings (All Ireland
Traveller Health Study Team, 2010, pg156-174)

• A strategic action plan should be set out, with a firm commitment to implementation, targets
and timeframes
• Adequacy of accommodation is essential to ensure health improvement for Travellers
• Every Traveller child should obtain the minimum equivalent of the Junior Certificate and a similar
percentage should go on through secondary school to professional or higher level education as the
general population within 10 years
• Strong attention should be given to adult education, especially for those under 30 years old
• A national multi-level education campaign is required to help break down stereotypes many people
in the general population have about Travellers and produce a more rounded understanding
• A national exhibition of Traveller crafts and traditions could be mounted, in the National Museum, as
a mainstream event
• Employment policy must be to treat the community like a small or medium enterprise and take a
bottom-up strategy
• The current undergraduate and graduate curricula for health and education professionals should
explicitly include a module on Traveller health status and customs
• Hospitals with a significant Traveller catchment population should include a section on Travellers as
part of routine staff inductions. General practices with a Traveller list should offer similar induction to
staff and there should be a set of guidelines on how Traveller families are managed from frontline to
There are four priority health care needs which require a unique identifier to implement:
• All sectoral aspects of mother and child services merit top priority to reduce infant mortality,
support positive parenting outcome and break the cycle of lifelong disadvantage that starts so early
for Traveller families
• A gendered strategy needs to be adopted and men’s health issues need to be addressed, specifically
with an emphasis on empowerment and promotion of self-esteem for young Travellers of both
sexes to improve mental health and well-being
• There is a concerted need to address cause-specific issues for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
This necessitates supportive and culturally appropriate strategies for all aspects of positive lifestyle as
well as risk factor detection and management
• Priority should be given to a new model of primary care delivery for Travellers dovetailed in the
Republic of Ireland with emergence of Primary, Continuing and Community Care services, and in
partnership with Primary Health Care for Travellers Projects Networks

author by Serfpublication date Sun Sep 18, 2011 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so the study shows that both settled travellers and normal ones are mixed up in the statistics. Also that comparisons are made with the general population of settled people and not just with settled travellers.

This means we cannot definitively say that settling alone will decrease the mortality rate of travellers. It could be anything.

too many variables involved to draw any specific conclusions as to why the rates differ. Is it dietary? Genetic? Social exclusion factors? Tribal behaviour factors? Alcohol / drugs / smoking? Other Specific Medical problems?

Who knows?

Stupid study!

author by Lokipublication date Sun Sep 18, 2011 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Read a bit more of the study. I think Its not just a waste. Theres a lot of valuable sociological and socio-economic data in there as well

It was based on mothers who self identified as travellers.

Maybe the study is rubbish but at least give it a fair reading.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Sep 19, 2011 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but at the same time I could easily call myself a 'self-designated Traveller' father. I have the mileage.

My question(added to the one above as to whether you advocate compulsory settling of travellers)is whether these are imposed solutions of sociologists and socio-economists making a living from producing reports that don't add a great deal to information already available?

Or are they Traveller generated, and endorsed by Travellers own representatives, and as such perhaps of some use in raising awareness among those who dont particularly want to know?Perhaps a module in primary schools to educate settled kids as to the fact we were all travellers at one time back in history, and that there is nothing unnatural in not wishing to be a cog in some Stepford industrial machine society of monocultured clones harnessed into debt-serfdom would be as appropriate in breaking down the barriers as repeating long-known facts in extra-elaborated prose.

Would the funding be better spent on retaining Traveller teachers?Or on health education programs instead of more studies telling us we need health education programs?

I'm not rubbishing the reports, just sceptical that they add anything new; and aware of the tendency to quango-fy social problems rather than solve them.

author by dan b - nonepublication date Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi, I've spent the last hr reading the posts, and my views have remained unchanged,Irish travelers are no diff than Irish,genetically or otherwise. Is a Donegal man a diff sub group or ethnic group than a cork man? No, they are Irish both, so are travellers,they choose to live diff than the majority in this country and the UK,although in large close family groups. As for the traveller language, it's a code language,mashed up and spoken fast so those outside the traveler group wont understand. I'm a native Gaelic speaker, so no cant is not a language. I do not believe travellers should be treated differently,ethnic grouping or any other way, they are just Irish that travel.

author by rulya feenpublication date Mon Jan 07, 2013 20:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i am a full bred Irish Traveller althoe not born and rared in ireland i am one all the same there is no one that knows more about a traveller than a traveller them selfs the gammon or kant aka caint meaning speak or talk in irish is or at least was a proper language it has become a bit faded alright but its there and still spoken by many a traveller including my self the gammon or kant goes back centurys to a time when speaking irish was outlawed, the ancesters of todays traveling people had to mix words up a little turn them back around in order for the english soldiers not to heare or understand them ,in the gammon language shaydoeg means soldier, in irish shaydiour means soldier nearly the same gammon lakeen irsh colleen and many more are the same just mixed up a little. travellers are and do have different genes thant settled population because we did not bow down to the english and went to war with them and lost all our lands the settled people stayed on thier lands and bred with the english lords and soldiers thats why the irish traveller is a true celt and does have different genes than settled people we have been here since the english landed in Ireland 800 year ago and we be heare another 800 theses are the facts so no more bull conya.

author by Margareta Hellman - swedish artist union K.R.O.publication date Thu Apr 16, 2015 15:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Swedish Travellers called "Resande" are surely of romany origine.Especially those who call themselves #Horto Rommany#,"Djup Resande"....They don´t dye their hair or skin dark!!! They are in general much darker than other ethnical swedes. They have been described "dark","black" in litterature for many centuries,by authors,and historical people,--They have many similarities with other Roma Groups..The language(though a little mixed with Swedish),-the Culture,laws,familylife ,the role of women, way of dressing,,way of earning their living,travelling ,etc. They are probably decendant from early Roma Groups in Sweden 1600 th century or earlier.
They claim beeing related to the Finnish Roma,Kalé,who came to Finland from Sweden,at the end of 16oo th Century(1565?)
They were hunted out from Sweden at that time.
Some of them stayed and hided.Changed names to common Swedish names,settled down in wintertime ,but trawelled during the warm seasons.
Some Swedish Trawellers, still has contact with their finnish "relatives" since 500 hundred years.!! And the Finnish Roma still have Swedish family names.
The few dna that is taken from the Swedish travellers,,show indian roots.
The Swedish academic proff.Adam Heijmowskij,who claimed they were pure Swedish,admitted before his death ,that there is much more Roma origine in the Swedish travellers ,than he first thought.
Later Bo Hazell,another roma investigator,has clearly pointed out undoubtadly Roma similarities and probably roma origine.
Anyone,who has trawelled,lived with, or got to know both Roma gipsy and Swedish trawellers, sees and understands that both Groups have the same roots.
The Swedish Trawellers "Resanderomer" are now admitted beeing an ethnical Roma minority.
Margareta T Hellman

author by RSaxonpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2017 17:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A note of correction, that may hopefully further distinguishing the travelers as their own ethnic group: The language Shelta is not Gaelic in origin, that's a misconception. Shelta has 3 dialects that are recognized as distinct from one another which are largely based on family or regional ties. Shelta is what's called a functional language which means that it has simple syntax, and words with multiple meanings. This is also very common in Central Asian languages like Urdu.

What this means is as traveler communities assimilate and exchange with other communities due to migration or work, what have you, it becomes simpler to "borrow" words from other languages rather than make up new ones. This keeps a consensus, and it keeps the language functional and true to its purpose for that traveler community. The point of the language is to keep family matters secret, as they are a very closed community. This means that most travelers now, and in the past decades were "bilingual", being able to use a more 'clean' common language and their own speak.

The etymological breakdown actually shows that Shelta has large components of Hebrew vocabulary. The simple reversals mentioned are more likely an example of adopted words than true Shelta/DeGammon. True Irish rooted Shelta words are purposely kept unknown to keep the language secretive, the travelers association has the right to request that any translation be removed from online sources (at least in Ireland).

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