Irish Travellers have been documented as being part of Irish society for centuries. Travellers have a long-shared history, traditions, language, culture, and customs.
The Irish Traveller community is an ethnic minority that account for approximately 0.5% of the Irish population. The culture of the Traveller community is separate and distinct from that of the majority population. Traveller culture has its own traditions, values, language, arts, crafts, and music. Travellers also have distinctive ways of living, such as living with the extended family, nomadism and the keeping of animals, particularly horses.
Recent economic change has brought about many challenges for the Traveller community’s way of life that have affected the living patterns of our community by impacting on such elements of Traveller culture as nomadism and the Traveller economy.
The distinctive Traveller identity and culture, based on a nomadic tradition, sets Travellers apart from the sedentary population or ‘settled people’.
Accepting, resourcing and celebrating Traveller identity, culture and heritage is a central element in any strategy to counter discrimination and the exclusion and marginalisation of Travellers.
Our experience of low social status and exclusion which prevents us from participating as equals in society is mostly due to the widespread hostility of settled people towards us. This hostility is based on prejudice which in turn gives rise to discrimination and effects Travellers in all aspects of our lives.
Travellers experience is also about the celebration of their cultural heritage and traditions. Despite the persistent hostility towards our Community, Travellers are to the fore in sharing our culture with Irish Society.