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The Traveller Community

Who are the Traveller community?

The Traveller community are an Irish nomadic indigenous ethnic minority. There is no recorded date as to when Travellers first came to Ireland. This is lost to history but Travellers have been recorded to exist in Ireland as far back as the 5th Century. Throughout Ireland’s recorded history there are references to an Irish nomadic indigenous minority.

Do Travellers have their own culture?

Yes. Culture is defined as a package of customs, traditions, symbols, values and phrases by which we can belong to a community. Culture is the way we learn to think, behave and do things.  Key features of Traveller culture are: nomadism, family, the importance of the extended family, economic activity & faith.  

Can one become a Traveller?

No, one can not become a Traveller; one has to be born into the community.

Do Travellers have their own language?

Travellers do have their own language; there are three variants of this language Cant, Gammon and Shelta. This language is only spoken by members of the Traveller community.

How many Travellers live in Ireland today?

There are an estimated 30,000 Travellers living in Ireland today, representing less than 1% of the population

Do Travellers experience social disadvantage?

Yes, on an indicator used to measure social disadvantage, Traveller people fare poorly on every point (Economic and Social Research Institute Reports 1986 (The circumstances of the Irish Traveller People are intolerable. No humane and decent society, once made aware of such circumstances, would permit them to persist) ESRI, 1986.

Do Travellers experience prejudice & discrimination?

Yes, the Traveller community experiences prejudice & discrimination at all levels.

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