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Encyclopedia > Irish Traveller

Irish Travellers (sometimes known as Tinkers) are a nomadic or itinerant people of Irish origin living in Ireland, Great Britain and the United States. It is estimated 25,000 Travellers live in Ireland, 15,000 in Great Britain and 7,000 in the United States [1]. Kazakh nomads in the steppes of the Russian Empire, ca. ...


They refer to themselves as The Pavees. Many non-Pavee people (or "Buffers", sometimes "Rooters",) still use the word Knackers, or Tinkers [2] (derogatory, in this sense), from the Irish tincéirí, sg. tincéir or "tinsmith." A whitesmith is a person who works with galvanized or tinned iron, or white iron. ...

Contents

Language and customs

Irish Travellers distinguish themselves from the settled communities of the countries in which they live by their own language and customs. The language is known as Shelta, and there are two dialects of this language, Gammon (or Gamin) and Cant. Shelta (also known as Gammen, Sheldru, Pavee, or simply the Cant) is a language spoken by parts of the Irish Traveller people that is often used to conceal the meaning from those outside the group. ... Shelta (also known as Gammen, Sheldru, Pavee, or simply the Cant) is a language spoken by parts of the Irish Traveller people that is often used to conceal the meaning from those outside the group. ... The word cant can mean more than one thing: Cant is insincere speech, similar to hypocrisy. ...


Sharon Gmelch describes the Travellers' language as follows [3]:

Irish Travellers use a secret argot or cant known as Gammon. It is used primarily to conceal meaning from outsiders, especially during business transactions and in the presence of police. Most Gammon utterances are terse and spoken so quickly that a non-Traveller might conclude the words merely had been garbled. Most Gammon words were formed from Irish Gaelic by applying four techniques: reversal, metathesis, affixing, and substitution. In the first, an Irish word is reversed to form a Gammon one - mac, or son, in Irish became kam in Gammon. In the second, consonants or consonant clusters were transposed. Thirdly, a sound or cluster of sounds were either prefixed or suffixed to an Irish word. Some of the more frequently prefixed sounds were s, gr, and g. For example, Obair, work or job, became gruber in Gammon. Lastly, many Gammon words were formed by substituting an arbitrary consonant or consonant cluster in an Irish word. In recent years, modern slang and Romani (the language of the gypsies) words have been incorporated. The grammar and syntax are English. The first vocabulary collected from Irish Travellers was published in 1808, indicating that Gammon dates at least back to the 1700s. But many early Celtic scholars who studied it, including the eminent Kuno Meyer, concluded it was much older. Metathesis is a sound change that alters the order of phonemes in a word. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Romani (or Romany) is the language of the Roma and Sinti, peoples often referred to in English as Gypsies. The Indo-Aryan Romani language should not be confused with either Romanian (spoken by Romanians), or Romansh (spoken in parts of southeastern Switzerland), both of which are Romance languages. ... Languages Romani, languages of native region Religions Christianity, Islam Related ethnic groups South Asians (Desi) The Romani people (as a noun, singular Rom, plural Roma; sometimes Rrom, Rroma) or Romanies are an ethnic group living in many communities all over the world. ... For the topic in theoretical computer science, see Formal grammar Grammar is the study of rules governing the use of language. ... For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... A vocabulary is a set of words known to a person or other entity, or that are part of a specific language. ... Year 1808 (MDCCCVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Events and trends The Bonneville Slide blocks the Columbia River near the site of present-day Cascade Locks, Oregon with a land bridge 200 feet (60 m) high. ... Kuno Meyer (20 December 1858 – 11 October 1919) was a Celtic scholar. ...

Origins

The historical origins of Travellers as a group has been a subject of great dispute. Some argue that Irish Travellers are descended from another nomadic people called the Tarish. It was once widely believed that Travellers were descended from landowners who were made homeless in Oliver Cromwell's military campaign in Ireland and in the 1840s famine, but Sociologist Sharon Gmelch writes that the truth is far more complex [4]: Tarish may refer to: An Anglicised form of the Biblical Tarshish(1). ... Oliver Cromwell (25 April 1599 – 3 September 1658) was an English military and political leader best known for his involvement in making England, Scotland and Ireland into a republican Commonwealth and for the brutal war exercised in his conquest of Ireland. ... Combatants English Royalists and Irish Catholic Confederate troops English Parliamentarian New Model Army troops and allied Protestants in Ireland Commanders James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde (1649 - December 1650) Ulick Burke, Earl of Clanricarde (December 1650-April 1653) Oliver Cromwell (1649-May 1650) Henry Ireton (May 1650-November 1651) Charles... Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies. ...

Unfortunately, the early history of Ireland's Travelling People is obscure. Being illiterate, they left no written records of their own. Being poor, they have largely been ignored in the literature of 'The Great Tradition.' Only one thing is certain, not all families originated at the same time or in the same way. Some Travelling families date back centuries, others have adopted an itinerant lifestyle in modern times. Some undoubtedly began as itinerant craftsmen and specialists who traveled because the limited demand for work in any one place. Others were originally peasants and laborers who voluntarily went on the road to look for work or else were forced onto it by eviction or some personal reason - a problem with drink, the birth of an illegitimate child, marriage to a 'tinker'. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... Look up itinerant in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Illegitimacy was a term in common usage for the condition of being born of parents who are not validly married to one another; the legal term is bastardy. ...

Dr. Gmelch states that the Ward Clan is acknowledged by other Travellers as one of the "oldest families on the road." Stating that their name is derived from Mac an Bhaird, or "Son of the Bard," she suggests that perhaps they took to the road as fugitives from English laws against their traditional, musical profession of singing songs and reciting poetry in the Irish language [5]. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Mac an Bháird family (Irish: Clann an Bháird) was one of the learned families of late medieval Ireland. ...


Social issues

Travellers are said to frequently live without running water or electricity. Their itinerant lifestyle can sometimes result in apparent poor education, as the children cannot always get a consistent education because of moving around frequently. However, due to longstanding verbal and musical traditions associated with Traveller communities, there is widespread and advanced use of vocabulary and social skills.


Cultural suspicion and conflict

Irish Travellers are recognised in English law as an ethnic group [6]. The Republic of Ireland, however, does not recognise them as an ethnic group; rather, their legal status is that of a "social group" [7]. English law is a formal term of art that describes the law for the time being in force in England and Wales. ...


In Ireland and in Britain, Travellers are often referred to (offensively) as tinker or knacker. These terms refer to services that were traditionally provided by the Travellers: tinkering (or tinsmithing) being the mending of tin ware such as pots and pans, and knackering being the acquisition of dead or old horses for slaughter. Irish Travellers are sometimes referred to as Gypsies in Ireland and in Britain (the term, arguably offensive, more accurately refers to the Roma people, represented in Britain by the Romanichal and Kale). The derogatory terms pikey and gyppo (derived from Gypsy) are also heard in Great Britain whilst the term creamer is occasionally used in Ireland. Horse slaughter is the practice of slaughtering horses for meat (to be consumed by humans). ... Languages Romani, languages of native region Religions Christianity, Islam Related ethnic groups South Asians (Desi) The Roma (singular Rom; sometimes Rroma, Rrom) or Romanies are an ethnic group living in many communities all over the world. ... Romanichal is the name given to a variety of English Gypsies. ... Creamer was a kick ass band that giged in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2000-2002. ...


The Traveller lifestyle has often produced friction with local communities, especially in urban areas. Friction between Traveller and local community are typically attributed to allegations of increased crime following Traveller arrival in an area. The city of San Luis Obispo, an example of an urban area. ...


A recent report published in Ireland states that over half of travellers do not live past the age of 39 years.


Criminal activities

Travellers are often accused of being involved in robbery, cons, violence and other delinquent behaviour. An 11 October 2002 Dateline NBC episode suggested that American Travellers habitually defraud their neighbors, demanding high prices for substandard day labor [8]. A consequent investigation by South Carolina law enforcement resulted in a single conviction for fraud and a handful of truancy violations. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... For other uses, see Violence (disambiguation). ... is the 284th day of the year (285th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Dateline NBC, or Dateline, is a U.S. weekly television newsmagazine broadcast by NBC similar to ABCs 20/20 or CBSs 60 Minutes. ... In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain. ... Day labor is work done where the worker is hired and paid one day at a time, with no promise that more work will be available in the future. ...


The Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs issued a press release on March 14, 2007 entitled "Irish Travelers Perpetuate a Tradition of Fraud." [9]


Traveller advocates, including the Commission for Racial Equality in the UK, counter that Travellers are a distinct ethnic group with an ancient history, and claim that there is no statistical evidence that Traveller presence raises or lowers the local crime rate. The Commission for Racial Equality is a non-governmental organisation in the United Kingdom which tackles racial discrimination and promotes racial equality. ...


The struggle for equal rights for these transient people led to the passing of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 that for some time safeguarded their rights, lifestyle and culture in the UK. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, however, repealed part II of the 1968 act, removing the duty on local authorities in the UK to provide sites for Travellers and giving them the power to close down existing sites. The Caravan Sites Act 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (citation 1968 c. ... The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was an act of parliament brought into law by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ...


Disputes over land use

A complaint against Travellers in the United Kingdom is that of unauthorised Traveller sites being established on privately owned land or on council-owned land not designated for that purpose. Designated sites for Travellers' use are provided by the council, and funds are made available to local authorities for the construction of new sites, as well as the maintenance and extension of existing sites, under the Government's "Gypsy and Traveller Sites Grant". However, Travellers also frequently make use of other, non-authorised sites, including public "common land" and private plots including large fields. Travellers claim that there is an under-provision of authorised sites — the Gypsy Council estimates an under-provision amounts to insufficient sites for 3,500 people [10] — and that their use of non-authorised sites as an alternative is therefore unavoidable. Common land, or just common, is frequently used to describe a parcel of land, usually near the centre of towns and villages, which is thought to be owned in common by all the members of the community. ...


Planning issues in the UK

Recent criticism against Travellers in the UK centres on Travellers who have bought land, built amenities without planning permission, then fought eviction attempts by claiming it would be an abuse of human rights to remove them from their homes. The families applied for retrospective planning permission whilst they were living on their land. This received much media attention during the British 2005 General Election. Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 and won by the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair. ...


The use of retrospective planning permission arose after the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which Michael Howard brought through the Commons, started closing down many of the sites originally provided for the community. Howard advised that Travellers should buy their own land instead and assurances were made that they would be allowed to settle it, despite allegations that Travellers find it difficult to secure planning permission approval. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was an act of parliament brought into law by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. ...


Irish Travellers in popular culture

Irish Travellers have been portrayed on a number of occasions in popular culture.

  • The Riches is an ongoing FX television series starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver as Wayne and Dahlia Malloy; they, along with their family, are Irish Traveller con artists and thieves, part of a community that had lived in the Southern United States for several generations.
  • In Season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in Episode 18, “Up the Long Ladder”, which aired on May 22, 1989, the Enterprise encounters a society, the Bringloidis, (cf brionglóid: meaning dream in the Irish language), that was founded by humans who left Earth centuries earlier to found a colony. They appear to be descended from Irish Travellers, possessing their accented form of the English language and a culture that appears very similar.
  • Season 2, Episode 21 of the NBC television show Law & Order: Criminal Intent titled "Graansha" focuses around the murder of a probation officer whose family are Irish Travellers.
  • Into the West tells the story of two Traveller boys, in Ireland, running away from home.
  • The film Snatch features Brad Pitt as a stereotypical Traveller who is an undefeatable bareknuckle boxing champion. His clan also defrauds the protagonists of the film by selling them a caravan that falls apart the minute they try to tow it from the premises.
  • Traveller is another film, starring Bill Paxton, Mark Wahlberg, and Julianna Margulies.
  • The 2004 movie Man About Dog features a group of Irish Traveller characters.
  • The documentary, Southpaw: The Francis Barrett Story, won the Audience Prize at the 1999 New York Irish Film Festival. It followed Galway boxer Francis (Francie) Barrett for three years and showed Francie overcoming discrimination as he progressed up the amateur boxing ranks to eventually carry the Irish flag and box for Ireland at the age of 19 during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Francie turned professional in August 2000 and now fights at light welterweight, out of Wembley, London [11].
  • A documentary-style drama release in 2005, Pavee Lackeen (Traveller Girl), depicted the life of a young Traveller girl, and featured non-actors in the lead roles. Its director and co-writer, Perry Ogden, won an IFTA Award in the category of Breakthrough Talent.
  • During 2004's "Live at Vicar Street" recorded by newly reformed Irish folk act Planxty, Christy Moore mentions hearing Traveller John Reilly sing for the first time and calls it a "Life Changing" experience, going on to dedicate the song "As I Roved Out" to the memory of John Reilly.

And of course Blackie Connors was a character in the long running RTE "Soap Opera", Glenroe. The Riches (also spelled The Rı¢hes in promotional material) is an Emmy Award-nominated FX television series starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver. ... Edward John Eddie Izzard (born February 7, 1962) is an English[1] stand-up comedian and actor, known for his cross-dressing. ... Minnie Driver (born Amelia Fiona J. Driver on 31 January 1971) is an Academy award nominated English actress and singer-songwriter, born in London to Ronnie Driver and his wife Gaynor. ... This article is 88 kilobytes or more in size. ... The title as it appeared in most episodes opening credits. ... Up the Long Ladder is an episode from the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. ... is the 142nd day of the year (143rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Enterprise or USS Enterprise are the names of several fictional starships, some of which are the focal point for various television series and films in the Star Trek franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. ... This article is about the modern Goidelic language. ... The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... Law & Order: Criminal Intent is a United States crime drama television series that began in 2001. ... Into the West is a 1992 film about Irish Travellers, directed by Mike Newell and written by Jim Sheridan. ... Snatch. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt(born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. ... Traveller is an American film released in 1997, starring Bill Paxton, Mark Wahlberg, and Julianna Margulies. ... William Paxton (born May 17, 1955) is a Golden Globe-nominated American actor and film director. ... For the actor and television game show host, see Mark L. Walberg. ... Julianna Margulies on the cover of Marie Claire Julianna Luisa Margulies is an actress whose role on the NBC drama ER brought her recognition and fame. ... Man About Dog is a 2004 comedy film starring Allan Leech, Ciaran Nolan and Tom Murphy. ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Statistics Province: Connacht County: Dáil Éireann: Galway West European Parliament: North-West Dialling Code: 091 Postal District(s): G Area: 50. ... Francis Francie Barrett (born February 7, 1977 in Galway, Ireland) is a professional boxer who hails from Galway. ... For other senses of these words, see boxing (disambiguation) or boxer (disambiguation). ... The 1996 Summer Olympics, formally known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and informally known as the Centennial Olympics, were held in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. ... This article is about the state capital of Georgia. ... Boxing weight class names are not always consistent, as shown in the following table: Weight classes for boxing at the 2004 Summer Olympics: See also Boxing Reigning boxing champions Categories: | ... Wembley, until 1965 a borough in its own right, forms the northern part of the London Borough of Brent. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Pavee Lacken: The Traveller Girl is a documentary-style film released in 2005 that depicts the life of a young Irish Traveller girl (Winnie) and her family. ... Planxty was an Irish folk music band formed in the 1970s by Christy Moore, Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine (a founder of the Irish mid-sixties group Sweeneys Men), and Liam OFlynn (piper). ... Christopher Andrew Christy Moore (born on May 7, 1945, in Newbridge, County Kildare) is a very popular Irish folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. ...


See also

Pavee Point is an organisation supporting human rights for Irish Travellers, through working for solidarity, social justice, development, and human rights; it works in solidarity with other Roma and Gypsy groups, and has a particular interest in working against racism and for women. ... Kazakh nomads in the steppes of the Russian Empire, ca. ... Languages Romani, languages of native region Religions Christianity, Islam Related ethnic groups South Asians (Desi) The Romani people (as a noun, singular Rom, plural Roma; sometimes Rrom, Rroma) or Romanies are an ethnic group living in many communities all over the world. ... The Yeniche, or Jenische, are the third-largest population of nomadic people (or Travelers) in Europe, living mostly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and parts of France. ... Highland Travellers have been part of Scottish society for at least 500 years. ...

References

  1. ^ Traveller Health: A National Strategy 2002-2005
  2. ^ «Tinker is not a derogatory word when used in the right sense. it originally comes from the old Irish name of tincéirí or tinsmiths which was honorably practised by the travelling people in years gone by.» (in Boards: What culture does this degrade?)
  3. ^ Sharon Gmelch, "Nan: The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman," page 234.
  4. ^ Sharon Gmelch, op. cit., page 14.
  5. ^ Sharon Gmlech, op. cit., pages 235-236.
  6. ^ Commission for Racial Equality: Gypsies and Irish Travellers: The facts
  7. ^ Irish Travellers Movement: Traveller Legal Resource Pack 2 - Traveller Culture
  8. ^ Inside the world of Irish Travelers: Mother caught beating her child on a parking lot surveillance camera is member of mysterious group
  9. ^ Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs: Irish Travelers Perpetuate a Tradition of Fraud
  10. ^ BBC News: Councils 'must find Gypsy sites'
  11. ^ Imdb: Southpaw: The Francis Barrett Story

Resources

  • Nan: The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman (ISBN 0-88133-602-5), by Sharon Gmelch, 1991.
  • The Irish Tinkers: The Urbanization of an Itinerant People (ISBN 0-88133-158-9), by George Gmelch, 1997, 2nd ed. 1985.
  • The Road to God Knows Where (ISBN 1-85390-314-0), by Sean Maher, Talbot Press, Dublin 1972, republished by Veritas 1998.
  • Becoming Conspicuous: Irish Travellers, Society and the State 1922-70 (ISBN 1-904558-61-5), by Aoife Bhreatnach, University College Dublin Press 2006

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Irish Travellers (689 words)
Irish Travellers are distinguished from the settled communities of the countries in which they live by their own language and customs.
Traveller advocacy groups insist that Travellers are a distinct ethnic group with a history of many centuries and that negative treatment of Travellers thus amounts to racism.
Traveller advocates counter that Travellers are a distinct ethnic group with an ancient history, and there is no statistical evidence that Traveller presence raises the local crime rate (e.g., Basildon in Essex, which has the largest Traveller population in the UK, has average crime rates for its population size, although this evidence is hardly conclusive).
Irish Traveller - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1241 words)
Irish Travellers are distinguished from the settled communities of the countries in which they live by their own language and customs.
Traveller advocates counter that Travellers are a distinct ethnic group with an ancient history, and there is no statistical evidence that Traveller presence raises the local crime rate (e.g., Basildon in Essex, which has the largest Traveller population in the UK, has average crime rates for its population size, although this evidence is hardly conclusive).
A travelling tinker family is depicted in the movie The Field and the daughter is frowned upon as a potential bride.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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