The Traveller Community in Galway
Travellers are an indigenous ethnic minority with a diverse and dynamic culture with a nomadic tradition. Traveller nomadism, the importance of the extended family, the Traveller language, oral traditions through storytelling and song, music and the organisation of the Traveller economy all provide visible and tangible markers of the distinct culture and unique identity of the Traveller community. With their distinct way of life and traditions, members of the Traveller community have contributed to Galway for centuries, bringing a rich cultural diversity that adds to the wellbeing of Irish society.
A Poem by Bridget Mongan
He would sit outside holding the weight of his body on one knee, The tools of his trade surrounding him as he worked tirelessly.
His hands were calloused he worked at his own pace, years of working in all types of weather showed upon his face
He took great care while working with his hammer, klipse and stake whether it be a bucket, coal scuttle or saucepan .never taking a break.
When his work was done he would load his ware upon his bike and travel many a mile or more to sell his ware. He would knock on many a door.
People knew him all over and his work was in demand. Many a time he would be greeted- “How ya Mick” and a shake of a hand.
He worked hard for his family the best friend we ever had. We are all so proud to have known him, the man we call – Dad
According to Census 2016, Galway is the county with the highest population of Travellers in the country, enumerated as 2,647. This is an increase of 6.7% since census 2011 (over twice the rate of increase for the whole county).
Galway city has the second highest population of Travellers (across all cities) with a Traveller population of 1,598 individuals.
Tuam is the town with the highest number of Travellers in the country, with a population of 737 people. Ballinasloe’s Traveller population numbers 513. Between Galway city and Galway county, the population of Travellers is 4,245 individuals, representing 1.6% of the population.