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Irish Travellers

Travellers are different

Irish Travellers not popular

Irish Travellers are not popular in Ireland.

The general reasonable concensus is that "a few of them make it bad for the rest." But, below that, there's no great admiration for the people in general.

Travellers have a few tendencies that make them inconvenient, at best, for the general population. One is that they're nomadic,* and so have completely different ideas about property. Another is that the scrap-dealing and salvage/recycling businesses that some Travellers practice does, in some cases, result in terrible littering on public land. Publicans, too — according to legend — sometimes have trouble with a group of Travellers who take over the pub. Some Travellers practice shoplifting and other petty theft with an impressive boldness.

So there's no shortage of incompatible activities for which the settled Irish can begrudge the Travellers. But, majority as it is, the settled-Irish concept of the Travellers is still only a perspective.

Travellers have been around for a very long time, and probably a lot longer than the average "settled" Irish person would like to think.

There are folklore strands that suggest Traveller culture originated in the Potato Famine of the mid-1800's. Though there is no proof that none of the modern Travellers became itinerant during the Famine, that is not their origin. Travellers have been in Ireland for hundreds of years, possibly thousands. There's no apparent concensus about their origin, and no written history.

Little is known of the culture by people outside of the families themselves. Curiosity amongst the "settled" Irish is nearly as limited as the knowledge.

Travellers are a distinct underclass in Ireland, at a great disadvantage that is becoming more stark as the island modernizes.


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* Though they are similar in their tradition of nomadism, the Irish Travelles are not related to the Gypsies.

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