SPCS Students Celebrate Travellers Ethnicity Day

Students from SPCS Year 2 Community Art program joined forces with the Carlow Traveller Forum to mark Traveller Ethnicity Day,  which is celebrated on March 1st each year. The event, backed by Carlow College and St Catherines Community Service Centre, served as a platform for fostering understanding and celebrating the unique heritage of the Traveller community. Under the guidance of Clifton Redmond, Take A Part Carlow Community Writer in Residence, and in collaboration with members of the Carlow Traveller Forum, who are actively involved in the Crush On & Start Singing art project funded by Creative Ireland, the students embarked on a poetic journey exploring themes of citizenship, place, and belonging. This collaborative initiative not only showcased the richness of Traveller culture but also underscored the importance of inclusivity and cultural appreciation within the community.

During the event, Michelle Berry, Wellbeing and Traveller Community Health worker at St Catherines Community Service Centre delivered the following speech

‘The 1st March 2017 was an historic and momentous day for the Irish Traveller community and for equality in Ireland

Traveller organisations had lobbied for many years to have our ethnicity fully recognized by the Irish state. The distinctive Traveller identity and culture is based on a long shared history, traditions, language, customs, and nomadic tradition. However, ethic status did not afford our community additional rights.

As Pavee Point notes ‘ Rights gaps in the fields of accommodation, education, employment, health, and other areas of Traveller life, have not disappeared overnight and remain to be addressed’.

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.’

Below is a poem co-written by Traveller Womens Awareness Worker, Mary-Jayne Berry, and Crush On Art Project participant, Nicole Moore, who worked with Clifton Redmond to write ‘Settle School‘.

School for settled

In school for settled

i was exited to start

but as quick as I got here it all fell apart


see I am a traveller child

an ethnic minority,

and treated unjust like my family before me


I was quick to realise I wasn’t like the others

Called names, left out, and treated like my mother


Sent to the back of the class with a colouring copy

While the rest learn religion, science, and geography.


I am pulled out of my classroom and made to feel different

Somedays I wish I wasn’t sent into it


Excluded from irish

My own native tongue

Even if I tried, theyd still say I was wrong


Ranting and raving and misbehaving

All for the attention I have been craving


No awareness, no faireness no inclusivity

Im only a child, why cant you see me?


I seem to be, always the blame

I really think, its because of my name!


Reduced timetables,

No partys, no friends,

Dividing us is discrimination

Will it ever end?


Bullied, bruised and pushed out of society

All because of my ethnic minority


But as I grow older with this weight on my shoulder

You, can bet your boots, I could

lift up a boulder


with memories and visions of school for the settled

I can only hope my life will get better


Nicole & Jayne




Speaking on the event co-organiser and SPCS student Anna Mc Wey said ‘The Irish Travelling community has made so many invaluable contributions from traditional Irish music to stories. They have more than earned the right to be acknowledged in Irish society and in the education system in particular. ‘Though they have been recognised as an ethnic minority since 2017, there should be more action promote and support the integration and celebration of their culture throughout the year, like the event today.’

Share this Post


Share this Post

Skip to content