On November 22nd, I attended the Pavee Point Mobile Seminar in hopes to truly learn about the Irish Travellers. All I had known about them beforehand was from the show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which doesn’t expose them in the best light: over the top weddings, exploitation of young girls, and a lot of fighting. Regardless, I knew that there had to be more to the travelling communities than what I saw from the TV show.
During the presentation at Pavee Point, we had the opportunity to listen to one non-traveller and two Travellers from Dublin speak about the life, history, hardships, and the movement of the Travellers. It was incredibly eye opening to catch a glimpse of their daily lives. However, what really stood out to me was the discrimination that Travellers face. I found the fact that 55% of Travellers only reached primary school education and 63% of Traveller children under the age of 15 had left school astonishing. Although there are other factors, there is a definite lack of visibility of Traveller culture within school systems in Ireland. It is very common for the children to feel isolated because of the culture that they were born into. In America, there was obvious discrimination that African Americans unfortunately had to endure. Even though it is a continuous process to overcome and resolve the discrimination, I think America as a whole is doing better than ever. There has been and still are problems with discrimination throughout all of history and in many places in the world, but in this day in age we should be working more and more towards equality. That’s why I appreciate what Pavee Point and their staff and have the utmost respect for what they’re doing.
I never would have gotten the opportunity to learn what groups of Travellers have to go through if I had not attended this mobile seminar. Hearing what a Traveller mom and a young Traveller boy had to say provided us with an accurate portrayal of their lives and struggles. Living in the city centre, I don’t get much interaction with Irish Travellers but I’m glad I got to go to Pavee Point.