For a mobile seminar, I signed up to go to Pavee Point. Pavee point is a traveller and roma center that was founded in 1985 as the Dublin travellers and education development group at a time of significant struggle for the traveller population. Before I went to Pavee Point, I had my pre-conceived judgments about the gypsy population. I thought that they were the people on the streets begging for spare change, and I thought that their kids were the ones that roam around outside of Blackhall Place, throwing rocks and eggs at anyone that walks by, but I was wrong. Not all travellers are like the ones that I had originally imagined them to be.
There is a show that airs in America on TLC, called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” which depicts travellers from England and what they do before their extremely elaborate weddings. Irish travellers, also known as tinkers or gypsies, are a traditionally travelling people of the Irish ethnic background, who maintain a set of traditions and a distinct ethnic identity.
At Pavee Point I learned the hardships that travellers face due to extreme racism in Ireland. If a traveller moves in to one’s neighborhood in Ireland, the houses worth goes down substantially. If anything goes wrong in the neighborhood, the first people to get the finger pointed at them are the travellers. Pavee Point works to develop an understanding and response to a wide range of issues facing Travellers and Roma through a series of programs. The work of these programs includes direct work with Travellers and Roma and organizations representing them.
My mobile seminar to Pavee Point has definitely changed my view towards gypsies and travellers, and I hope that in the future, the travellers and the non-travellers can find a way to get along.