Pavee Point

7 Apr

            Pavee Point Travellers and Roma Center was founded in 1985 as a place to educate people on the culture and struggles of the Traveller and Roma communities located in Dublin, Ireland. At the time that it was founded the Travellers were going through a significant struggle among their population. Many of the specific areas that the center works in are drug and alcohol addiction, youth work, education, information, violence against women, and health. However, the volunteers of this community are not only members of the Traveller and Roma population in Ireland, but also members of the majority population. These three groups work together to realize human rights for the two minority groups.

            The history and origins of the Irish Travellers is popular among academic discussion and debate, as they did not leave any written records about the population. The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and the University of Ediburgh conducted a DNA study of 40 Travellers in 2011. This study revealed that they are a distinct Irish minority group that separated from the settled Irish community around 1000 years ago. This minority group is as distinct from the settled Irish community as Icelanders are from Norwegians. However, not all Traveller families originate from the same point in time. While some have carried the customs of these people starting centuries ago, many have only recently taken it up.

            There are many different theories about what separated the minority group from the settled. Some believe they were made homeless in the 1650s when Oliver Cromwell’s military campaigned in Ireland, while others believe that they were made homeless during the famine due to eviction in the 1840s. Others believe that during the late Middle Ages they were descendents of the Clan Murtagh O’Connors, aristocratic nomads. Their nomadic nature is based on cattle-herds. The genetic evidence shows that the Irish Travellers have been a distinct group for a millennium.




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