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Getting to know the Irish Travellers

Spending time in the Irish Travellers community was an interesting and very unique experience. My project gives insight into the everyday life and values of Ireland’s largest marginalized group.

They are a beautiful group of people, living traditional gender roles with great importance placed on family, lifelong bonds and observance of God.

For many, life seemed to be a daily struggle for survival. For others, their lifestyle has become a little more “settled” living in encampments (also called halting sites) set up by the government.

All were open and welcoming to us because of the relationships that Joseph-Philippe Bevillard has developed with them for his own personal project.

Much of my own personal work is based on individuals who are survivors, fighting against life circumstances. Because of this I found myself taken by the role of the young girls in the Irish Traveller community.

They are sexualized at young ages and marry in their mid-teens, with the intention of having many babies. Most of them came from families averaging 8-12 children. The incidence of domestic violence is said to be about 81% and suicide is epidemic.

In my perfect world I would like to see the young girls and boys value education more, marry later in life and have smaller families. This would help end the cycle of poverty and domestic violence but I must be respectful of the lives they choose to live.

When I am experiencing different cultures I truly believe one must rise above national interest and self interest to recognize humanity for what it really is: human beings who in their essence, are all the same.

All over the globe we all want and need to be loved, have love of family, and love our traditions.

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© 2020 by Michele Zousmer Photography