Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wecome Visitors

You never know what lies around the corner nor who will call at your door, not even what sight you may see on the road.

I am not related to these gentlemen, both though, know me as a friend. The white haired man is a tinsmith / craftsman and you can see one of his copper buckets towards the rear of the cart.

The other gentleman, his cousin, is a builder of carts and a wheelwright, together they keep the old ways secure and alive even though times are a changing.

They live the life and walk the talk.

When I first got to know them they lived and still live in traditional wagons, known as Barrel Tops, on a grass verge of a country road, colloquially known as 'the long acre' a place of free grazing & camping. They were there for years and always kept the site tidy.

On the opposite side of the road to them plots of land were sold and large, detached, salubrious bungalows were gradually built until there became a small colony of wealthy persons, some of who adopted an air of snobbishness and made complaints to the authorities about the Travellers.

I believe that I am right in saying that it is EU policy to 'encourage' the removal of the traditional families from the roadside, by either encouraging them to live in council houses or to move to large permanent camps provided by municipal authorities.

The authoritative wheels turned and official was action was taken against my friends. They moved however not into a municipal camp or even into local authority housing but merely 80 metres up the road on the same side, into a two storey detached house. On its extensive grounds they parked their barrel tops.

The house had been left to them in a will some years ago by a generous friend who had died.

I would just loved to have been a fly on the wall, to have seen & heard what the snotty neighbours had to say.

Long Live the Travelling People !

For information on the Irish Travellers visit


  1. Wonderful! bloody wonderful! :-) and what gorgeous pictures of the two men :-)

  2. Thank you:Your blog is very great and I like to gain in knowledge.
    Travelling people are also a problem in France and the French governement refuse to see.
    Great photos !

  3. I also love the fuzzy and sturdy pony hitched to the cart!
    It is sad that the old ways are being shoved to the side to make way for the "better" new ways.
    It also sounds like the story of the wealthy man who built his vast home beside the train tracks - and complained about the noise...

  4. I am glad to have discovered your blog. I can see i willfind lots to interest me in it.

  5. True travelling people, such as these, should be left alone. It's the modern caravan dwellers on the municipal sites who should be moved on. I had some friends come all the way down to my home in S W France in an Irish wagon; but I'm sure they called it 'An Open Lot'. Is that the same thing?

  6. Travelling people are given a bad name here in Canada and we are taught/encouraged not trust them but they are left unbothered by our government.
    Warm regards,

  7. What a beautiful pair of men! Nomads all over the world inspire fear, maybe because of their lack of dependance on community and the 'social contract'.
    I like your blog a lot. sarah

  8. My thanks to you for your comments and for taking the time to write, I respect what each of you have said.

    I think that society in any country is enriched by people's differences, for it would be rather boring if sameness were the norm. Fear & suspicion of the stranger and their ways, are to my mind the biggest negative forces that prevail in the world today. Tolerance; it seems has to be enforced by Law and that I do feel is very sad.

  9. Sorry, I worded that wrong, I meant their 'perceived' lack of dependence on community etc. Pedantic perhaps, but important!

    I agree with your last comment muchly ... Robyn Davidson wrote a lovely essay 'On Nomads', about their lack of attachment to real estate and what this means in today's society. It harks back to Chatwin's 'Songlines' and the story of Cain and Abel. Perhaps you could find it online. It's a beauty.

  10. Sarah I understood what you said in your first mail :)

    Some Irish Travellers are very wealthy, they use Helicopters quite frequently and have large detatached houses which are lavishly furnished. Difference is that they then very often live in caravans, at the rear of the house - it's a cock a snoot to the settled community & always makes me smile!

  11. Ahhhh wonderful pictures and story! You want to just keep looking while your mind wanders and wonders what those days must have been like, when there were so many more travellers with amazing tales and colorful, boisterous camps to tease the passerbys!(long lazy sighhhh )

  12. Love how events unfolded. It continues to amaze me how people are afraid of what is different, no matter how harmless.


  13. What a lovely story! I'm glad the two of them have been able to continue their lives in much the same place and way. The cart is beautiful, craftsmen like these two men should be treasured.


Your comments are a welcome addition to the activity of this blog however,the use of swear words is not permitted.