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National Museum to Explore Histories and Heritage of Traveller Culture

As part of the ongoing Travellers’ Journey exhibition, the National Museum of Ireland in Turlough Park, Co Mayo will host a number of talks and events exploring Traveller life and traditions in the west of Ireland.

On Saturday, February 23, I am Traveller brings together a number of panelists who will share their lived experiences and knowledge of Traveller culture.  These include Hugh Friel, a tireless campaigner against racism and 2015 winner of the Traveller Pride award; Michael McDonagh a well-regarded expert on Traveller History and Culture; Mary Collins a Family Support Liaison Officer with Mayo Traveller Support Group and Oein DeBhairduin an ardent folklorist and Gammon speaker.

Advocates in their communities, they will discuss Traveller-led initiatives that promote and record Traveller culture, heritage and inclusion. The event aims to counteract negative media surrounding travellers.

In recognition of the exhibition and its associated events, Director of the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), Lynn Scarff said in a statement: “A key value of the NMI is diversity and accessibility and through exhibitions like the Travellers’ Journey, and its associated programming, we seek to emphasise and explore the richness of Irish life across cultures and ethnicities.”

“The I am Traveller panel discussion will provide a platform within the National Museum of Ireland to explore the traditions and heritage amongst the Traveller community and add greatly to creating a new permanent exhibition in the Museum.”

Curator for the NMI Rosa Meehan said: “The I am Traveller panel discussion offers a space for Travellers and non-Travellers alike to explore Traveller culture with leading experts from around Ireland. We hope this event will also bring increased visibility to aspects of Traveller culture and make them better known as part of the wider cultural heritage of Ireland.”

Other related events at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life are listed below. They are limited booking, only available through contacting educationtph@museum.ie or 094 9031751. For further information, visit here.

Feb 21 (Thurs) – Magical Moving Images – Artist Brid Murphy will lead this workshop in video
mapping and interactive video projection, teaching how the moving image can be a powerful tool to activate conversations on how to challenge prejudice and give a voice to the marginalised.
March 9 (Sat) – Conversations with Louise Wallace and Ian McDonagh – looking at life as a young traveller person in Ireland and how art projects developed from collaborations between artist and traveller.
March 23 (Sat) – Fold Cures and Irish Traveller Herb Lore – a talk on the importance of folk medicine and protecting disappearing traditions.
April 12 (Fri) – Launch of Travellers’ Journey Children’s book – a partnership project with Kids’ Own Publishing Ltd, and Scoil Iosa in Ballina.

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