15th July 2023
As Traveller Pride Week celebrations continue across the country, I had the privilege on Tuesday to attend and formally open Kilkenny Traveller Pride in the sunny surrounds of the Butler Gallery.
The event was a wonderful showcase of Traveller history, cuture, traditions, music and craft, featuring an amazing display of tinsmithing, poetry, singing, art, film and other unique cultural offerings from song to spoken word, all celebrating the fullness and richness of Traveller heritage.
Visitors to Kilkenny Traveller Pride were also treated to a wonderful display of contemporary design, with the option to screen print a souvenir of the day using motifs that represent elements of Traveller Culture, from long hair to beady pockets, designed and produced by the talented Pattern Makers workshop participants in Urlingford, in conjunction with Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement and Urlingford Library.
For the first time at Kilkenny Traveller Pride, awards were also handed out under eight categories both to those within the community as well as those who’ve aided local Traveller families.
While there were events and activities scheduled throughout the day, it was unfortunately a whistle-stop visit for me, as I had to be in Dublin for the start of the week's Dáil business, but I was delighted I could make it to an event that is always a highlight for me, and I'm grateful to Helena Power and the Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement for the invitation. In my opening speech I spoke about our rich Traveller heritage and culture, and how important it is that we continue to celebrate and prioritise the celebration of its contribution to our Nation's heritage. I acknowledged too that we still have much to do as policymakers to address issues of inclusion, discrimination and health, poverty, employment and education outcomes for the Traveller community.
For a flavour of this wonderful event I would encourage you to listen back to KCLR reporter Edwina Grace's coverage of the day.