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audio | Twin Vision Moving Voices, Memories

info@twinvisionphoto.co.uk | tel: 01513242304

Moving Voices, Memories

Audio Interview

The spoken word is intrinsic to Irish Traveller culture, their own oral language called Gammon, Cant or Shelta, has been passed down through the generations and is still used today within the community.  It was, therefore, essential to record oral histories from the community, and the young participants learnt about interview techniques, using open questioning, listening and how to record so that they could interview each other and their elders.  This resulted in the capturing of fascinating stories, intriguing conversations and and ultimately a deeper insight into Irish Traveller culture.  View Memories film

To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts please get in touch and we will send you a downloadable pdf. And why not share your thoughts, memories and stories.

Appleby Horse Fair has taken place in the small town of Appleby, Cumbria since 1685 when King James II granted a royal charter to welcome Travellers to the town to trade. The fair is an opportunity for over 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers to meet on an annual basis to trade horses, buy and sell all kinds of items and for young people to get together and possibly meet their potential partner.  Other fairs include Stow Horse Fair, which takes place twice a year in the Cotswolds, attracting serious horse traders as well as sightseers from across the country.

Lots of work has been created relating to Appleby Horse Fair, from films (History of Appleby, Horses of Appleby, Visitors to Appleby, Craftsmen of Appleby)  to animation and is worth a look as an insight into this traditional fair, or better still it’s worth a visit!

To obtain a copy of the audio transcript please get in touch and we will send you a downloadable pdf.

Moving Voices, Faith and Ceremonies

Faith is important to many Irish Travellers, who are predominately Roman Catholic, although a small percentage are Born Again Christians. Therefore, religious ceremonies, such as the First Holy Communion is a very important rites of passage for the children and families.

Weddings are extremely important to Irish Traveller women, as girls look forward to their wedding day and beautiful dress. Irish Travellers often marry young, aged 16 -21 years old, and frequently meet their prospective partner through social gatherings, fairs or whilst travelling.

Often multi tier wedding cakes made for Irish Traveller weddings don’t have cake in them, but have polystyrene inside them to make them lighter, otherwise they would topple over. Some families have the tradition of a tier to represent each sibling or child they intend to have, others just like their cake to be as grandiose as possible as part of the celebration.  Click here to learn more about Irish Traveller Memories.


To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts please get in touch and we will send you a downloadable pdf. Or get in touch with your thoughts, memories and stories

Moving Voices – Moving Musical Traditions into the future

The talented Doyle family are absolutely amazing, father, Simon has kept Irish Traveller musical traditions alive for future generations through his talented children playing the uileann pipes, fiddle and banjo.  The  family tour all over the UK and have produced a cd of their music and when asked what motivates them, mother Margaret said ‘ Irish Traveller Music is very important to me …. I want to keep the Travellers tradition of music going’

To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts, or share your memories, thoughts and stories please get in touch and we will send you a copy.

Moving Voices – Musical Traditions

Our housed Irish Traveller families are very proud of their musical heritage and the children wanted to share their great grand daddy, Felix Doran’s musical talent through a stop motion animation.  The children have grown up hearing about Felix, and listening to his and his brother Mikey’s amazing tunes and so they worked together to imagine his travels throughout Ireland in his bow top caravan, before settling in Manchester, England.  The children storyboarded their ideas, learnt how to make plasticine models and filmed the animation before adding their voices and their grandaddy’s wonderful Uileann pipe playing.  To view the animation click here.

To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts, share your thoughts, memories and stories please get in touch and we will send you a copy.

Moving Voices – The Family Unit

The family unit is incredibly important within Irish Traveller culture. Traveller women play an important role in their immediate family and the wider Traveller community. They have the responsibility for the home, family and children. On behalf of their families they often take on leadership roles, acting as spokespeople for their communities.

Children of ethnic minority communities and indigenous peoples have the right to enjoy their own culture, to practice their own religion and to use their own language – (article 30, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child).

Young Travellers make up the majority of the population. 80% of Travellers are under the age of 25 and over 50% are under 15, 40% are under ten years of age. The majority of Traveller children live in conditions below the minimum requirement for healthy child development and the infant mortality rates are three times greater than the national average.

Click here to learn more about Irish Traveller Memories


To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts please get in touch and we will send you a copy, or why not share your own stories and memories with us?

Moving Voices – Discrimination faced by Irish Travellers

‘We are all human if you cut us we all bleed the same’ , Simon Doyle, musician and Moving Voices participant.

Perhaps because so little is known about the Irish Traveller community, many members are subjected to racism on a systematic basis due to institutionalized racism and racial prejudice. As a cultural group, Irish Travellers have a long shared history and values system, making them a distinct ethnic group. They have been recorded as separate within Irish society for thousands of years, all of which leads to restricted opportunities within a wider society, where rules and laws are increasingly jarring with the traditions within the Traveller community. The mechanisation of agriculture in post-war Britain and the introduction of plastic rendered much of the work traditionally undertaken by Travellers, as obsolete. Many Travellers were forced to migrate to towns and cities where they faced economic and social marginalization from the settled community.  As with Aboriginal and Native American communities, when the culture is challenged and removed through laws, and impacts are felt from a more powerful other, this has a detrimental effect upon the community.  Tragically family member Johnny Delaney was killed in a racist attack, to learn more click here.

To obtain a copy of the audio transcript or share your own memories, thoughts and stories please get in touch

Moving Voices – A Brief History

Irish Travellers are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Britain with figures varying from 300,000 to 500,000. It is estimated that one quarter are living continuously on unauthorised encampments as there are no other places for them to reside. There is very little record of Irish Traveller Heritage as there is very little statistical information available. Moving Voices, Irish Travellers aims to redress this imbalance by giving a unique insight into Irish Traveller Heritage on Merseyside.

Irish Travellers have a long history in Ireland. There are nomadic peoples mentioned within pre-Christian oral stories such as Táin Bó Cuailnge. Some Irish Travellers call themselves Minciers, or Pavees, and the Cairds or Nawkins are said to be descended from the Ancient Picts, the earliest known inhabitants of Ireland.  The Irish Traveller community have their own oral language called ‘Gammon’ Cant or Shelta, and this has been passed down through the generations and is still used today within the community.

The Irish Traveller community has links with Liverpool stretching back to the beginnings of Liverpool’s 800 year history. Liverpool City Council set up the present Irish Traveller site in 1974. There were 21 pitches created in Tara Park, Liverpool. Some of the same families who resided there in its infancy are still resident there today and many of the Irish Travellers who came and moved on to different locations around the country in the intervening years, have come to reside again in Tara Park

To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts, or to share your memories, thoughts and personal stories please get in touch.

Moving Voices – An Introduction

Twin Vision in collaboration with Merseyside’s Irish Traveller community have created a resource, which celebrates and archives the traditions, heritage and culture of Irish Travellers. Moving Voices is the first resource of its kind, providing an insight into the lives of generations of Irish Travellers who have chosen Liverpool as their home. The project celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Irish Traveller community encompassing traditions of living through a unique archive of films, animations, oral histories and photographs passing on the knowledge as a rite of passage for the next generation to continue their cultural heritage.

The Irish Traveller sites in Liverpool have changed over time, and, as occurred in many places after the Caravan Site Act was rescinded in 1994 members of the community were encouraged to move into bricks and mortar accommodation. The Moving Voices project reflects the heritage not only of the residents residing in Tara Park but also that of Irish Travellers living in tiled accommodation throughout Merseyside.

Twin Vision would like to thank all contributors who embraced this worthwhile project and shared their heritage through personal stories and photographs, that have so carefully been passed down from generation to generation and might otherwise have been lost – Delaney, Doran, Doyle, McCann, O’Driscoll, O’Hare, Purcell, Sheridan, Toohey and Ward Families.

Twin Vision would like to thank our funders Heritage Lottery Fund and Liverpool City Council, and our partners Irish Community Care Merseyside and National Museums Liverpool.

To obtain a copy of the audio transcripts or share your memories, thoughts and stories, please get in touch.