Thursday, August 07, 2008

96 Pigeon House Road

The photographer Don McNeill Healy spent over a year documenting a traveller family in Dublin, Ireland. Travellers are a social/ethnic group of itinerant people of Irish origin living in Ireland, U.K and U.S.A. Travellers may refer to themselves as "Pavees". In the Irish language they are called an Lucht siúil (literally "the people of walking").

At one point I lived in a large Irish town where at least 10% of the population consisted of the traveller community.I have always been fascinated by many aspects of their culture such as the strong bonds that exist between family members with an emphasis on loyalty. Travellers tend to have their own language and customs. Religion also plays an important role in the lives of some families and occasions such as christenings,weddings and deaths are pointedly celebrated/marked.Issues such as alcoholism,lack of support and discrimination from settled people are common.

The historical origins of Travellers as a group has been a subject of dispute. One theory is that Irish Travellers are descended from a nomadic people called the Tarish. It was once widely believed that travellers were descended from landowners who were made homeless by Oliver Cromwell circa 1650 or by the Irish Potato Famine. However the facts may be difficult if not impossible to clarify as throughout their history the Travellers have left no written records of their own.

McNeill Healy is a graduate ofSpacerIADT Dún Laoghaire and doesn't hesitate to show a side of society that a lot of people shy away from. He is extremely passionate about the subjects that he captures on camera. He said of the Pigeon House photos "This project is about the humanity that exists amongst Rosie Maughan, her family and the traveling community in general. I have spent over a year and half photographing the lives of the Maughan family living on Pigeon House Road. My aim was to develop a close intimate relationship in order to capture the loving, caring nature of the family as well as the chaos that exists in their lives. This family live in difficult circumstances, however my intention was to create a new vision, a new way of seeing the obvious chaos, that is the humanity in Rosie and her family. In everyone and everything, there exists a new vision."

Email: donhealy AT

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