University of Galway to celebrate Traveller Ethnicity Day

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University of Galway will Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day with a series of events taking place across campus from Monday to Thursday next week.

Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day marks the anniversary of Irish Travellers gaining ethnic status, while celebrating the community’s culture and heritage including music, craft traditions and language.

This year, the annual celebration at the University will be launched by comedian and writer, and former University of Galway Access student, Martin Beanz Warde on Monday, February 27.

Highlights from the programme of events include:

  • Traveller Living Exhibition – Monday, February 27 from 10am – 2.30pm outside Áras na Mac Léinn. The exhibition, which is open to the public, showcases the rich cultural heritage of Irish Travellers, as a recreation of Traveller life in the 1950s. It includes a fully restored barrel-top wagon, a traditional tent, a flat cart, a working tinsmith, a storyteller, and a campfire. Irish traditional music and Sean-nós dancing will also feature.
  • In Memory of Johnny Doherty A master fiddler and tinsmith from an Irish Traveller family in Donegal. Contributors include Senator Eileen Flynn, Professor Alun Evans, Queen’s University Belfast, and An tOllamh Breandán Mac Suibhne, University of Galway. Monday, February 27 from 4pm, Hardiman Building.
  • Public Workshops Disability Awareness and Mental Health Awareness in conjunction with Galway Traveller Movement. The Disability Awareness workshop will take place on Tuesday February 28 at 11am and the Mental Health Awareness will run on Thursday March 2 at 11am. Both workshops will take place in the Hardiman Building.
  • Access Centre Information Session highlighting pathways into university and the multiple supports available to potential students will take place on Wednesday March 1 at 11am in the Hardiman Building.
  • Special Screenings The documentary series Misneach – Tome Insuirt Grani – Neart San Eolas, which first aired on TG4 in early January, will feature at a special screening in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society Building, North Campus, on Wednesday March 1 from 3-5pm. This documentary followed four University of Galway students for a full academic year and explored the barriers to participation in education faced by Irish Traveller students. There will be a panel discussion afterwards with participating students.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of University of Galway, said each year this event marks the university’s commitment to openness, diversity, and inclusion as they build and strengthen connections with the wider community.

“We welcome and encourage all students, including Irish Traveller students, to seize the opportunities that education offers.

“This University is open to all and works to ensure equality for all our students by providing supports to overcome barriers and establish a sense of belonging.”

Imelda Byrne, Head of University of Galway’s Access Centre, said: “The Access Centre is proud to host University of Galway’s Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day activities and to collaborate with our students, the Office of the Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, and Irish Traveller Organisations in the region.

“Year on year we see the progress that is being made to increase the diversity of our student population and the increased commitment to providing supports, resources, and a welcoming sense of community to ensure that all of our students, including Irish Traveller students, have an equal opportunity to participate and succeed.”

The week of events to mark Irish Traveller Ethnicity Day are organised by University of Galway’s Access Centre, in collaboration with Irish Traveller Organisations, Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Cell Explorers and local schools.

To view the full programme of events, or to register an event, visit https://bit.ly/3I6lFlf or email cathal.shanagher@universityofgalway.ie for further details.