Faces Of The Day

Dec 2 2012 @ 1:17pm

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As a regular visitor to Dublin, Lauren Rock always wondered about the caravans of people living by the side of the road:

The Travellers (until recently also called "tinkers" or "gypsies") often live in ad hoc encampments, in direct contrast to "settled" people in Ireland. They are thought to be descended from a group of nomadic craftsman, with the name "tinker" a reference to the sound of a hammer hitting an anvil. (The reference is now considered derogatory.)

She admires Alen MacWeeney's 1960s photography of the group. His book, Irish Travellers: Tinkers No Moredocuments a changing culture and lifestyle:

Many have embraced modern culture and become "settled," no longer living apart from the mainstream. There is even a reality TV show, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which showcases Traveller girls and their theatrical, over-the-top weddings. But MacWeeney believes that the Travellers are "reluctant as settled and envy the other life of travelling." His book stands as a document of an era, and a way of life that is slowly fading into the past.

("Bill Cassidy and Kathleen Connors, Saggart" courtesy of MacWeeney)