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Four new projects to explore Traveller wellbeing through creativity

min read

Four new projects to explore Traveller wellbeing through creativity

min read


Four new projects to explore Traveller wellbeing through creativity

Following on from a very successful programme in 2022, the Creative Ireland Programme and our partners in the Department of Health (Healthy Ireland Programme), the HSE and the Arts Council are again funding four projects under the Traveller Wellbeing through Creativity initiative. The purpose of this unique programme is to support creative projects that will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the Traveller community. As a result of the call issued in March 2023, a total of 32 applications were received, which meant that the evaluation process was very competitive. Four projects are being supported by the funding available this year, and those projects are:

  • 1. Creating a Brighter Future

Four creative projects will work simultaneously involving Traveller women and youth in Charleville and Fermoy in North Cork. The initial period of each project will run from May to June and the final stages of each project will run from Sept to Nov 2023.

Project 1: Working with the play; “No Fixed Abode” with 18 Traveller women from Charleville. The actors will to respond to the ongoing requests for this play to be toured and to develop it into a more professional piece under the guidance of a Community Theatre Facilitator.

Project 2: To work with a group of 5 Traveller women and youth from Fermoy with the support of previous partners to write and publish a sequel to “Maggie May” for primary school children which will be included their schools cultural awareness work.

Projects 3 & 4: Two Traveller Youth groups of between 6 and 12 young people aged 10 – 22 years are already working with Youth services as identified in Charleville and Fermoy. The young people have highlighted discrimination as impacting their mental health and will explore this further through their own creative project.


  • 2. The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams in a New Translation by Vanessa Fielding and Catherine Joyce

The Complex will produce an immersive production in a unique setting, inviting audiences into a halting site and igniting discourse around Traveller feminism, mental health and human rights. Winning a Tony award in 1951 for best play, ‘The Rose Tattoo’ remains as relevant, with the themes of female emotional and sexual emancipation presented in a brand new 2023 context. This production through its language and the play’s transposition will create something authentic, contemporary and uniquely Irish.

  • 3. Inic (gammon term meaning a bit of everything)

A six month programme of creative events celebrating Traveller culture and promoting wellbeing:

 Parkway Site

A halting site, on the grounds of the Parkway Shopping Centre, was home to several Traveller families in Limerick until the 1990s. Following development, families were moved to the Childers Road Halting Site from where many women access LTHP services. Artists Julianne Hennelly and Amy Bowdren will work with this group to recall memories from their time growing up in the Parkway with an exhibition to follow in a retail unit of the shopping centre.

 Print Voice

As Visual Art Coordinator at the Learning Hub Limerick, Artist Melanie O’Rourke has developed a strong relationship with a group of Traveller teenage girls. For Inic, Melanie will work with Frank McCarthy and Limerick Printmakers in the Hub to develop a series of work based on ideas presented by these teenagers.

 Well & Rosary

Building on the Comóradh art project from 2022 where ten women produced work to commemorate loved ones who have died, reconnaissance visits to holy wells in Limerick and Clare will take place with participants collecting images and sounds to create a new exhibition/installation in the Belltable in November.

 Paint Punch Abbeyfeale

Inspired by young Travellers’ love of boxing, Artists Frank McCarthy and Sean Horgan will lead a week of workshops in Abbeyfeale LCETB Centre for 9 to 12 year old boys. This project will create a space for messy painting allowing boys to punch paint onto large boards, allowing them to exert energy for physical and associated mental wellbeing.

 Nuck and Knuckle

Artists Willzee and Frank McCarthy invite young Traveller men to speak about how boxing is sometimes a therapy for anxiety and depression. This discussion will take place in St. Francis Boxing Club in Limerick City and will be video recorded for dissemination.

 Thomas McCarthy in Concert

To close Inic, legendary singer, Thomas McCarthy will perform in Belltable on November 30th. He will be joined by Willzee and guests, audiences will enjoy two virtuoso Traveller artists perform their best and talk about life as a male Traveller artist.



  • 4. Cultural Action, Cultural Rights : Creating and Claiming Spaces for Wellbeing 

‘Cultural Action, Cultural Rights: Creating and Claiming Spaces for Wellbeing’ will continue to increase participation by members of the Traveller community in activities that improve health and wellbeing.

The project will again recreate life on the road through 6 day-camps, featuring interactive workshops on paper flower making, tin smithing, beady pocket making, and bread baking. The re-creation of tradition camps proved a huge success last year with the community asking when they will return. Based on the evidence collected during the 2022 evaluation, it clearly showed there was an improvement in the wellbeing of the members who attended events during last year’s project.

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