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A Night of Reflection and Resilience: Traveller Ethnicity Day 2024 Celebration at Esker Arts Centre

A gathering of 197 individuals filled the halls of the Esker Arts Centre in Tullamore, as the Offaly Traveller Movement hosted a remarkable event commemorating Traveller Ethnicity Day March 1st 2024.

The atmosphere was charged with anticipation and reverence as attendees came together to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Traveller community. Embracing the occasion with open hearts and minds, guests were treated to a poignant and thought-provoking performance of “Magpies on the Pylon,” a play written and performed by esteemed artist Michael Collins.

The play, which delves into the sensitive topic of suicide within the Irish Traveller Community, follows the emotional journey of Jim, a Traveller father grappling with the loss of his son. Through Jim’s story, audiences were confronted with the stark realities of suicide, a topic often shrouded in taboo within Irish society.

Michael Collins, a stalwart advocate for Traveller rights, brought authenticity and empathy to his portrayal of Jim, urging audiences to engage in dialogue and seek support when needed. His powerful message resonated deeply with attendees, emphasising the importance of community, understanding, and compassion.

In a statement, Collins remarked, “One of the most important messages that I hope people walk away with, whether Traveller or settled, is that they are not on their own, there is help out there, and one of the most important things they need to do is talk to somebody.”

Throughout the evening, attendees were encouraged to engage in conversation, fostering a sense of unity and solidarity. Support services, represented by Karen Boylan and Paul McCann from Offaly Traveller Movement, were readily available for those in need, underscoring the commitment to providing assistance and fostering resilience within the community.

As the event drew to a close, guests were invited to continue their reflections over tea and coffee, providing a space for further dialogue and connection. Information stands offered valuable resources and support, ensuring that the spirit of unity and compassion ignited during the celebration would endure beyond the confines of the theatre.

In conclusion, the Traveller Ethnicity Day celebration at Esker Arts Centre served as a powerful reminder of the strength and resilience inherent within the Traveller community. Through storytelling, dialogue, and support, attendees embraced the opportunity to honour their heritage and reaffirm their commitment to collective healing and hope.


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