This study attempts to understand the contradictory and complex images of the Irish Travellers as constructed within both hegemonic and counter-hegemonic cultural impulses, and as viewed by both the settled and travelling populations. The descriptions of Travellers provided in oral and (later) written form during the early 1950s as part of the Irish Folklore Commission's cultural reclamation project are important to this study, the primary source material for which is the archives of the Irish Folklore Commission. Travellers are described using a series of popular stereotypes as implicated in discourse. The question of Traveller ‘origins’ played a role in the formation of the Irish imaginary. The ‘drop-out’ version of Irish Traveller history and origins may hold sway today, but this was not always the case.
Keywords: Irish Travellers; travelling; Irish Folklore Commission; Irish imaginary; drop-out; Irish Traveller history
Chapter. 3218 words.
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