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Travellers in the text

This book traces a number of common themes relating to the representation of Irish Travellers in Irish popular tradition and how these themes have impacted on Ireland's collective imagination. A particular focus of the book is on the exploration of the Traveller as ‘Other’, an ‘Other’ who is perceived as both inside and outside Ireland's collective ideation. Frequently constructed as a group whose cultural tenets are in a dichotomous opposition to those of the ‘settled’ community, the book demonstrates the ambivalence and complexity of the Irish Traveller ‘Other’ in the context of a European postcolonial country. Not only have the construction and representation of Travellers always been less stable and ‘fixed’ than previously supposed, these images have been acted upon and changed by both the Traveller and non-Traveller communities as the situation has demanded. Drawing primarily on little-explored Irish language sources, the book demonstrates the fluidity of what is often assumed as reified or ‘fixed’. As evidenced in Irish-language cultural sources, the image of the Traveller is inextricably linked with the very concept of Irish identity itself. They are simultaneously the same and ‘Other’, and frequently function as exemplars of the hegemony of native Irish culture as set against colonial traditions.

Some considerations
Mícheál Ó hAodha

community and have been influenced by the need to define national, social and class identity. This project of representation has used the tools of mythology and history. These two related aspects of the Irish popular tradition reinforce the fact that myth and history can never be seen as entirely separate entities. The construction of history is itself a process of mythologising and the various guises in which the Traveller image manifests itself in Irish tradition indicate that contemporary myth has deep roots in popular perceptions of history. The myth or construction

in ‘Insubordinate Irish’
Irish Travellers and the Questionnaire
Mícheál Ó hAodha

often false discourse concerning Ireland and the Irish can, I argue, be extended to encompass an equally discursive depiction of Irish Travellers that is available in Irish popular tradition through the lens of folklore. The primary subject of this book – the discursive image of Travellers as defined by the ‘settled’ community – is intimately intertwined with this anti-Irish ‘Othering’ tradition that I have briefly outlined. Travellers were Irish people who were subject to the same cultural conditioning 05 Insubordinate Irish 050-079 13/6/11 14:23 Page 51 Mapping

in ‘Insubordinate Irish’
Mícheál Ó hAodha

be linked with a wider and very wide-ranging discourse in Irish popular tradition where the liminal figure of the Travelling tradesman, poet, shaman, jester or fool acts to ‘transgress’ the normal ‘categories’ of social life and thereby criticise and subvert official hierarchies. This symbolic discourse as evidenced in Irish tradition has strong affinities with the concept of the carnivalesque as outlined by Bakhtin and encompasses imagery and social satire that is often topsy-turvy, grotesque and excessive. The topsy-turvy discourse of the carnivalesque also has

in ‘Insubordinate Irish’
A study in perjury
Owen Dudley Edwards

to the performance of religious duty. Illegal violence was the natural protection against immoral laws. Eternal salvation, in the eyes of the great majority of the Irish, could only be obtained by a course of conduct condemned by the law. 180 Culture, women and the American diaspora Lecky bluntly acknowledged his intellectual debt to folk tradition in a major instance: ‘One case of oppression has acquired a great prominence in Irish popular traditions, and it appears indeed to have been exceedingly flagrant’. Thus he introduced the judicial murder of the priest

in Irish Catholic identities