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Carlow and Kilkenny Travellers unveil Gloak Our Laces art piece

The occasion was used to highlight issues facing those in the community

National Traveller Ethnicity Day was marked locally by the community from across Carlow and Kilkenny.

On the 1st of March 2017 the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced that the Irish Government was formally recognising Irish Travellers as a distinct ethnic group.

Yesterday (Wednesday), on the sixth anniversary of that announcement, many gathered at the Newpark Hotel for the unveiling of a special copper, tinsmithed arts piece.

Image: Gloak Our Laces launch at Newpark Hotel (Edwina Grace)

The work was produced by members of Traveller Health projects across the two counties under an initiative by the HSE / South East Community Healthcare’s mental health services and regional Traveller health service.

Called ‘Gloak Our Laces’, which translates from the Cant language to ‘Look At Us’, the result was a large installment comprising individual panels – it was presented to John Clarke of the Department of Psychiatry at St Luke’s General Hospital where it can be enjoyed.

The launch was a moving event which began with attendees watching a short film of the making of the piece.

There was also a display of the rich Traveller culture with tinsmithing, Irish dance, song and poetry.

Carlow based Traveller and Poet Elizabeth Connors (Edwina Grace)

Local advocate Helena Power used the occasion to call on those within the community to speak out about the issues they face in their every day lives and to call out the shame and stigma they experience while she pleaded too with the wider community to stamp out snide remarks and negative commentary they come across.

Our Edwina Grace was there to speak to some of those involved and to capture the atmosphere: