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Unsettled: From Tinker To Traveller

George and Sharon Gmelch

40-years-ago two Californian anthropologists, George and Sharon Gmelch, lived for one year in a barrel top wagon with travellers on a halting site in Dublin. Four decades later they have returned to Ireland with a huge archive of photographs to find the people they once knew to learn what has happened in their lives in the intervening years.

When the Gmelch's first came to Ireland in 1970 accommodation for travellers was a big issue. They were young anthropology students looking for an area of Irish culture to study. They became interested in travellers and soon they were living among them in order to study their culture close up. They carried out some of the first academic research into travellers and published a number of books including 'The Urbanisation of an Itinerant People', 'Tinkers and Travellers' and 'Nan-The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman'.

Now, in their mid 60s, the Gmelchs return to a very different Ireland to undertake their final 'field study' with Irish Travellers.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this programme please visit our Aertel page 705 for further information...

A Scratch Films Production for RTÉ.
Producer/Director: Liam McGrath
Co-Director: Kim Bartley

Unsettled: From Tinker To Traveller
  • RTÉ One, Monday, 9.35pm