Traveller Pride Week is an annual two-week initiative celebrating and promoting Traveller's contribution and achievement across Irish life.

This year, national events will be taking place from September 20th - 26th and local community events 27th September- October 2nd. You can find more info here.

Traveller Pride Week 2021 kicked off on Monday, September 20, via a live Facebook event themed Stronger Together. Addressed by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman, the event was chaired by Rose Marie Maugha and featured a panel of Traveller perspectives on the community's response and resilience during the Covid pandemic.

Speaking to RTÉ LifeStyle about the event, Rose Marie said that she hoped the week "strengthens our Pride within our Traveller Identity, especially among young Travellers, but also brings Travellers and all communities in Ireland together as one".

Reflecting on outside perceptions of the community, Rose Marie said that the biggest misconception society has about Travellers is that "we choose to live in inhumane conditions, when in fact the truth is, we are surviving generations of assimilation policies and lack of provision of culturally appropriate accommodation".

For this reason, she said that she was excited to celebrate the "culture, language, history" of the Traveller community throughout the week as well as highlighting the contributions they have made to Irish society and the "strength and resilience" that they share as a people.

This year's launch saw the the launch of an online video campaign that aims to showcase the community's rich and diverse culture and build support and solidarity between Travellers and non-Travellers.

Organisers are encouraging people across Ireland to champion this campaign by sharing the Traveller Pride video and messages using social media platforms using hashtags #TravellerPrideWeek #StrongerTogether.

Ambassadors for the online campaign include actor Martin Mahon and singer Sharyn Ward, both past recipients of the Traveller Pride awards in the arts and music.

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Martin has performed in many stage productions with Siamse Tire, written for theatre, and will make his TV debut this autumn in a brand new RTÉ production.

He has used his platform to get involved with Traveller and mental health issues and joined the Kerry Traveller Health and Community Development Project in Tralee where he is now Vice Chair of the Board and involved with numerous campaigns to promote Traveller equality.

Speaking on the Traveller Pride, Martin said: "It's about putting fire and self confidence in some Travellers who might never have been able to have it, or never been able to find it in their life... so Traveller Pride gives them a moment to feel appreciated. It gives them a moment to feel like they can actually go on and achieve past the stereotype that people create"

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Sharyn Ward, a mother of two from Co. Longford, rose to prominence in 2019 as a contestant on the popular Virgin Media One show, Irelands Got Talent. Her exceptional rendition of Black is the Colour earned her a place in the final where she sang One Starry Night – a song which "makes me proud to be a Traveller", she said.

Sharyn says that Traveller Pride is great for the community because it helps to "find things to be proud of and to remind us of who we are, to highlight all the good things about our art and our culture. It’s a great way to make us feel good about being us."

Traveller Pride Week is jointly supported by eight Traveller organisations; the Irish Traveller Movement, Pavee Point, the National Traveller Women’s Forum, Minceirs Whiden, Exchange House, Involve, the Parish of the Travelling People and National Traveller MABS; and funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

Visit www.facebook.com/travellerpride2021 for details of the campaign and information on local events.