Irish Travellers

Irish Travellers
An lucht siúil
Travellers Decorated Caravan (6136023633).jpg
Irish Travellers in 1954
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Northern Ireland3,905
Great Britain15,000
 United States10,000–40,000
English (Hiberno-English), Irish, Shelta
Predominantly Roman Catholicism, Cultural Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Irish, Scottish traveller groups

Irish Travellers (Irish: an lucht siúil, meaning 'the walking people') are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group who maintain a set of traditions.[2][3] Although predominantly English-speaking, some also use Shelta and other similar cants. They live mostly in Ireland as well as comprising large communities in the United Kingdom and the United States.[4] Their origin is disputed. Traveller rights groups have long pushed for ethnic status from the Irish government, finally succeeding in 2017.[5]

As of 2016, there are 30,987 Travellers within Ireland, and this has led to them becoming recognized as a minority group in Ireland.[6]


Travellers refer to themselves as Minkiers[7] or Pavees, or in Irish as an Lucht Siúil ("the travelling people").

"Pikey" or "pikie" is a slang term, which is pejorative and considered by many to be a slur. It is used mainly in the UK and Ireland[8][9] to refer to people who are of the Traveller Community. In a pejorative sense it means "a lower-class person", perhaps 'coarse' or 'disreputable'. It is not well received among Irish Travellers or Romani, as it is considered an ethnic slur.[10]

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