Reimagine Projects Around Ireland

Reimagine Projects Around Ireland

Pocket guide 7

Nomadic Place Making in Ireland – A Mincéir’s Perspective

Nora Corcoran

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Across Ireland,  Mincéir organisations, in collaboration with the local Mincéir community have begun notable Placemaking Projects, to cater to the needs and reflect the unique heritage of the Irish Mincéir community.

    The goal of Placemaking is to create a sense of place that is unique to a particular location, reflecting its history, culture, and identity. This can connect people and place, emotionally and indeed spiritually.

    When it comes to the Mincéir community, Placemaking is more than just a project. This initiative enables Mincéirs to begin a very special journey. A journey which fosters inclusivity and preservation of a culture and heritage that is centuries old. And fundamentally, instills a deep sense of community wellbeing and belonging.

    Understanding the Irish Mincéir Community

    In early civilisation all people were nomadic, travelling from place to place in search of food, shelter, and safety. The Travelling people, an Irish indigenous community, have been documented to be around as early as 360 years ago.

    Mincéirs, like all nomadic communities, were intimately connected with the land and its resources. They had a profound knowledge of their surroundings, including the best routes for migration, where to find water, grazing areas for animals, and seasonal food sources. They practiced sustainable land use, moving in harmony with nature to prevent overexploitation of resources.

    The idea of leaving no trace behind was inherent in nomadic cultures. They would set up temporary campsites that could be easily assembled and disassembled, minimizing their impact on the environment. Their practices respected the delicate balance of nature, allowing them to coexist with the land and its inhabitants while preserving its integrity for future generations.

    Addressing stereotypes and misconceptions about the Mincéir community is essential to promoting understanding, combating discrimination, and fostering inclusivity. It’s important to emphasise that stereotypes are often inaccurate generalisations, and the Mincéir community, like any other, is diverse and varied. Here are some common stereotypes and misconceptions associated with Mincéirs: 

    • All Mincéirs are the same: Mincéirs are diverse, comprising various subgroups with distinct traditions, histories, and cultures.
    • Mincéirs are all nomadic: While historically nomadic, many Mincéirs now live in settled communities, balancing a sedentary lifestyle with preserving their cultural identity.

    Addressing Stereotypes and Misconceptions

    Principles of Placemaking for Irish Mincéir Communities

    Community Engagement: Involving the community in decision-making processes and project implementation. Establishing a sense of ownership and pride in the developed spaces. 

    Cultural Preservation: Incorporating and preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Irish Mincéir community in placemaking initiatives. Celebrating traditions, language, art, and customs through design and activities.

    Inclusivity and Accessibility: Ensuring that spaces are accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of age, ability, or background. Designing spaces that accommodate the specific needs and preferences of the Irish Mincéir community.

    Traveller Mapping Coolock

    The Traveller Mapping Coolock Digital Storymap was launched at Maynooth University and results from a collaboration with the Mincéir organisations Pavee Point and TravAct and Maynooth Geography.

    This digital story map maps out Mincéirs experiences – positive and negative –  in  Coolock over generations and tells the stories that go with them. The map was originally created by the Project in wood and then transferred to an interactive digital format by Maynooth Geography.  It brings you to the places that mean something to Mincéirs in Coolock and you can listen and read the stories about those places. 


    Missling on the Tobar – Cork Traveller Women’s Network Traditional Camps Art Project

    Missling on the Tobar was a project Initiated by the Cork Traveller Women’s Network, which researched Twenty-Four former traditional Mincéir stopping sites around Cork city, documenting this community’s history for the first time. This led to the gathering of soil from these sites for the first time and displaying them for public viewing. 


    The Galway Traveller Movement Mapping Project – Reimagining Life on the Road

    The Galway Traveller movement, in collaboration with Community Knowledge Initiative, University of Galway, and Centre for Irish Studies & Special Collections, Library (Univ. of Galway) & GO-GN Open Education Network (Open Univ.), created a physical map to gather and document stories from Mincéir families, when they camped on the side of the road, in both Galway city and County. 

    This project started in 2019, as part of the Misleór Festival of Nomadic Cultures. The Galway Traveller Movement and the Mincéir community revisited old campsites, and once information was gathered, a digital map was then created to preserve and archive audio and visuals through the stories, memories and  lived experience of the community. Each pin on the map has multiple stories. The digital map is a live resource and will continue to be developed.

    Successful Placemaking Initiatives in Ireland

    Practical Recommendations For Individuals and Communities

    Placemaking for the Irish Mincéir  community is an important and sensitive endeavour that aims to create inclusive and welcoming spaces for this historically marginalised group. To engage in successful placemaking, it’s essential for individuals, communities, and local authorities to consider the unique needs and preferences of the Irish Mincéir community. 

    • Educate Yourself: Start by learning about the history, culture, and challenges faced by the Irish Mincéir community. 
    • Engage in Dialogue: Establish open and respectful communication with Mincéirs in your community. They can provide valuable insights and help shape the placemaking process.
    • Inclusivity and Empathy: Ensure that placemaking efforts are inclusive and reflect the diverse needs of the community. Show empathy and respect towards their way of life and traditions.
    • Collaborate: Work in collaboration with the Irish Mincéir community. Invite their participation in the planning, design, and decision-making processes.
    • Preserve Cultural Heritage: Incorporate elements of Irish Mincéir culture and heritage into the design of public spaces. This might include art, music, or symbolic representations.
    • Respect Privacy: Be mindful of their privacy needs. Consider incorporating semi-private spaces or features that allow Mincéirs to maintain a level of privacy when in public areas.
    • Accessible Amenities: Ensure that public spaces, amenities, and services are accessible to everyone, including Mincéirs. This includes considering accessibility for people with disabilities.
    • Community Engagement: Encourage community engagement and participation in the planning process. Seek input from the Irish Mincéir community at every stage.
    • Culturally Appropriate Housing Options: Develop culturally appropriate  housing options that cater to the needs and preferences of the Mincéir community.
    • Designated Sites: Consider the establishment of official Mincéir sites with adequate facilities and services, respecting their preferences for a nomadic lifestyle.
    • Education and Awareness: Provide cultural awareness  training to local government staff and service providers to ensure they understand the needs of Mincéirs.
    • Accessible Public Spaces: Design public spaces with the principles of universal design to make them accessible to all, including Mincéirs with mobility challenges.

    Practical Recommendations For Local Authorities and Public Sector

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