Irish travelling people have always been in England, though they were banned from coming to England in the 11th Century. Our background is ancient and our culture and language goes back a long way.
Many Irish people assume we came with the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland. This is not so, for instance the word tinker comes from the old gaelic word Tinne Ceard (skilled artificer) which the Normans misheard and it became tinker.
The old name for the Irish travelling people is Pavee, and the settled people called us Travellers. The Irish settled people, many hundreds of years ago, called us Luicht Shule, which means the walking people.
In the 5th Century our ancestors travelled all over making weapons, the most essential thing any warrior could have the in 5th Century. The Pavee supplied weapons, jewellery for women, horse trappings – and they also brought gambling with them.
They were welcomed by the ancient Irish everywhere they went. Mick Quinn, who is one of the finest storytellers in the north of Ireland, told me when he was young – and he’s now an old man in his eighties – that when his village knew the travelling people were coming they would paint the village. Wonderful times and nights were had with them, and sorry they were to see them go.