Carrowbrowne ‘temporary’ halting site

Traveller families are enduring truly dreadful conditions

A chara, – As organisers of the Decade of Centenaries conference Irish Travellers/ Mincéirs and the State: 1922-2022, held in the University of Galway recently, we had occasion to visit the Carrowbrowne “temporary” halting site just outside the city, and to speak with the people living there.

While the conference, which featured many eloquent Traveller voices, was a memorable one in various positive ways, the visit to Carrowbrowne was quite distressing.

The 13 families living there endure truly dreadful conditions.

From the moment of our arrival at the site, the assault on the senses was overwhelming.


On descending from the bus, the pungent smell from the adjacent former city dump caused most of us to retch. We wonder how anybody can enjoy, or even eat, their food in Carrowbrowne.

There is constant noise from the busy main road and from a nearby recycling facility, while the bleakness of the surroundings – the dump, the neighbouring bog – add to the depressing picture.

There are many other shortcomings in a “temporary site” which has been in service for a dozen years: the lack of a footpath to the nearest shop and of an appropriate play area are the few that we’ll mention here.

The impact on the health and welfare of the residents of Carrowbrowne, most particularly of the growing children, will be obvious to anyone.

As we mark the centenary of the foundation of the State, it is widely accepted that the Irish Traveller/Mincéir community has endured exclusion and discrimination during the past hundred years.

However, the acceptance of Traveller ethnicity in 2017 will rightly be seen as mere tokenism while conditions for the many families who continue to live in this unconscionable manner persist. There is no point acknowledging past wrongs while continuing to perpetrate even more.

We ask that the relevant authorities – the Government Minister responsible and Galway City Council – act as a matter of urgency to provide decent and culturally appropriate accommodation for the families in Carrowbrowne. – Yours, etc,



Head of History,

University of Galway;


Director of MA History,

University of Galway;


former Senior Lecturer

in History,

University of Galway;


Programme Manager

for Equality, Diversity

and Inclusion,

University of Galway;


Director of MA History


School of History

and Philosophy,

NUI Galway.