Photography by Sally and Mike Harris

A visit to Ireland is on most photographers’ lists. Mike and I spent three weeks last summer driving around the beautiful countryside. However, our main interest was to meet and photograph the Irish Travellers, an Irish ethnic minority who, since the early fourteenth century, have lived a nomadic life, much like gypsies. Mike and I had been intrigued with photographs that we had seen taken by fellow photographers. We learned about a man named Joseph-Phillippe Bevillard, a photographer based in Ireland who has been following, advocating for and documenting the Travellers’ lives over the past decade.

Over the course of a week, we visited several Irish Traveller families and because we were accompanied by Joseph, Mike and I were immediately welcomed into their homes (caravans) as if we were old friends. Despite the hardships they face, the Travellers impressed us with their openness, energy and inquisitiveness – adults and children alike. The children go to Catholic school. The boys are into boxing and horses, while the girls love to dress up and pose.

Word from Joseph during the pandemic is that they had been worried because of their crowded living conditions and poor health, but have come through the worst just fine.