Traveller graves, Ireland

Charles Cowling


Click on the photo to make it bigger. Note the address on the headstone — for a Traveller. Anyone know why?


Thanks to Phoebe Hoare for this


10 thoughts on “Traveller graves, Ireland

  1. Charles Cowling
    sandra mcdonagh

    That grave belongings to my father god rest him.. we put de address on the graves cause its just how we do it and it let the traveller family no what genertions de are.. why do you wanna no so much y they put address on them….

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    John Maughan

    My name is john Maughan my mothers people are buried in tuam co Galway and in that grave yard for settled and travellers the address is on the biggest majority of them and in Cavan where my fathers people are buried it is almost the same for travellers except for the house number but on some settled people the whole lot is on the headstone like a lot of places back the country

    Charles Cowling
    1. Charles Cowling

      That’s really interesting John, thanks for the insight – it’s lovely to learn about differing cultures and customs. Maybe it’s because people often moved away to find work or get married? I noticed that in Yorkshire they seem to put the place of birth on a headstone if it’s different from where the person was living when they died.

      Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Richard Rawlinson

    Phoebe, I hope your research unearths the reason for the address, you’ve made us curious. Interesting that the practice is not exclusive to Travellers in Ireland. Perhaps it’s because they go in for hereditary family names – Seamus McDonagh I, II, II, IV – across several generations and so they differentiate each other by address. But surely this could also be achieved by dates.

    Not so relevant but the term Traveller can be a misnomer as they often settle with a fixed address in their own village rather than drift as nomads.

    In your research have you noticed how short is the average lifespan of Travellers compared to the general population? A higher percentage still die as babies or in early adulthood and many die before reaching 65.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Fascinating. Thank you, Phoebe. This is an expression of identity, I suppose, but I don’t understand how.

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    Phoebe Hoare

    This was the reply from the funeral director…doesn’t say why but I shall interrogate him when I see him next!

    On the headstone most people put their address on it not just the travellers, but it is usually the address of the first person in the grave and then just the names of the other people who are also buried in the grave if it’s a family plot.
    It could read like this…………
    Matt Cooper
    Arden Rd, Tullamore.
    14th June 1932.
    His wife Ann
    18th May 1937.
    Their son Liam
    24th March 1998
    His wife Mary
    28th August 2000

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling

    Thanks, Phoebe! Getting there!

    Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    Phoebe Hoare

    This is the reply I got from Pavee Point in Dublin (Travelling community centre),

    I had a think about it but, as for as I know, this is common to all graveyards in the country and to both Travellers and the majority population. It might be one particular graveyard that you are thinking of that is very new, but certainly as far as I can remember the address is always on the headstone.

    I have to say I’ve never come across addresses on settled Irish headstones in the years I have been cruising round graveyards (doesn’t meant to say they aren’t there though). Not really answering the question as to why they are put on but awaiting more emails.

    Charles Cowling
  8. Charles Cowling
    Jenny Uzzell

    I think these are beautiful! No idea about the address, sorry 🙂

    Charles Cowling
  9. Charles Cowling
    Phoebe Hoare

    Emails have been sent to various dissertation contacts, hopefully they aren’t sick of me by now and answer back! It’s pretty intriguing.

    Charles Cowling

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