This year saw the 9th annual Traveller Pride Awards that took place in the Pillar Rooms on the grounds of the Rotunda hospital. This event officially starts Traveller Pride that ran from the 11th to the 16th of June. There were a number of events planned over the two weeks.


These awards were set up to celebrate Traveller achievements across Ireland and the contributions that Travellers make to their own community to Irish society. The Awards also highlight some of the obstacles that exist for Travellers in Irish society. There was large crowd present on the day which was great to see. This year winners came from various part of country, Cavan, Galway, Westmeath, Dublin and Louth were all represented.

The first week 6th-11th June gave National Traveller organisations the opportunity to promote and instil pride in their culture by running events at a national level. The local events take place the week Monday the 12th to 16th June also gave local organisation the opportunity to promote Traveller Pride at a local level.

Presenters and Speakers

Rosemarie Maughan, of the Irish Traveller Movement opens the event and gave an introduction and a brief outline of the day. She thanked all the various national organisations who are resented on the steering committee for all their hard work on making today event possible. Rosemarie also spoke of the significance of Ethnic recognition of Travellers by the Irish state which happened on the 1st of March this year 2017, and how we need to continue to work to achieve better outcomes for Travellers in Ireland.

Brenda Donoghue, a presenter from RTE and who has been on such shows as ‘Mooney’ was the MC for the day and we were delighted to have her presented on the day. Brenda interviewed both the winners and the presenters.

Nancy Power, the co-ordinator of National Traveller MABS presented Thomas Maughan from Cavan with the Community development award for the Men’s Shed Initiative, which he worked at getting off the ground for Traveller men in Cavan. Thomas when on to say how important the Men’s Shed was for both men’s mental health and how important it was to get Traveller men to interact socially. He was happy to say that he was picking up the award on behalf of the men who worked so hard to make this project a success in Cavan. The group meet on a regular basis and hope to get a permanent space to use as their shed.

Broadcaster Jonathan McCrea was very pleased to present the Young Inspirational Award, to 15 year old Ian McDonagh from Galway, who was due to start his junior cert next week. Ian has entered and won in the BT young scientist of the year competition in 2016, with his entry “A Scientific Investigation of the Cures and Folkways of the Irish Traveller Community” he is already working on his entry for next year. Ian is working on a bracelet to help people predict the onset of an epileptic fit. He was inspirational and expressed how keen he is for more Travellers to stay in Education and continue on to third level and beyond.

Michael Power – Editor of Traveller’s Voice magazine picked up his award on Employment and Enterprise from Gavin Duffy, entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den. As the editor of the only Traveller magazine in Ireland, Michael creates employment whilst engendering pride and promoting positive news amongst Travellers. AgainMichael was humble in his accepting of the award on behalf of his team which made the magazine the success it is.

Young boxer Patrick Mongan picked up the Sports Award, prior to going off to represent Ireland at the European Boxing Championships in Ukraine. He was delighted to receive the award from Andy Lee, the first Traveller boxing world champion. Both boxers were keen to emphasise the importance of putting in the hours of training and hard work in the gym. Patrick talked about having left his passion for a while and then returned to it. Patrick expressed how important it was to never give up on your hope and dreams.

Eleanor McAvoy, the famous singer was here to present the Music Award to Lizzy Connors from Carlow, who recently sang in Carnegie hall in New York. We were treated to a beautiful version of sweet sixteen, where Lizzy’s wonderful voice filled the pillar rooms.

Eileen Flynn, from Ballyfermot Traveller Action group, was the presenter of the ~Youth Award, which went to the organisers of Lucht Siúil Óga (a Traveller youth group in Dundalk who does this on voluntary basis ) which has ten Traveller youth leaders organizing activities for young people. Eileen spoke passionately about the work the young people were doing and how the award was special for her, and that she was very proud of the work that was being done by the young organizers of this group.

In the Arts & Culture section, Rory O’Neill, more famously known as Panti Bliss, the drag queen and gay rights activist presented the award to Hughie Maughan. Hughie is famous for finishing the runner-up in the reality TV show, Big Brother, and also went onto entertain the nation on Dancing with the stars. Hughie is currently working on a documentary which will show the diversity that exists in the Traveller community, and hopes that his example can inspire other young Travellers to pride of who they are.

The Minister of State for Justice David Stanton spoke to the crowd of the historic evening in the Dáil when the Traveller Ethnicity was recognised by the Irish state, and that this was the start of work, and that the soon to be launched National Traveller & Roma Integration Strategy was the start of working with the community to improve the lives of Travellers/Roma in Ireland.

Full list of winners




Sport Patrick Mongan Galway
Enterprise Michael Power Athlone
Education Ian McDonagh Galway
Youth Lucht Siúil Óga (Youth Organisers/Group Dundalk
Arts/Culture Highie Maughan Dublin
Community The Men's Shed Thomas Maughan Cavan
Music Lizzy Connors Carlow

Traveller Pride Award Winners 2017

Published: 20 June 2017