Traveller Programmes

St. Catherine’s Traveller programmes aim to achieve social justice and improve equality outcomes for the Travelling community in Carlow and its environs.  Our professional programmes focus on working in partnership with the community at local, regional and national levels to effect this change. Our three key programmes below are delivered by our Traveller Programmes Team with the support, strategic guidance and supervision of the Traveller Family Support, Community Development and Health Programmes Manager. The programmes are devised, planned, delivered, evaluated and reviewed within an equality and diversity framework that sees anti-discriminatory work practice at its core.

A. Traveller Community Development

The Traveller Development programme works with Travellers in County Carlow and has developed informal learning opportunities that provide spaces for the community to understand and practice community development. The main areas of focus are education, family support, housing, health and welfare. The model of delivery of the planned programmes enables participants to evaluate their own learning, engage in personal and social development and collective action.

Activities and supports include:

  • Pre-development programmes include Driver Theory, Swimming, Healthy Lifestyle, Zumba Dance group and a Parenting Programme
  • Traveller Music Project
  • Family support
  • Advocacy for Traveller families and individuals
  • Internal and external referrals
  • A drop-in facility and targeted outreach service to the community
  • Supporting the development of the Carlow Traveller Network
  • Planning and supporting the annual Traveller Pride Festival
  • Contributing to local, regional and national policy and strategies

Travellers Women’s Programmes/Groups:
Monday 11am-1pm “Healthy Lackeens”- Health Programme (contact Winnie Cassidy or Bridget Carty)

Tuesday 11am-1pm “Independent Pavee Beors” Health & Community Development (contact Mary Connors)

Tuesday 5-7pm “Young Women’s Group” Healthy cooking and fitness programme (Contact Kathleen Kerrigan or Michelle Maddock)

Friday 11am-1pm “Mixed Women’s group” Sowing and Arts & Crafts (Contact Mary Connors)

Mixed Men and Women’s Programmes:
Driver theory: Mondays and Fridays 1-2pm (Contact Mary Connors or Alex Morahan)

Travellers Music Program: Open to men and women (Contact Mary Connors or Ciara Cunningham)

Traveller Literacy program: Thursdays 11-1pm (Contact Ciara Cunningham or Mary Connors)

Drop-in Service: Monday- Friday 9:30-12:30pm

Traveller Pride

Carlow Traveller Pride is a three day event which takes place annually in June. The Festival includes a Culture and Heritage day, a live musical event at “The Visual” and Health and Well Being day.

Did you Know?

  • Over 200 members of the Travelling and settled communities attended the 2015 Traveller Pride event
  • Over 200 people attended the 2016 Traveller Pride event
  • In 2015 36 women participated regularly in the community and health development programmes

For more information please contact:

<a name="travellers2"></a>Valerie Byrne

Valerie Byrne

Traveller Family Support, Community Development and Health Programmes Manager

Tel: 059 9138777,

Teresa Ryan

Traveller Community Development Worker

Tel: 059 9138700,
Mobile: 085 1689186

B. Traveller Men’s Health Work

The Men’s Health programme focuses on improving Traveller men’s health including cardiovascular health, mental health and cancer awareness.  The Traveller Men’s Health Worker (TMHW) works in both County Carlow and County Kilkenny.

Activities and supports include:

  • Pre Development Programmes including a swimming group, indoor soccer groups, a gardening project and an NCT health programme for men
  • Developing the Traveller Men’s Shed at St. Catherine’s CSC and planning and developing two more Men’s Shed projects in Carlow and Kilkenny
  • Increasing awareness of good health practice and health services
  • Advocacy to increase the uptake of health services
  • Internal and external referrals
  • A drop in facility and targeted outreach service to Traveller men
  • Supporting the development of the Carlow Traveller Network
  • Planning and supporting the annual Traveller Pride Festival
  • Contributing to local, regional and national policy and strategies

Men’s Traveller programmes: (Contact Michael Nolan)
Carlow Men’s Shed & Health activities: Mondays 9:30-1pm

Carlow Wellbeing Programme & Men’s Shed: Tuesday Mornings 9:30-2

Kilkenny Men’s shed activities: Thursday Mornings

Kilkenny Football & Handball: Thursday Evenings

Men’s drop-in: Wednesday Mornings 9:30-1pm

Other Events:
“Tea and Talk” Suicide awareness morning took place on Friday 30th September in St. Catherine’s.

Mensana- Men’s mental health awareness Event- Tuesday 11th October (Contact Alex)

Health Screening morning- Screening morning with health inputs by health experts. (Contact Ciara or Alex)

Outreach work is carried out using a Camper Van. It was identified in 2012 that Traveller Men attended and responded very well to a programme on health delivered from a Mobile Unit. A Camper Van was purchased in 2013 to build on this programme for Traveller men. It is envisaged that van will be used for outreach across all three programmes with the support of the Traveller Public Health Nurse and other Health Professionals.

Did you know?

  • The All Ireland Traveller Healthy Survey in 2010 highlighted serious issues regarding the health of Traveller men.  Traveller men die 15 years younger than settled men and are 7 times more likely to die by suicide.
  • Traveller men participate in groups involving gardening, driver theory, sports and health and fitness. 50 men in Carlow and Kilkenny engaged last year.

For more information please contact:

Michael Nolan

Traveller Men’s Health Worker

Tel: 059 9138777
Mobile: 086 7721920

C. Community Traveller Health Workers

The programme focuses on improving health outcomes for members of the Travelling Community, through direct work with the community and health services.   The aims of the programme include raising cardiovascular awareness, highlighting the importance of cancer screening for early detection, good mental health awareness, creating spaces to discuss health for individuals and the community, providing training and support for the health services to ensure Traveller culture is recognised and respected in all areas and to identify new or emerging Traveller health issues.

Activities and supports include:

  • Pre Development Programmes including healthy eating, positive mental health, smoking cessation and cardiovascular health and fitness
  • A drop in facility for Traveller families three mornings per week
  • Advocacy to facilitate access to health services for GP appointments, medical card renewals, dental clinics, cancer screening, cardiovascular appointments, immunisations etc.
  • Internal and external referrals
  • Delivery of and facilitation of health inputs to Traveller Pre Development groups
  • Health themed open mornings
  • Cultural awareness training for health professionals and other service providers locally

Did you know?

  • The All Ireland Traveller Health Study 2010 highlighted the fact that Traveller women’s life expectancy is 12 years less than settled women. Traveller infant mortality rate is three times higher than in the settled community.
  • In 2015 19 Travellers participated in group activities including crafts, swimming, Zumba dancing and walking with health inputs on smoking cessation, stress and mental health, healthy eating, relaxation techniques, cardiovascular health, mental health, cancer screening, diabetes and physical exercise
  • The number of Travellers attending drop-in’s in St. Catherine’s has more than doubled since 2012

Our Community Health Workers are:

  • Winnie Cassidy
  • Kathleen Kerrigan
  • Michelle Maddock
  • Bridget McCarthy

All of which can be contacted
Tel: 059 9138700

General Links:

For more information please contact:

Edel Keogh

Edel Keogh

Traveller Community Health Workers Programme Co-ordinator

Tel: 059 9138700
Mobile: 085 1161747