National Geographic : 1951 May
© National Geographic Society 670 Kodachrome by Dorothea Sheats Ireland's Gypsylike Tinkers Never Settle Down for Long. In Gaily Painted Caravans They Roam from Fair toFair Most tinkers are descendants of Irish landowners dispossessed centuries ago. They speak, not Romany, but English and Gaelic. Their carefree lifeontheroad they leave only to cajole sober folk into a game of chance or a reading of palms. They fill the air with songs sung tobanjo orviolin music. As cattle and horse traders, "They're not to be trusted," some Irishmen say. Others will tell you, "Sure, they're related to the kings of Old Ireland." These tinkers' wagons, just afew in a mile-long line-up, park in Killorglin for August's Puck Fair. Three pedestrians appear to be drovers. Opposite page: Kathleen McCarthy (left), entertaining friends, lives in her comfortable stove-heated caravan. Poorer tinkers travel inopen carts and sleep intents. A few prosperous families wander in trucks.