The Irish Travelers, notorious for their home improvement scams, have garnered significant media attention. These individuals engage in new criminal activities targeting unsuspecting citizens. Gaining an understanding of this group’s history, traditions, and tactics can assist individuals in safeguarding themselves from falling prey to their schemes.
The Irish Travelers originally migrated to the United States during the Great Famine in Ireland during the 19th century. Believed to be descendants of landowners and laborers displaced during Oliver Cromwell’s campaign in the 1600s, their true ancestry remains a subject of debate due to limited written records. Initially referred to as the Irish Horse Traders in America due to their involvement in horse trading, suspicions arose that they were already engaged in fraudulent activities at that time.
Embracing a strict lifestyle governed by the “Traveler Code,” these Roman Catholic nomads lead separate lives with minimal interactions with outsiders whom they refer to as “country people.” In such encounters, they communicate using Cant, an ancient language derived from Gaelic. While no written version of this code is known, it likely exists internally within their clan.
One prominent community of Irish Travelers in the US is Murphy Village which adheres to specific patterns. According to a Dateline NBC report, endogamy is practiced within the Amish community where individuals marry exclusively within their own group.Typically, their education is limited to elementary school with a strong emphasis on secrecy as an integral part of their lifestyle.
The exploits and negative reputations of Irish Travelers are discussed in several sources, including: