The Kilkenny Traveller Primary Health Care Project is a HSE funded community health project that aims to improve the health of Travellers in Kilkenny City and County.

The project works through five Traveller Community Health workers and a Traveller Well-being and awareness worker who are peer educators and are managed by a Project Co-ordinator. The Project addresses issues in the community such as: Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes, Mental Health and Positive Well-being, Child Health & the Social Determinants of Health.

The Traveller Health Workers act as liaison between the Health services and their own community to bring about an increase in the uptake of services and improve the health status of Travellers in Kilkenny.

The Traveller health project also employs a Traveller Parent Link Worker funded by Tusla. This position aims to strengthen and develop the pathways to support Traveller Parents seeking support regarding their children and families.  Ongoing group and individual Parent Plus Parenting supports are available either in the home or in a community setting.    Our work is carried out mainly through outreach and community-based programmes to support positive health.  

Recent programs to support Traveller Health was through a programme titled “Gloak our Laces” (meaning ‘look at us’), the project draws on themes of positive mental health and wellbeing.  The “Gloak Our Laces” project has been documented on a short  video (see and the finished pieces are featured as an exhibition at the Dept. of Psychiatry acute mental health inpatient facility located on the grounds of St. Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny.  One of the pieces created by a young Traveller Woman will hang in Crumlin Childrens Hospital where many Travellers are so familiar with. 

Traveller Community

A second programme that the Health Project was involved in was Sailing into Wellness.  This initiative is a nationwide charity that offers programs that aim to empower individuals and build a positive sense of community on and off the water. Using the platform of sailing and underpinned by social inclusion and fun, learnings on the water are transferrable to everyday life, increasing coping mechanisms and encouraging pro-social behaviour. This programme was led out by our youngest Traveller Health Worker.

This coming year one of our aims is to deliver the updated version of Traveller Culture Awareness Training (TCAT).  The TCAT programme aims to improve Travellers’ health though the provision of education and awareness raising on Traveller culture and issues, to health service staff and other public service staff so to make their services more accessible and thus have an impact on Traveller health outcomes.