During our time in Ireland, we never ceased to be mystified by the venom spewed toward Travellers, perhaps the Emerald Isle’s largest ethnic minority. For starters, we had a tough time differentiating Travellers from their countrymen, although our Irish comrades never seemed to fail at the task. Alas, many of those comrades were barkeeps, and they’d often get the vapors when a group of Travellers showed up for pints. The saga apparently continues, judging by what went down during a recent Irish bank holiday:
Up to 50 gardaí from Balbriggan, Swords, Donabate, Baldoyle and Lusk were called to deal with a pub brawl that escalated into a siege in the north Dublin town after a number of the pub’s customers, believed to be members of the local Travelling community, were refused service.
Over a dozen customers of John D’s took over the pub and threatened staff after being refused further service there. Staff and some customers ran out of the pub and the dozen barricaded themselves inside with chairs and tables. They smashed windows and broke up furniture.
When gardaí arrived before 7pm people in the pub threw bottles, a fire extinguisher and other missiles out on to the street at them. The Garda Public Order Unit had to be called in and part of the town was closed off to traffic until 9pm. Following an initial stand-off, gardaí rushed the premises and 13 people were arrested.
Some rather unsympathetic Irish media reaction here and here. The latter commentary frowns on the willingness of some Travellers to earn their keep as bare-knuckle boxers. (See also: Brad Pitt’s character in Snatch.)
(Image via Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More)