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Horses Mean Everything To A Traveller

Bob (Robert C) Newman | Florida, United States

Harty Boys @ Spancilhill Horse Fair


Historically nomadic, Irish Travellers have lived on the margins of society for hundreds of years. They number about 40,000 in the whole of Ireland.

Traveling the road in horse-drawn caravans is now forbidden. They are forced to stay in Halting Sites, fenced compounds on the periphery of cities. Some liken it to living in a concentration camp with wires and walls. Alternatively, they live in illegal encampments pulled off on the side of a road, frequently without water, sewer, or electricity.

84% of Travellers are unemployed. Ethnic conflict, discrimination and racism directed toward the Travellers is prevalent. Distrust of non-Travellers is common.

They die 11-15 years sooner than Settled Irish, with 50-60% having reported mental health issues, particularly depression. One in ten die of suicide.

Horses and sulky racing are a major part of their lives, particularly for the men. Horses provide an avenue for social interaction, preserve an important link with their past and allows them to maintain their culture and mental health. Says Martin O’Reilly of Cashel, “Horses mean everything to a Traveller.”

Instagram:  @bobnewman1950


Some people photograph at home. Others travel to make their pictures. That’s me. I love to travel and make pictures of people and places.

When I started to photograph, I would select a destination and the photography would come second. Now, more often than not, what I might see and who I might meet along the way have become the driving force behind my travel. Going off the beaten path holds particular appeal.

I most like to photograph people and their environments. Initially, I wanted to go to a different location every time. Now I prefer to return to one general location, digging deeper to explore the lives and cultures of those that I am photographing. I have learned that going back is not repetition. Rarely are things the same. Always, there are new opportunities.

My hope is that those viewing my photographs will begin to see things in a new way and be encouraged to reflect on and appreciate both our similarities & differences.

Bob Newman

2779 NW 26th Place

Gainesville, Florida 32605


Email:  bob.newman1950@gmail.com

Cell:  352-317-4837

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