Travellers: Images of Labre Park, Ballyfermot, 1968 and 1969

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Labre ParkLabre Park was the first site built specifically for Travellers by a Local Authority in Ireland. It was opened in September 1967 at a cost of £50,000 and consisted of 39 concrete 'tigíns' in a row off Kylemore Road. Each 'tigín' was composed of a living room with a stove, a lavatory, and a place to wash. Residents of Labre Park slept in their caravans which were parked beside or behind each 'tigín'. Rents at Labre Park ranged from ten to thirty shillings per week.

View Labre Park Gallery.

The site was named after St. Benedict Joseph Labre (1748-1783) who is the patron saint of Travellers.

There was great optimism surrounding the opening of Labre Park with one American sociologist calling it 'the most human and sensitive project of its kind'. An Irish Times report in 1967 referred to Labre Park as 'a luxury camping site'.

The first three families moved in on the 4 September 1967 and all the 'tigíns' were occupied by 1968. A school was opened in 1969 with four teachers and eighty pupils.

The initial optimism waned as newspapers reported that residents found the living space too cramped and cold in the winter. There was not enough space for keeping ponies and stock-in-trade such as metal and wood.

These previously unseen photos from the Dublin City Council Photographic Collection depict the Labre Park settlement in its early days of hope and promise.

Further Resources

Dublin City Public Libraries has a wide range of sources on the social history of Dublin, some of which are available online and some through the Dublin City Public Libraries network.

The following online resources can be accessed free of charge at your local library (access links via our NetVibes portal). Ask library staff for information and assistance.

  • Libraries and Archives Digital Repository: Digital records relating to Dublin, including photographs, postcards, letters, maps and ephemeral material. Highlights of the collection include the Fáilte Ireland Photographic Collection, Wide Street Commission Map Collection (1757-1851), the Irish Theatre Archive and the Birth of the Republic Collection, which comprises material from the period of the foundation of the Irish state.
  • Irish Times Digital Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Times from the mid-nineteenth century until the present.
  • Irish Newspaper Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Independent and a range of other newspapers.
  • The Ireland-JSTOR Collection: This online archive of academic articles can also be accessed free of charge at your local library.

For further reading, consult the Library Catalogue.

View Labre Park Gallery

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