Original acrylic painting on 12"x 12" stretched canvas.
NAN JOYCE (1940-2018)
Irish human rights activist.
Nan Joyce was born Née O’Donoghue in Cloheen, Tipperary. Second of 9 children to horse trainer John O’Donoghue and Née McCann. Her father, an avid reader, taught his children well. He died when Nan was only 12, in a Garda cell. Reasons for his arrest and death are a mystery. Her mother was sent to prison for theft, in an attempt, as a widow, to support her family. Nan took over the role of mother to her siblings.
At 16 Nan married fellow Traveller John Joyce. They had 11 children.
In 1981 Joyce and her family were forced to move from a Clondalkin halting site to Tallaght. After enrolling her children to school there, Dublin Co. Council again wanted her and over a 100 other traveller families to move, without fulfilling their legal obligation to offer an alternative place to live.
Hostile locals stormed the camps, wielding hurls shouting “Out! Out! Out!”. The elderly and young were terrified. Some locals stood with the Traveller families, including RTE’s Gay Byrne, who broadcast his radio show from the site, giving Joyce her first opportunity to speak publicly about the injustices they were forced to endure.
She wrote a Traveller’s Manifesto, describing their needs and delivered it to all local newspapers. She co-founded the Committee for the Rights of Travellers, and in 1982 became the first Traveller candidate in an Irish general election.
She later lived in Belfast where she continued to fight for human rights all over Ireland. She wrote her autobiography ‘Traveller’ in 1985.
In 2010 Irish President Mary McAleese presented her with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, recognising her as one of Irelands most inspirational woman.