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Gardai target thugs after two gangs feud in multiple violent brawls as politicians call for ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown

  • Stephen Breen , Crime Editor
  • Published : 17:48, 11 Sep 2023
  • Updated : 17:48, 11 Sep 2023

POLITICIANS have called for a “zero tolerance” crackdown against two warring gangs following a series of violent incidents in Galway over the weekend.

Shocking images of the clashes and car smashes were widely shared on social media.

Two people were knocked down by a black coloured speeding car after it drove into a crowd in Galway

Two men were knocked down by a speeding car after it drove into a crowd of people near the Galway Shopping Centre.

Following the incident, four people were brought to hospital. Two also suffered stab wounds.

The car smash comes after a number of violent clashes in Galway city last Friday and Saturday.

During the incident on Sunday, a vehicle was also badly damaged and videos shared showed a large group of men fighting with each other.

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Gardai also seized a number of weapons in a follow-up search. Two vehicles are also being examined but no arrests have been made.

Investigators believe the trouble is linked to two gangs based in Galway and Mayo .

One source said: “This feud has escalated in recent months and every violent action is followed by more attacks.

“The dispute shows no sign of ending and both factions aren’t afraid to use violence. These gangs have no problem engaging in violence in broad daylight.”

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A case conference on the incidents was held in Galway yesterday morning by Gardai. They are being investigated by Gardai under ‘Operation Trinomial’.

Gardai suspect two families in Mayo have forged an alliance and have vowed to target two families in Galway.

The feud, which originated in 2019 after a clash between two prison inmates, has escalated this year.

In recent incidents of violence, Gardai have investigated arson attacks, shots fired at homes and cars rammed.

Galway County Councillor James Charity branded the scenes “outrageous”.

He said: “The Chief Supt needs to assign additional Garda resources urgently to deal with this and if he doesn’t have them available, the Justice Minister needs to intervene and direct the Commissioner to provide those resources immediately.

“There can be zero tolerance to people that think they are above the law and are prepared to conduct themselves like this in broad daylight on repeated days without any fear.”

Independent councillor Christy Hyland also said he wants to see more Gardai on the ground.

He added: “I’ve no doubt lives could be lost as a result of this feud and communities need to be protected.”

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Gardaí on alert over 'fears of feud' at Mayo pilgrimage site - report

A special policing plan is to be put in place at Croagh Patrick later this month amid fears a number of feuding families could be involved in violent clashes at the pilgrimage site.

That's according to a report today in the Irish Independent.

The newspaper revealed: "Sources say that gardaí are closely monitoring the situation over concerns that individuals involved in a number of serious and complicated disputes could pitch up at the famous mountain under the guise of climbing it for charity.

"Armed gardaí may patrol Croagh Patrick on Saturday, July 22, if the threat level is deemed to be severe enough on the day, sources said last night.

"There is so much concern about potential violence that Westport gardaí are actively trying to determine who exactly will attend on the day and have requested information from officers nationwide about this."

The report suggests that members of rival gangs could turn up at a gathering at the Reek on the date in question - leading to the prospect of violence breaking out.

The report continued: "Some of those who could attend the religious peak are involved in bitter family feuds in counties Clare, Galway and Mayo where there have been multiple violent incidents in the past year.

"Last December Ennis District Court heard that up to 10 families were involved in different disputes in that Co Clare town alone in which there has been a number of shooting incidents and other violence.

"Detectives in Co Mayo and Co Galway are investigating multiple suspects under Operation Trinomial in an attempt to tackle feuding families in Connacht.

"With multiple family feuds ongoing, gardaí have been investigating incidents of petrol bomb attacks in which property has been severely damaged as well as car-ramming incidents and multiple death threats often made online.

“What is certain if individuals who are involved in these type of feuds turn up in numbers at Croagh Patrick on Saturday week it will not make for a very pleasant day for anyone, a source said.

"Last month seven men were arrested and six were charged before the courts as part of a massive investigation involving 85 gardaí during searches in Ballinrobe and the Ballybane and Bohermore areas of Galway city."

traveller fight galway

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traveller fight galway

Knife fight erupts at cemetery as families clash during two funerals

traveller fight galway

Armed gardaí and a helicopter unit descended on a suspected knife fight between two rival Traveller clans in a Galway cemetery on Thursday.

The incident left almost a dozen people hospitalised.

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Story continues below.

Fighting broke out in Tuam cemetery after two funerals, one at Tuam Cathedral for Martin Ward at 11.30am before another at 1pm for Teresa Ward.

traveller fight galway

The deceased were not directly related.

Blood was seen on footpaths surrounding the cemetery and up to 11 people were rushed to hospital in five ambulances, one with severe slashes to their body.

One person was reportedly armed with a saw. Tuam councillor Joe Sheridan condemned the violence, saying: ‘They have let their family name down by their actions.’

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Several stamped and kicked in head in shocking Galway brawl caught on camera

Passersby captured the brawl break out as two men square up to fight with a crowd gathered.

  • 15:53, 11 JUL 2022

traveller fight galway

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Chaos broke out in the Eyre Square area of Galway city over the weekend as a large group of men fought a running brawl.

The fight broke out on the street in the busy Prospect Hill area of Galway on what is believed to be Sunday night into Monday morning with several clips emerging online from the melee.

Passersby captured the brawl break out as two men square up to fight with a crowd gathered. A third man punches one of the men squaring off and then a flurry of blows before a taxi passes in frame, briefly obscuring the view.

Read more: Man stabbed by sickening pitchfork mob on Irish housing estate

A man seems to collapse laying on the ground before the fight spills across the road and men chase another man, kicking him as he stumbles off the ground.

The second clip shows another phase of the brawl, further up the street as a smaller group grapple with each other in the middle of the road as a taxi drives by, eventually moving onto the footpath.

The final clip is a man seemingly laying in a doorway as another man seems to stamp on him.

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traveller fight galway

LIVE: Galway shopping centre war as huge gang hurley hammer brawl breaks out

Someone was also run over by a car during the gang fight

  • Updated 17:59, 11 SEP 2023

The huge fight occurred in outside Galway Shopping Centre, in Headford Road

A violent fight broke out in Galway city last night as videos even show someone was run over by a car during the incident.

The incident occurred in broad daylight yesterday evening, September 10, in the car park outside Galway Shopping Centre, in Headford Road.

A number of videos taken during the incident and seen by Galway Beo show the brawl involved a huge number of people as locals witnessed the incident in shock.

Read more: Galway gardai outnumbered as massive brawls breaks out on busy Galway street

The videos show a number of people hitting and damaging a car for several minutes. The vehicle is then shown empty and with broken windows.

In other clips, a car is seen accelerating towards the crowd and running over someone before leaving the scene.

The community and Galway councillors have been shocked by the brawl, which is the latest in a number of violent incidents that recently occurred around the city.

Among them, Michael Crowe said violence in Galway “is out of control”.

Michael Crowe wrote on X: “A short time ago I received more videos of another violent incident that happened in the last hour in the City. They are extremely disturbing viewing. For now, it would not be right to publish these. One thing is clear, the violence is now out of control.”

In a post on Facebook, Galway County Councillor James Charity labelled the brawl as “outrageous” and “unacceptable” and then called for immediate action and “zero tolerance”.

Cllr James Charity said: “The scenes in the Galway Shopping Centre complex this evening and around Galway over the last few days are nothing short of outrageous. Cars being used to run people down, open mass brawls, and weapons being used repeatedly, all in broad daylight and in public spaces.

“The Chief Superintendent needs to assign additional Garda resources urgently to deal with this and if he doesn't have them available, the Justice Minister needs to intervene and direct the Commissioner to provide those resources immediately. There can be zero tolerance to people that think they are above the law and are prepared to conduct themselves like this in broad daylight on repeated days without any fear. The violence exhibited can't be accepted in any civilised society, from any sector. The reputational damage done to Galway has been enormous and is simply unacceptable.”

Galway Beo has contacted an Garda Siochana for a comment.

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Galway college student's accommodation warning over scam after losing thousands

A university student in Galway has shared her story of being conned out of thousands of euro in an accommodation scam, and has warned others what to look out for.

The 18-year-old student from Roscommon, but originally Ukraine, lost €2,500 after she sought out accommodation in Galway where she planned on attending a one year business course, before going on to NUIG to take an accountancy course the following year.

The woman saw an apartment available to rent through Facebook and messaged the owner on the platform.

Read the full story here .

In other news, a 'Sex magician' is hoping to open a new Galway cafe to 'maximise pleasure'

A woman who self confesses to be a sex magician plans on opening a very different sort of cafe in Galway with one goal in mind.

Billie Bryan, 40, is a practitioner of "sex magic" which aims to give both herself and her partners "maximum pleasure" and currently resides in Galway with her partner.

Originally from the Cayman islands, Billie first became involved in witchcraft in 2019 after falling on hard times and has praised the lifestyle for helping her find her feet again.

"I've spoken to many witches locally but they're just really underground or sidelined somehow. I want to help to normalise witchcraft and mysticism as a whole and detach all these negative associations people have with witches in general."

You can read the full story here .

In separate news, an Irish businessman has died following a serious assault that occurred in County Mayo over the weekend

Peter McDermott, aged in his 60s, died yesterday, September 10, after an alleged one-punch attack.

The incident occurred on Saturday morning in the High Street area of Westport, outside the popular pub The Clock Tavern.

Sources revealed to Galway Beo that Peter McDermott fell backwards after being punched by a man following a “brief altercation”.

Mr McDermott was brought to Mayo University Hospital, where he was on life support. However, he died yesterday afternoon, with his relatives at his bedside.

A postmortem will take place after the State Pathologist was notified, which will help establish if he sustained the serious injuries from hitting his head after falling following the punch.

Mr McDermott’s death was followed by the release of the suspect arrested in connection with this case. Detectives questioned the man, who is in his mid-20s, for 24 hours before he was released with a file going to the DPP.

The victim, a well known businessman, is a married father-of-one who was living in Murrisk near Croagh Patrick. Mr McDermott is a native of Co Leitrim but lived in Mayo for some time.

Local Cllr Christy Hyland said: “What happened is a tragedy for all concerned.” He added that his thoughts and prayers are with those left devastated by Mr McDermott’s death.

Full story here .

Gardai have seized weapons and two vehicles

The spokesperson continued: "Gardaí have seized a number of weapons which are understood to have been used during the course of the incident. Two vehicles have also been seized for a technical examination.

"Investigations are ongoing at this time."

Four people have been injured in the incident as gardai are investigating

A garda spokesperson told Galway Beo: "Gardaí in Galway are investigating a serious public order incident that occurred on the Headford Road in Galway yesterday evening, Sunday 10th September 2023 at approximately 6.10pm.

"A large number of people were involved in an altercation in a car park on the Headford Road. Two men were assaulted and are currently receiving treatment at University Hospital Galway for non-life threatening injuries.

"During the course of the incident, a vehicle was driven at speed at a group of people. A man and woman are receiving treatment at University Hospital Galway for their injuries, which are understood to be non-life threatening."

The area has been taped off by gardai

Galway Beo has contacted An Garda Siochana for a comment

Videos show someone was violently hit by a car

Videos show a number of people hitting and damaging a car for several minutes.

A violent fight broke out in Galway city yesterday

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traveller fight galway

Bare-Faced and Bare-Knuckled: Fighting Traveller Families

Don’t let the bandaged fist in the photo fool you. knuckle, ian palmer’s documentary about the bare-fisted boxing tradition of the irish travellers, might be about blood, but it’s not about gore. the blood palmer seems most interested in is the stuff that pumps through the veins of the intricately connected traveller community he visited and filmed over 12 years, a society where cousins marry, work together and, when the occasion arises, beat each other senseless..

traveller fight galway

Don’t let the bandaged fist in the photo fool you. Knuckle , Ian Palmer’s documentary about the bare-fisted boxing tradition of the Irish Travellers, might be about blood, but it’s not about gore. The blood Palmer seems most interested in is the stuff that pumps through the veins of the intricately connected Traveller community he visited and filmed over 12 years, a society where cousins marry, work together and, when the occasion arises, beat each other senseless.

“I wanted to make a film from inside their world,” Palmer told indie/WIRE when Knuckle premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. “The idea and the approach was simple. I spent as much time as I could with the families with a minimal crew and small camera.”

His approach resonated at HBO, which is adapting the documentary into a new drama series. Industry blogs hint that the HBO treatment will trend toward dark comedy, since it is being developed by writer Irvine Welsh (author of the gritty novel Trainspotting , on which the film of the same name was based), and director Jody Hill of Rough House Pictures, the project’s producer, whose politically incorrect comedy Easthouse & Down  also airs on HBO.

Knuckle will have its New York premiere on September 30 at Irish Film New York, which will feature five other recent Irish releases. This new screening series of contemporary Irish films is co-presented by New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House, and runs September 30 through October 2 at NYU’s Cantor Film Center.

Festival founder and curator Niall McKay, who is also the founder and director of the San Francisco Irish Film Festival and co-founder of the LA Irish Film Festival, said he deliberately chose films for the series that depict Ireland as it is today.

“I particularly wanted films that had a real physical effect on me,” he said, “ones that made me cry or laugh or get angry.”

“We’re pleased that Niall McKay has chosen to work with Glucksman Ireland House to present this excellent addition to the city’s arts scene,” said Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chair of the Glucksman Ireland House NYU Advisory Board. She praised the festival for presenting “works that would not otherwise be seen by a wide audience.  It should be an exciting experience for our Irish American community.”  

Besides Knuckle , Irish Film New York will also feature the New York premieres of the Galway Film Fleadh-winning Parked with Colm Meany, a study of a friendship between two men who live in their cars, and The Runway , the story of a downed pilot in Cork rescued by a little boy, with Weeds star Demián Bichir.  Other films include the bittersweet coming-of-ager, 32A , directed by Marion Quinn, a hilarious peek at Dublin teenagers called Pyjama Girls , and Sensation , about a man who tries to lose his virginity but ends up running a brothel. Directors and stars of the films will appear at Q&A sessions after each screening.

There will also be an industry panel in conjunction with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where filmmakers and producers will discuss the direction of Irish film at home and abroad. 

McKay says the mission of Irish Film New York is to expose American audiences to the best in Irish contemporary cinema and to give Irish filmmakers “a fair crack at the U.S. market.”  It will join with the San Francisco and Los Angeles Irish Film Festivals to bring the filmmakers of Knuckle , Parked , and The Runway on a tri-city tour in anticipation of each film’s U.S. release. Knuckle will appear in independent U.S. theatres this December, with The Runway and Parked following shortly after. Director Palmer admitted to Irish Independent Weekend that he did not approach the filming of Knuckle like an investigative journalist.

“It was more about observing the [Traveller] families and trying to let the life reveal itself. The reasons behind the fighting were difficult to get at. The feuds stretched back over generations. It was always about defending your name and family pride.”

The three rival families that he studied, the Quinn McDonaghs, the Nevins and the Joyces, are all related, often sharing the same grandparents. As one of the women remarks, “We’re all one in the end.” Even if a Nevin married a Quinn, or a Quinn has a mother who is a Joyce, the rationale for fighting rests on defending just one family’s name.

While Palmer is able to ferret out the powerful origin of one particular feud, the sources of the disputes don’t seem as important as the disputes themselves. “Would it not be possible for you guys to get together to talk about it and make up?” the director asks Michael Quinn McDonagh, on his way to a fight in England. “You’re crazy,” Michael laughs, dumfounded at Palmer’s naiveté.

The matches are called “fair fights” and are organized with unexpected formality: when a challenge is issued, it is promptly accepted, a date and location are set, and the fighters hit the gym to train weeks  before the match. Fair fights take place in secret locations with few onlookers. There are referees from neutral families and lots of rules. And everybody obeys the rules. Anyone who doesn’t is disqualified, and his family takes the loss.

Technology and money play crucial roles in this tradition-bound ritual: Families exchange videotaped challenges and fight results are reported by cell phones. Bets are negotiated for astonishing amounts of cash; winner (and family) takes all.

The fighters accept Palmer’s presence with the nonchalance of a generation bred on reality TV.  But despite his desire to let the story emerge from the people themselves, they never forget the camera is there. Dodging it, challenging it, playing with it, they turn the camera – with narrator Palmer – into another character in the film.

Palmer said it was only during editing that he realized that the narrative would work better if he allowed himself to be an obvious part of his film. “The film is more honest for accepting that Knuckle is my experience of this world,” he said, “and my relationship to the people in the film and how that affected me.”

His “shaky cam” character dances around the fair fight scenes with a perilous immediacy. At any moment, you expect a fist to fly into the lens. Because he interviews both families involved in a fight, Palmer never appears to be taking sides. Even though he follows one fighter’s story more closely than others, he is not making a fight movie. There is no  Big Match to decide it all, no good guys or bad.    James Quinn McDonagh, the soft-spoken man whose winning battles form the core of the film, says over and over again he doesn’t want to fight, but is provoked into it by the other families, claiming he’d like “to be known for something more positive.”

James doesn’t like to train either. “I’d rather be socializing,” he quips. But when a challenge comes from the Joyces or the Nevins, he comes out with fists blaring. “It’s the best way to sort things out,” he explains. Even after he swears off fighting, he is seen anxiously prepping his brother by cell phone before a fight, exclaiming as he waits for the results, “Grandfathers in Heaven, send Michael the power!” 

Why do the fights continue? Palmer sees “fair fighting as still mainly about family and individual honor and pride,” a deeply felt emotion expressed here in macho posturing: “We will fight because we are men, we’re Joyce men.”

Then there’s the fast cash from the betting. The suggestion of inconsistent employment implies that fighting is a needed source of income, and might also be a way to establish self-respect when the outside world offers too little.

But within a closed community, the flip side of self-respect can be a cult of personality. Joe Joyce, an older man who nevertheless continues to fight, boasts, “I’m still King of the Travellers!” One of James’ opponents, the dewy-faced youngster, Davy Nevins, says the fights are not about revenge.

“James thinks he’s better than us,” he explains calmly. “People think he’s a god.  I don’t want to defeat the Quinns, I just want to defeat James.”

Some Nevins relatives suggest a possible link between being a Traveller and the need to keep fighting. When an old man muses, “There’s always been wars,” the younger Spike Nevin replies, “But we’re Travellers. At least wars are about something. Something right.”

Conspicuously absent from the film are Traveller women, who are reluctant to appear on camera. Yet, the only strong voices condemning the fighting come from a sofa full of older women gathered for an after-fight party. “I think it should end,” one woman states firmly. “All this fighting over names. It’s an awful life to have. It should be finished.”

“I don’t know what they’re fighting for,” James’ mother adds.

“When my sons grow up, they aren’t doing it,” a much younger woman declares with convincing resolution. But she quickly adds a caveat, “If I can help it.” 

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Fighting between traveller families abates after nine are hospitalised

Disturbances between two rival traveller families in co galway over the past few days have abated, according to gardai.

DISTURBANCES between two rival traveller families in Co Galway over the past few days have abated, according to gardai. Nine people were hospitalised, including one man who was seriously injured.

The initial row broke out during the funeral of a well known traveller, Mr Bernie Mongan, in Tuam on Sunday afternoon.

A "near riot" occurred at the local cemetery, Supt Bill Fennell said. The two families involved were the Wards and McDonaghs neither family is related to the deceased man.

Seven people were hospitalised when extensive damage was caused to the graveyard. Iron bars and stones were used in a confrontation which involved more than 30 people.

"We do not know what started it. There is a report that one family was offended when members of another family stood on a grave belonging to their relatives," Supt Fennell said.

A man who was hit on the head with a stone was transferred to hospital in Dublin with a serious eye injury. Two others had knife wounds. The seven people were brought to casualty in University College Hospital, Galway, where gardai and security staff had to quell a further disturbance.

Gardai were again called to halting sites in Galway and Tuam when related incidents occurred later in the day. In Tuam several caravans were sabotaged.

During Monday afternoon another disturbance took place in Tuam when a group of men arrived outside a house carrying hatchets and slash hooks. They smashed windows in the house and wrecked two vans parked outside. Before gardai intervened, up to 50 people were involved.

Supt Fennell said there had been a number of incidents in Tuam in recent years involving disturbances within the travelling community, but "this was the most vicious" no.

"Fortunately garda was injured in a potentially dangerous situation," he added. "These incidents were confined to two large travelling families, some of whom live in the area. It will take some time to fully investigate what happened. We will do this exhaustively."

Among the "staggering range" of weapons confiscated by gardai were slash hooks, shovels, lump hammers, hatchets, saws, hurleys, cudgels in the form of plastic piping with pieces of lead taped on top, iron bars, timber, stones and butchers' knives.

A Tuam county councillor, Mr Pat Finnegan (FF), said there was widespread dismay and disappointment in the whole community at what had happened. The town had done so much for the travelling community, he said, and these types of incidents did not help this process.

Most travellers in Galway were upset by what had happened, Ms Rachel Doyle, of Galway Travellers Support Group, said. "We condemn such anti social behaviour. We do not defend such actions. The law has to do something about it. We have no problem with that."

The one fear was that all travellers would be branded by what had happened, she said, and that this would cloud matters when it came to providing much needed services and accommodation for them.

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The Traveller Community in Galway

Travellers are an indigenous ethnic minority with a diverse and dynamic culture with a nomadic tradition. Traveller nomadism, the importance of the extended family, the Traveller language, oral traditions through storytelling and song, music and the organisation of the Traveller economy all provide visible and tangible markers of the distinct culture and unique identity of the Traveller community. With their distinct way of life and traditions, members of the Traveller community have contributed to Galway for centuries, bringing a rich cultural diversity that adds to the wellbeing of Irish society.

A Poem by Bridget Mongan

He would sit outside holding the weight of his body on one knee, The tools of his trade surrounding him as he worked tirelessly.

His hands were calloused he worked at his own pace, years of working in all types of weather showed upon his face

He took great care while working with his hammer, klipse and stake whether it be a bucket, coal scuttle or saucepan .never taking a break.

When his work was done he would load his ware upon his bike and travel many a mile or more to sell his ware. He would knock on many a door.

People knew him all over and his work was in demand. Many a time he would be greeted-  “How ya Mick” and a shake of a hand.

He worked hard for his family the best friend we ever had. We are all so proud to have known him,  the man we call – Dad

According to Census 2016, Galway is the county with the highest population of Travellers in the country, enumerated as 2,647. This is an increase of 6.7% since census 2011 (over twice the rate of increase for the whole county).

Galway city has the second highest population of Travellers (across all cities) with a Traveller population of 1,598 individuals.

Tuam is the town with the highest number of Travellers in the country, with a population of 737 people. Ballinasloe’s Traveller population numbers 513. Between Galway city and Galway county, the population of Travellers is 4,245 individuals, representing 1.6% of the population.

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Galway Traveller Movement Launch Anti-Racism Toolkit

Galway Traveller Movement has launched a new toolkit to help members of their community take action against racism, discrimination and hate crimes.

The kit outlines Travellers legal rights under the law, and how they can respond to the racism they experience.

GTM spokesperson, Nora Corcoran, says they have posted over 800 toolkits to members of the Traveller community in Galway City and County.

“Racism and discrimination are a violation of human rights. They are wrong, they are against the law, and they are bad for mental health. This toolkit aims to support our community in defending themselves against racism.”

Nora says research shows that 70% of Travellers experience discrimination on a daily basis. “And it’s getting worse, not better as more and more Travellers – including children and teenagers – become victims of hate crime.”

“The Government is failing to protect Travellers and it’s part of a general reluctance in Ireland to recognise the widespread discrimination experienced by our community.”

She points to Behaviour and Attitudes research which shows that over 80% of Irish people would not employ a Traveller.

“If this discriminatory view was based on someone’s gender, colour or sexuality, there would be a huge outcry.  But there’s barely a whimper about the 80% unemployment rate Travellers face as a result of such racist views.”

Nora is GTM’s Traveller Homes Now Campaign Coordinator, and she says employment is just one of many areas of discrimination. She cites some examples of what Travellers have to face.

On her Confirmation day, a young Traveller and her family were turned away from the hotel they’d reserved for dinner.  The staff told her they were ‘overbooked’.

Nora says lots of families have had similar experiences but this family took a successful case for discrimination against the hotel.

“These are unfortunately the things that we have to do as a community,” says Nora. “But claiming back the right to public spaces is the first step in holding those responsible to account for the hurt and damage caused.”

“We want to encourage more Travellers to use the law to defend their rights. So, this toolkit explains how to report hate crimes to the Gardaí and how to pursue incidents of racism and discrimination.”

traveller fight galway

The toolkit also emphasises how important it is for Travellers to record the details of each incident. “This increases the chances of taking a successful case, and highlighting the level of racism our community faces.”

Galway Traveller Movement says discrimination against Travellers in Ireland is acknowledged at the EU level.

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has expressed concerns about the accommodation conditions of Travellers.

Young children and their families continue to live in appalling, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, they said in a 2022 report.

The ECRI and the Irish Human rights and Equality Commission has also spoken out about the need to legislate against hate crimes to protect Travellers.

“The Government needs to take action to protect our community and support zero tolerance for racism and hate crimes against us,” says Nora Corcoran.

“Firstly, they need to ensure the full implementation of the National Action Plan Against Racism. This plan recognises the specificity of the racism experienced by the Traveller community. And, secondly,  they need to enforce meaningful hate legislation.

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traveller fight galway

Shocking moment feuding traveller families batter each other in organised bareknuckle mass brawl

  • Published : 10:50, 21 Oct 2021
  • Updated : 11:48, 21 Oct 2021
  • Published : Invalid Date,

SHOCKING footage shows feuding traveller families battering each other in an organised mass brawl.

The bareknuckle fight erupted in a basketball court in Middleton, Greater Manchester, on July 27 this year.

A group of men gathered at an organised brawl after a 'long-running dispute' between two families

Manchester Crown Court heard the violence exploded after a "long-running dispute" between two families.

Two men are seen trading blows as a large group gathered to watch the fight.

Others join in the as the scrap sprawls across the court in broad daylight.

Thomas Joyce, 44, is seen in a blue tank top in three-minute video, which was uploaded to YouTube.

He is seen removing the top and punching a man at one point as others begin to fight.

Towards the end of the video, a group of men kick a man who is on the ground in a horrifying assault.

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The men swarm around the victim who is hit as he lays on the floor, although Joyce wasn’t involved in this attack.

Joyce was fined £500 after pleading guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, Manchester Evening News report s.

Prosecutor Brian Berlyne said: “It appears that it has been uploaded by various observers of a fight between two members of the external family, Joyce being one of the families.

“Police have identified two external families in a long running dispute.

Several people are involved in the violence, the defendant throws punches Prosecutor Brian Berlyne

“This took place on a basketball court on Langley, in Middleton.

“Thomas Joyce is identified as being one of the parties - you can see he is wearing a light blue vest and he takes it off during the fighting.

“Several people are involved in the violence, the defendant throws punches, though he did not take part in the footage of the man who was being kicked whilst he lay on the ground.”

No other men involved in the brawl have been arrested of prosecuted.

It’s a bunch of men running around a basketball court throwing punches at each other Judge Hilary Manley

Judge Hilary Manley said of the footage: “It’s a bunch of men running around a basketball court throwing punches at each other.”

Joyce was said to have a number of previous convictions for violence, affray, public order offences and burglary.

Daniel Travers, defending, said: “It’s an unpleasant video.

"Clearly this sort of video should not take place - though they were willing parties.

'ORGANISED VIOLENCE'

“Mr Joyce played a relatively minor role and has been out of trouble for many years.

“There have been some difficulties in the travelling community. He has been making efforts to try and calm matters down."

Mr Travers said the police had approached Joyce, who "has some influence’" to help keep the communities calm.

He added that the basketball court was in a private place, owned by the travelling community, but admitted the fight wasn't "lawful or acceptable".

Sentencing, Judge Manley said: “You took part in some organised violence between two groups of people, you threw some punches.

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“It was an unedifying spectacle, really. At 44-years-old, you’re really too old to behave like this, you must surely have better things to do with your time.

“You’re not setting a good example for the young men in your community.”

Thomas Joyce was fined £500 over the brawl

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traveller fight galway

Two Galway towns dubbed among the 'most beautiful' in Ireland

T wo of Galway's most picturesque spots have been named among the top 12 most beautiful towns in Ireland , according to a new ranking.

The charming town of Roundstone secured the ninth spot on the list, while the stunning Aran Islands came in at number five. Making up the top five were Lahinch in Clare and Doolin , which took the second spot.

Roundstone earned a score of 4.8 on Google, 4.5 on Tripadvisor and had 32,903 hashtags on Instagram, giving it an overall index score of 19.

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Meanwhile, the Aran Islands scored 4.7 on Google, 4 on Tripadvisor and boasted a massive 127,536 hashtags on Instagram, resulting in a total index score of 14.

The ranking system used a unique index score based on the number of hashtags and views each location has on Instagram , as well as their Trip Advisor rankings. The lower the overall index score, the higher the ranking.

Here are the other top 12 most beautiful towns in Ireland :

  • Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
  • Dingle, Kerry and Doolin, Clare
  • Cork City, Cork
  • Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
  • Aran Islands, Galway and Lahinch, Clare
  • Adare, Limerick
  • The Burren, Clare
  • Kenmare, Kerry
  • Kilkee, Clare, Roundstone, Galway, Dunmore East, Waterford and Carlingford, Lough
  • Mullaghmore, Sligo
  • Enniskerry, Wicklow and Dunfanaghy, Donegal
  • Bunratty, Clare

For all the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our FREE newsletters here .

The ranking by Betway was compiled using reviews from Tripadvisor, Google Reviews and Instagram.

For the latest local news and features on Irish America, visit our homepage here .

Aran Islands, Co Galway

Hotels are returning fire in the 'junk fee' war. Don't be a casualty.

Robert Kraus encountered the worst junk fee ever on a recent visit to Washington, D.C. That's when his hotel added a surprise $20 "Daily Mandatory Destination Charge" to his bill.

A Daily Mandatory what? 

Yeah, that's just a fancy new word for a resort fee. Kraus' surcharge covered food and beverage credit, bike rental and "free" internet. But Kraus, a meeting planner from Miami, said this one was different: The hotel had cleverly repackaged it as a mandatory tax.

"They said they had no control over the fee," he said. "I pointed out there is no mandatory destination tax and that they can very much drop this ridiculous fee."

Check out  Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

Those annoying hotel charges were supposed to disappear after the government declared war on junk fees earlier this year. Instead, hotels have returned fire in the junk fee war by adding surprising new extras. Customers are fighting them in the courts and Congress, but there are also ways of killing the fees one at a time.

The average hotel now charges a mandatory daily resort fee of $26, up 3% from last year, according to Randy Greencorn, publisher of ResortFeeChecker.com,

"Hotels have gotten creative in their terminology," he said. "A resort fee is sometimes called a destination fee, administrative fee, cleaning fee, service fee or a utility fee. Some hotels now charge towel fees, bed sheet fees and concierge fees. These are all mandatory fees on top of the room rate and taxes."

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Wait, aren't hotel fees going away?

Hang on. Didn't the Biden administration declare war on junk fees like Kraus' daily mandatory destination charge earlier this year? Yes, it did. But instead of backing off and quoting an all-in rate, some hotels have doubled down on the extras. Even proposed legislation that would ban resort fees has not deterred the hotel industry from piling on more fees.

"Some hotels are continuing to drive up the average daily room rate using hidden fees," said Tim Hentschel, CEO of HotelPlanner.com. The most common fees this summer have been cleaning surcharges and resort fees – ahem, I mean, destination fees.

"Sometimes the fee is verbally disclosed to the guest at check-in, but other times a guest might not see it unless they look closely at their check-out invoice," he adds.

Hotel junk fees come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from daily surcharges for items that used to be included in your hotel bill (like towels or "free" internet usage) to new ones like a "worker protection fee," which supposedly covers the cost of a new law that increases hotel workers’ minimum wage.

No one knows how many hotels charge "junk" fees. But based on the number of complaints I've received as a consumer advocate, and some of the lawsuit activity in recent months, it's safe to say many hotels are adding junk fees during periods of peak demand and high occupancy levels. This has left travelers infuriated.

Will hotel guests grow to 'love' junk fees?

Hotels didn't just sneak in more fees after the administration said it would fight them. At least one hotel did so openly. In a highly unusual move, the Shay Hotel in Culver City, California, sent me a news release claiming it had developed a destination fee that opens a door "to a world of exclusive experiences" and "that guests will genuinely love."

For $30 a night, it includes two single-ride Metro passes per stay, a daily drop-off service via rideshare service within a 2-mile radius of the hotel, access to a yoga studio, "free" electric vehicle charging and "complimentary" domestic phone calls.

If the nightly resort fee (sorry, destination fee) were optional, that might be a pretty good deal. So I checked with the hotel and was disappointed to learn that the $30 fee is mandatory. So technically, neither the phone calls nor the EV charging is "free."

The Shay's resort fee promotion is remarkable not because of its claim to make its guests love resort fees (it won't) but because of its audaciousness. It comes only a few months after the White House pledged to kill hotel resort fees. It also reveals the hotel industry's attitude toward junk fees. Administration officials can talk all they want – and hotels will keep raising their fees and adding new ones.

The Shay Hotel did not respond to a request for comment.

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Amid junk fee fury, guests are taking hotels to court 

Hotel guests are frustrated with the lack of meaningful relief from junk fees, so they've taken matters into their own hands.

This summer, a group of hotel guests filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against several Marriott hotels , alleging that daily fees called “Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance Costs Surcharge” in Los Angeles area hotels violate California's unfair competition and consumer protection laws. 

The Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance is a new city law that requires hotel employers to compensate housekeepers if they are required to clean more than a certain number of square feet in one eight-hour shift. It also prevents hotels from offering guests any incentive to decline daily room cleaning. 

The lawsuit estimates that one Los Angeles Marriott would collect roughly $3.6 million a year from the fees. It alleges that these extra fees are confusing and misleading to customers and don't go towards the cost of compliance with the ordinance.

The courts have been busy with hotel fees, particularly resort fees. Two years ago, Marriott settled with the state of Pennsylvania over the disclosure of resort fees. As part of the agreement, the hotel agreed to prominently disclose the total price of a hotel stay, including the room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website.

It's easy to see why hotel guests are so frustrated. In their view, hotels have stopped pretending that the fees are for anything other than profit. 

That's what Catherine Lux, a marketing consultant based in London, noticed when she checked into a hotel in Miami recently. The mandatory "resort fee" didn't even include the cost of a beach umbrella (it was an extra $25). 

"I'll never understand how they can justify charging so much extra for an umbrella instead of keeping guests safe from the sun as part of the already-extortionate and ridiculous resort fee," she said.

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Hotel junk fees will get worse before they get better

Why are hotels being so defiant? The Junk Fee Prevention Act , which would eliminate these bothersome surcharges, is unlikely to pass in an evenly split Congress, observers say.

"Hotels certainly won’t move to reduce these junk fees until they’re forced to by law or intense pressure from consumers," said Gillian Dewar, chief financial officer of Crediful , a personal finance website. "For the most part, consumers get irritated by these fees. But they accept them."

So that's it, then? The problem is us. We accept the fees, and the hotel industry interprets that as a green light to charge more.

Good news: You can fight junk fees – and win

Just because a hotel charges a junk fee doesn't mean you have to pay it. Here's how to avoid them:

  • Look before you book . The most ethical hotels include any mandatory fees as part of the room rate. The less ethical ones wait until the final screen – a practice called drip pricing – to tell you the all-in price. Either way, you should know exactly how much you'll pay for your hotel before you check in. If you don't, you have a compelling case for getting the fees removed.
  • Flash your card. Loyalty program members are often exempt from junk fees. If you're a member, let the hotel know. If you paid by credit card, you have another powerful tool for getting out of a junk fee. You can file a credit card chargeback and get the fee removed.
  • Call them out. Hotel owners are highly embarrassed when guests call them out over their resort fees. Even a low-level social media campaign is often enough to get these annoying extras removed from a bill. 

Kraus, the meeting planner, stood his ground when confronted with a destination charge. He calmly explained that as a member of the hotel's loyalty program, he was exempt from resort fees – even if they'd been renamed destination fee. 

"After much back and forth, they finally removed it from my bill," he said. "But wow! What will they think of next?"

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

Fear of polarization grows with landmark Declaration of Independence anniversary in two years

Historians worry the iconography of the era, the symbolic tricorn hats and "don't tread on me" flags, as well as revolutionary language, have been co-opted by bickering u.s. political factions..

BOSTON — After surveying the narrow wooden bridge at which American colonists first turned protest into armed uprising, Terry Howell said he was astonished by the scene where the historic battle of Concord played out.

"I imagined something huge and it was basically a small creek with a narrow wooden bridge over it," the Panama City, Florida resident said of the grassy New England field where thousands of British infantry and colonial Minutemen first engaged in combat. "It was kind of amazing to me that the British retreated so readily with such little fighting between the two sides. I guess the British were shocked to see how strong the opposing forces were there fighting on the bridge that day."

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Howell conceded he didn't know exactly what to expect when he showed up at the historic site of the April 1775 battle of the American Revolution. A native of nearby Georgia, Howell said he was steeped in Civil War history growing up but "was pretty much in the dark" about the colonies' late 18th century struggle for independence.

He and his wife, who is from the Boston area, are retired and just bought a camper to travel the country. Seeing the Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts last month whet his curiosity.

"I'm just kind of starting on my interest to explore the Revolutionary War," he said. "Now that we have this van, we'll be going back to the Boston area. We plan on doing a lot more history reconnaissance while we're up there."

America at 250: Do Republicans, Democrats own the founders and their ideas?

In two years, Boston, the surrounding communities of Lexington and Concord, and the country as a whole, will celebrate the semiquincentennial of the Declaration of Independence. The hope is Americans, like the Howells from the Florida Panhandle, will take the time to "explore" U.S. history as the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution's defining moment approaches in 2026.

As was the case for the bicentennial celebrations 50 years ago, there will be fireworks, parades and a multitude of festivities to honor the American story. But underlying the preparations is an undercurrent of apprehension and unease that the landmark moment could be derailed by the current divisive and tense political atmosphere across the U.S.

Already, some historians are concerned that much of the iconography of the era, the symbolic tricorn hats and "Don't tread on me" flags, as well as revolutionary language, words, phrases and ideas have been co-opted by the American political right and left.

Historian Robert Watson at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida said he is seeing a wedge developing already.

"It seems like people on the right identify with the Founders whereas people on the left identify with the founding principles," he said.

Watson said the semiquincentennial should be a moment of healing renewal, to reboot consensus behind a national purpose and a chance to unite in celebrating an extraordinary moment in time where the most brilliant political minds in history gathered in Philadelphia to change the world.

But, he fears, it might just "boil" into one faction claiming ownership of the historical figures at the center of the Declaration and the other claiming domain of their ideas.

"Good gracious, I worry about that," Watson said.

A tour of America, and various places where it all happened

The task of directing the festivities lands with the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, a 24-member panel with eight members of Congress and 16 private citizens. Forty-seven states have now created their own commissions to back the national panel's efforts, and added partner organizations such as the National Women's History Museum and National Congress of American Indians .

Rosie Rios, the commission's chair, notes that already 147 members of Congress have signed on , making it one of the largest caucuses on Capitol Hill. Florida is represented — U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar is a member and singer Gloria Estefan is involved as well.

"When you look at who's joined, it's almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans," said Rios. "We're doing this intentionally as a bipartisan, all-partisan and non-partisan effort. We want everyone to feel like this is their commemoration and celebration. We really want this to be a moment to reflect on our past, honor the contribution of all Americans and envision the future for generations to come."

On Wednesday, July 3, the commission will unveil it's "playbook" of America250's large-scale, high-impact and galvanizing public initiatives for the next two years to engage 350 million Americans here and abroad. One activity that was launched this March is a scholastic contest for students from grades three to 12.

The winners of that "What does America mean to you?" competition will be announced July 8, and be awarded field trips to "national treasures," including parks and monuments and places of interest. Rios said it was "no accident" one of the first initiatives combined young people and travel. She said the contest was an "opportunity for the next generation of leadership to rediscover our country all over again."

Travel gives Americans firsthand look at history

Travel, others have said, is a great way for Americans to learn their history while seeing the places where it happened firsthand.

In Lexington, historical sites include the Buckman Tavern, where the Sons of Liberty met and the Hancock-Clarke House, where colonial patriots Sam Adams and John Hancock gathered when Paul Revere arrived in his famed Midnight Ride to warn them of the approaching British.

About a mile away in Concord, the Munroe Tavern is where then-President George Washington dined during his 1789 post-inaugural tour of the town where the famed "shot heard 'round the world" was fired.

There are also reminders of the contradiction in the fight for colonial freedom: A plaque on the walkway into the home honors two slaves that labored at home in forced bondage. And in a nod to inclusivity, banners marking Pride month were hung from street lamps through Lexington's main road.

Rios said inclusivity is a priority for everything America250 plans.

"Our goal is, absolutely, to have the most comprehensive and inclusive commemoration and celebration this country has ever seen," she said. "This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to really think about who we want to be as a country and how we want to move forward."

She added: "America always rises up. That's the same feeling we want to capture. We always want to bet long on this country."

Fourth of July now and in 2026: A celebration, commemoration or both?

James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, argues the 250th anniversary should be a thoughtful and reflective observance.

"It's important to celebrate certain aspects of our past but it's important to commemorate aspects of our past in ways that help us to think about what we can learn," he said.

More than anything, Grossman said, the semiquincentennial should be a moment to ask probing questions about events and people in American history and encourage thoughtful disagreement while rejecting polarization. The goal should be arriving at more informative understanding, not value judgements.

"We have to get away from 'this person was horrible, that person was horrible, this was horrible, that was horrible, this was wonderful, this person's a god,'" he said. "We have to get to a point where we say 'what can we learn from these people?'"

The fulcrum of that learning, he said, should be informed interpretations, not opinions based on mythology, based on facts.

"Patriotism is not my country right or wrong, nor celebration of some frozen-in-time image of Founding Fathers," Grossman said. "For Americans, patriotism is thoughtful independent thinking based on evidence and facts about our past."

What should we learn from Fourth of July about politics of guns, race and religion?

For example, Grossman said, Americans should be inquisitive about gun ownership beyond the mere words of the Second Amendment. They should search to see how many colonial Americans owned firearms, why they possessed the weapons, what was the purpose for having them.

Same for the role of faith in early American society. Grossman said the Founding Fathers opposed the establishment of a Christian nation, but it is true religion was a crucial aspect of American culture and that should also be well understood.

Perhaps no other issue will be more volatile than discussions of slavery. But Grossman insists Americans need to ask why high-minded Founding Fathers who championed the inalienable rights to life and liberty also considered the right "to own other people" one of their freedoms.

"What that tells us is that for some Americans, some white Americans, the Declaration of Independence had meaning different from that of other Americans," he said. "It's important to understand that our past is filled with this kind of disagreement."

Americans will get a richer experience from the 250th by seeking context and asking different questions and discussing the answers.

"There is no reason why everybody has to agree about our nation's history," he said. "What I would like to see happen as part of the 250 is these kinds of conversations. People should be debating and disagreeing about the meaning of the American Revolution or the Constitution."

He added: "It's why we teach history, it's why we read history. We have to constantly say what can we learn from this. Not what lessons can we use to bludgeon people over the head."

Declaration of Independence: A guidepost for a 250-year struggle for universal rights

Watson, who is writing a book about the Declaration and war for independence, said the nation needs to appreciate the bigger picture of the American Revolution. It was a revolt against government oppression from the monarch, he said, but also the beginning of a 250-year struggle to create an inclusive, tolerant society where all citizens regardless of race, gender and sexual preference enjoyed equal rights under the law.

The heart of the argument, he said, is a rejection of institutions like monarchies, aristocracies, a national church and the prevailing establishment where rights were divvied up depending upon one's status in society. What they devised was a theory of government that went far beyond what was envisioned by ancient Rome's Senate, classical Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, or Age of Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke, Thomas Hobbs and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

"It was an experiment in a brand new form of government but, even more importantly, a brand new idea," he said. "An idea embedded in a eternally relevant and timeless document designed to adapt to and change with the times while also on the other end informing that change."

Watson added he is concerned there is too much of a focus on the iconography. He calls for a deeper grasp of the founding principles and the ensuing struggle to extend the prose in the Declaration and the rights enshrined in the Constitution to all sectors of American society, including former slaves, women, indigenous peoples and immigrants.

"If you boil all these complicated issues in a 250-year struggle for rights into, 'No, I have the revolutionary musket in my hand so I'm right.' That's the antithesis of what this is all about," he said.

Clock ticking to 250th anniversary of America's founding document

Watson said the clock is ticking on a two-year period for a nationwide conversation that can serve as the proverbial national teaching moment on the meaning of a "more perfect union." It might even regenerate consensus on a national purpose much like the Bicentennial did in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and the disastrous Vietnam war.

"This experiment in popular government is never finished, it's ongoing," he said, noting the ugliness of the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, nativist movements and resistance to universal suffrage. "We've had peaks and we've had valleys. It's been a struggle for inclusion of rights. It's been difficult."

No moment was more tragic than the Civil War. But even then, the rights delineated in the Declaration underpinned the conflict, Watson said, pointing out that President Abraham Lincoln's opening reference to "four score and seven years ago" in the Gettysburg Address was to the Declaration in 1776.

"Lincoln rightly saw that as the birth of this idea," he said. "We've not been infallible. But the Declaration throughout all of this has been a guidepost. It's been the means to a better end. It's been a source of inspiration."

An inspiration, also, of global impact.

"It is a great idea for all humanity," he said. "It is a living document, an inspired vision for all of humanity, not just for one people or, good God, one political faction."

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams: Warring Founders set example with reconciliation

Independence Day 2026 is also the anniversary of a lesser known historical happening. In a poetic twist, on July 4, 1826, two of the best known Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away within hours of each other.

The two had become rivals and bitter enemies in the first stages of the American constitutional republic. But in their final years, they regularly corresponded and set their differences aside.

There is a metaphor there for the current American body politic. Like Adams and Jefferson, Americans today have an opportunity to get beyond the rancor.

"We got a shot in another two years to correct this ship of state which has run aground in so many ways," said Watson. "The deep political divisions. The bitter anger being shouted at one another. We have a chance for a dialog. A chance to take a breath and exhale and learn from this remarkable period."

Grossman at the AHA said the example set by Adams and Jefferson is inspiring especially because of the content of the ideas in the letters they exchanged.

"And what did we learn from that? We also learned that ideas matter," he said. "That's what they were doing in these letters, not just talking about the kids. They discussed ideas. People can become friends, people can reconcile their differences in part by discussing ideas."

It's a lesson he hopes persuades state officials in Florida and elsewhere to reconsider their stances on teaching history. Grossman said it's healthy for students to engage in the same arguments the Founding Fathers were having at the constitutional convention. And their elders should so so as well.

"I think this is the crucial thing, to see the 250th anniversary as an opportunity to ask ourselves what did Americans disagree about and how did they get through those disagreements," he said

Grossman said he is concerned about self-defeating actions in states like Florida to curtail the teaching of "divisive" concepts in schools.

"How do you heal wounds if you don't understand them, if you don't understand what's dividing Americans?" he said.

Antonio Fins is a politics and business editor at  The Palm Beach Post , part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. He holds a doctorate in U.S. history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can reach him at  [email protected] .  Help support our journalism. Subscribe today .

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