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Handbag Project

14 June 2017

Handbag Project

 The Handbag Project is a collaboration between Togher Traveller Women’s Group and artist Leanne McDonagh, who herself is a traveller. Through their collaboration they created artworks expressing their views around domestic violence. The group also connected with the One Stop Shop, which provided information and support on a number of important issues with regards safety. 

 The Togher Traveller Women’s Group’s central aim is to highlight the issue of domestic violence and find the support that is available to them. In looking at the Southern Traveller Health Network’s book entitled 'Rings of Hope, A Story of the Women Who Wear Them' a discussion ensued revolving around domestic violence, which included issues such as physical, mental and sexual violence. The handbag became the central motif as the outside of the bag expresses individually and often the inside of the handbag is kept private. The bags on display symbolise the importance of personal empowerment for traveller women and the need for support when experiencing domestic violence. 

Togher Traveller Women's Group is a group of Traveller women who have met every week for the past 25 years. It is a place for Traveller women to come together to support each other, learn together and build skills as community leaders in order to work on issues affecting their lives. The group has its roots in the old Blackash Traveller halting site, which was located near the Kinsale Road Roundabout. The daughters and nieces of the original group members continue this group today.

Leanne McDonagh is a visual artist and graduate of Crawford College of Art and Design. Leanne graduated with an Honours degree in Fine Art and a Higher Diploma in Art & Design Education. She has since worked on various projects and exhibitions, which include exhibiting at CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery. She has previously had a solo show at The Copper house Gallery in 2014. Leanne is also a member of the Irish Traveller community. As a visual artist she feels she has a unique opportunity to represent and record her community from within.

Click here for poster.


The Handbag Project is open to the public and runs from June 13th to June 29th.

The exhibition will be held in the CUH Gallery, staff dining room of the Cork University Hospital.



Opening times: Mon - Fri: 07:30 – 14:30 and 17:30 – 19:00; Sat - Sun: 09:30 – 14:30