Kathleen Ward is an Irish singer living in County Galway. Now in her 80s, she comes from a large family of Irish Travellers including her siblings Winnie Ward, Teresa Cochran and John Ward. Kathleen was born whilst her family was on the move, at their camp near Tuam. Her father was a tinsmith who came from Ballinasloe and her mother, Mary, came from Tuam. They would move around the country, a week here and a week there and she particularly remembers going through Montpelier, Ballinasloe, Roscommon and Tuam. When asked what it was like growing up travelling Kathleen says,
It was lovely. You had no worries, you had no troubles, you had no money to pay […] you hadn’t to pay for water, you had everything free. And my husband used to go off and make buckets and my father used to. And cans, make cans out of tin and do chimneys. […] There was no money in my time. There wasn’t much money in the country.
Kathleen’s husband’s favourite songs to sing were Peggy Gordon and The Handsome Boatman, although her son says he was more of a character for stories, ‘some say it in songs, some say it in stories’. Kathleen herself is one of the last people to be singing some of the ancient songs such as Lord Randall and The Bonny Lass Of Aughrim (Lord Gregory), which are many hundreds of years old, and it is a joy to hear her sing.