On the 1967 album, More of the Hard Stuff, Ronnie Drew, founder of the the Irish folk group the Dubliners, made sure to introduce their version of the song "Sullivan's John" with a spoken introduction. "This is a song I got from a well known traveling musician in Ireland, better known as the Pecker. It concerns a farmer's son who went away with a tinker's daughter."
Paddy "The Pecker" Dunne was indeed one of the last of the traveling people, the itinerant "tinkers" who traditionally traveled through the land, first by horse drawn wagons and then by motor caravan. To what degree the tinkers really hail from gypsy stock can be argued endlessly by scholars and pub customers. But in Ireland they have been so often intermarried with the local population (the theme of "Sullivan's John", by the way) that it has been their wandering lifestyle that has set them apart.
Sadly, the Pecker is no longer with us, passing away on December 19, 2012 at age 79. But for some more about the Pecker, his people, and his lifestyle, click here.