For several paragraphs in Proteus, Stephen watches "A woman and a man" and "Their dog," who have walked out onto the sands not far from him. They are "Cocklepickers," out to harvest seafood. But before long he is calling them "Red Egyptians," or gypsies. These may be Romani people, in Ireland also called "tinkers" or, their preferred names, Travellers or Pavees. But it seems possible that Stephen may simply be imagining them as gypsies or tinkers, based on their skin color or other details of their appearance. He takes an interest in them chiefly for the ethnic jargon, often called "cant," that he imagines these people speaking.

JH 2015

Janine Wiedel, photograph from collection "Irish Tinkers On the Road in the 1970s." Source: socialdocumentary.net.

Irish Travellers, or tinkers, in 1946. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Tinkers, in 1954. Source: Wikimedia Commons.