Feminist Walking Tour of Cork Launched at Festival

Professor Maggie O’Neill launched the walk, a printed map and website for the new feminist walking tour of Cork on Saturday  30th July at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival. 

Professor Maggie O’Neill

The launch is a collaboration with Mother Jones Festival and TVG Traveller pride. Following a brief introduction, a large number of the participants headed off to visit a number of the sites, including the Traveller Visibility Centre, the Mary Elmes Bridge, the Sexual Violence Centre and the Mother Jones Plaque.

Feminist Walking Tour at Mary Elmes Bridge

While some representations of women can be found, and some streets are named after queens and saints, there are no monuments to women in Cork City. Yet the women of Cork have made an enormous contribution to building better communities throughout the city and far beyond. 

Professor Maggie O’Neill

The Cork Mother Jones Committee wish to congratulate all associated with this venture which focuses on celebrating the contribution of women to Cork City and explores “the role of women in addressing sexual and social inequalities and building fairer, safer communities”. 

Note: Queen Victoria’s name appears on approximately eleven place name locations in Cork City; the renaming of the area around MacCurtain Street as “The Victorian Quarter” is the latest example. Interestingly, approx one hundred place names In Cork City are named after saints, representing thirty-one saints, seven of which are female. (only St Mary, St Joseph and St Patrick can match Queen Victoria in popularity).   Source: Thom’s Commercial Directory 2004

https://www.feministwalkcork.ie/

In Memory of John

Traditionally the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival each year concludes at the plaque on John Redmond Street, where we toast Mother Jones and remember absent friends.

This year was especially poignant as we recalled John Jefferies, who died on February 10th 2020. John was a founding member of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

John Jefferies

The committee made a special presentation to Monica Ross, John’s sister, as a token of the esteem and affection he was held in by many associated with the festival. The inscription read “In recognition of John Jefferies, Friend of Mother Jones” from the Cork Mother Jones Committee 2022. 

John spoke at the 2015 festival about a hero of his, Jack (Sean) Dowling, who was one of the leaders of the Limerick Soviet in April 1919. 

Monica thanked everyone and, in tribute to her brother, read a poem, ‘Thoughts on a beach‘, which John had composed. 

Monica reading “Thoughts on a beach.”

The thoughts of the large gathering also were with labour historians Liam Cahill and Manus O’Riordan, both of whom had participated in the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones festival.   

Thoughts on a beach

I walk on the beach and wonder
Who has passed this way before me?
What joyous child looked awestruck at the scene?
Or picked a periwinkle from a rock
Curious at the sight.
What brave explorer chanced upon this way?
And sat upon that rock
Resting for a while
Letting cares abate.

Did some ancient beast waddle from the sea
And linger where I stand?
Looking for its prey
Or frolicking in the waves.

We are all but travelers on our way
Leaving footprints in the sand
There a fleeting moment
‘Til tide marks have their say.

I was here today
And marvelled at the sight
Danced in the waves
Drew pictures in the sand.
I dreamed I was a sailor
Or the first to set foot here
Carefree and inquisitive
I left a sign right there – 
A footprint on the shoreline
And now I am elsewhere.
The imprint it has faded
Much time has passed since then
My shadow in the ripples
My laughter in the wind.

I will be here always
As long as daylight breaks
Aeons will pass
Humanity will fade
But it cant take away
The fact that I was here
Someday, some time
And I’m still here today.

Happy Birthday, Mother Jones

Mary Harris was born in Cork City in 1837.

On the morning of 1st August 1837, she was baptised by Fr. John O’Mahony in the North Cathedral.

Her parents were Ellen Cotter and Richard Harris, and her sponsors were Ellen Leary and Richard Hennessy.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Baptism Register 1833- 1853.

Her sister Catherine was baptised in the Cathedral on the 29th March 1840, while brother William was baptised here on 28th February 1846.

(Our thanks to Anne Twomey, Bernard Spillane of the North Cathedral and Nora Hickey of Kinsale for her genealogy work.)

Anne Twomey points to the then location of the baptismal font in the Cathedral of St. Mary & St. Anne – Nora Hickey looks on (right).

Presentation of Spirit of Mother Jones 2022 to Don O’Leary of the Cork Life Centre.

Don O’Leary, director of Cork Life Centre is presented with the 2022 Spirit of Mother Jones award in an emotional ceremony during the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

The award was presented by James Nolan and was followed by a sustained standing ovation from the large number of people present. 

Don O’Leary receives the award from James Nolan.

Don is the first Cork man to receive the award and he commented afterwards that it meant so much to him as Mother Jones was one of his heroes for seeking to prevent the exploitation of children in the mines and mills of America and ensure they received an education and also that he and the Cork Life Centre had been selected by the ordinary people of Cork. This represents the ultimate recognition for his efforts and the wonderful work of the staff and volunteers of the Cork Life Centre.

Don O’Leary and Rachel of the Cork Life Centre with the Cork Mother Jones Committee
Left to Right: Rachel Lucey, Don O’Leary and Sharon O’Neill of the Cork Life Centre.

The Spirit of Mother Jones citation for Don O’Leary and the Cork Life Centre was read. 

For his courage and determination to ensure that children and young people are not left behind by the Irish education system.

For his Trojan efforts and that of the volunteers and staff at the Cork Life Centre to create a positive and practical community of learning which is welcoming, supportive and encouraging of young people.

For his advocacy of human rights and social justice especially in relation to children’s rights and their opportunities to progress to the best of their creative abilities and individual talents which contribute so much to a better community and world.

For his refusal to accept that one size fits all in the Irish education system and for his refusal to compromise in relation to this fundamental student centred approach focused on authentic inquiry and experiential learning and measures success in a radically different way to the standard competitive exam system.

For his practical approach to providing a structured base and a supportive network which has established an educational home for the young people to use their talents and visualize opportunities to fulfil their dreams in life and become productive members of society.

For his encouragement of young people to walk the road of life using their own unique abilities, independence of spirit, critical observation and an appreciation of their own self-worth.  

CORK MOTHER JONES COMMITTEE 2022
Don O’Leary being congratulated by Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners.
Left to Right: Don O’Leary, James Nolan and Antoinette Keegan.

A Message from Charlie Bird to Antoinette Keegan for the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2020

Antoinette Keegan received the following goodwill message from Charlie Bird on the occasion of her visit to the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2022 in Cork.

Charlie Bird message to Antoinette Keegan (by permission of Antoinette).

The Award for 2020 which was to have been presented to Christine Keegan of the Stardust Justice Campaign  was presented to her daughter Antoinette  on Friday 29th July 2022 at the Firkin Crane, by James Nolan on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee..

James Nolan presents the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2020 to Antoinette Keegan.

Sadly Christine passed away in July 2020. Antoinette was accompanied by her sisters Lorraine and Suzanne and uncle Frank and Phyllis and Maurice McHugh who lost their only daughter Caroline in the Stardust Fire on Valentine Day 1981. 

Suzanne, Antoinette and Lorraine Keegan.

The Citation reads as follows:

“The Spirit of Mother Jones Award is awarded this year to Ms. Antoinette Keegan of the Stardust Victims Committee for her determination, resilience and longstanding efforts to pursue truth, accountability and justice for the Stardust victims and their families over almost 40 years.   

Antoinette and her late mother Christine and father John have pursued answers to what happened at the Stardust fire on 14th February 1981, where 48 young people lost their lives, including Antoinette’s sisters Mary and Martina. 

In spite of her own injuries, the loss of her sisters, and the failure of the Public Authorities to provide answers, Antoinette has continued to actively campaign to uncover the full truth of the events of that night. She is an inspiration to so many! 

For her bravery, courage and commitment, Antoinette Keegan is a very worthy recipient of the 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Award.”

CORK mOTHER jONES committee for antoinette keegan.

Saturday 30th July 2022

After two action packed days of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Shandon, the final day of the 2022 Festival contains many walks, talks and presentations.

10:00 a.m. Liam O’ hUigín, a short stroll in the historic birthplace of Mary Harris in Shandon of 1830-1850. Meet at Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

11:30 a.m.  Luke Dineen, “The General Strike in Cork in 1923”  Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

1.00 p.m.   Presentation of the 2022 Spirit of Mother Jones Award to Don O’Leary and the Cork Life Centre. All are welcome. Maldron Hotel Shandon.

2:30 p.m.   Dr Angela Flynn, School of Nursing and Midwifery, UCC.

What would our health system be like now had Dr Noel Browne’s Mother and Child Scheme been successfully implemented?                                                    

Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

3.45 p.m.    Professor Maggie O’Neill in collaboration with Traveller Pride.  Launch of Feminism Walking Tour website, followed by a walk. Meet at Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

4:00 p.m. Frank Connolly Book Launch, “United Nation – The Case for Integrating Ireland”.

Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

5:30 p.m. Toast to Mother Jones and songs at the Mother Jones Plaque on John Redmond Street. We plan to remember friends such as John Jefferies, a founding member of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.     

Can’t make the festival? Can’t get to Shandon? You can connect to Mother Jones. Cork Community TV is showing a series of talks from the Mother Jones Festival Archives all weekend. Check out www.corkcommunitytv.ie or Virgin Media Channel 803.

Events Taking Place on Friday 29th July 2022

After a fantastic opening day, the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2022 continues.

Cork’s Northside at Night (Dylan Fitzgerald).

11:00 a.m.  A visit to the historic Cork’s North Cathedral where Mary Harris was baptised on 1st August. This includes a brief talk by historian Anne                              Twomey, Meet at the North Cathedral.

11.30 a.m. Christy Mc Quillan and Mick Halpenny of “Trade Unionists for a New United Ireland” (TUNUI) Following their presentation there will be a                                discussion and Q&A. Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

1:00 p.m.  Jimmy Crowley accompanied by Eve Telford. Maldron Hotel Shandon.

3:00 p.m. Antoinette Keegan talks about the Stardust Tragedy. This will be followed by the presentation of the 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Award to                     Antoinette. Please come along and hear her story. Dance Cork Firkin Crane.

7:30 p.m. Ordinary Women In Extraordinary Times. Premiere of a new Documentary from Frameworks Films and Shandon Area History Group.

9:30p.m. John & Gearoid Nyhan and friends. The life and songs of Woody Guthrie. Maldron Hotel Shandon.

Can’t make the festival? Cork Community TV is showing a series of talks from the Mother Jones Festival Archives all weekend. Check out www.corkcommunitytv.ie or Virgin Media Channel 803.

Thursday 28th July 2022 at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

 2:00 p.m.            Frameworks Films, documentary

  •                                     Mother Jones and Her Children
  •                                     Maldron Hotel, Shandon

3:00 p.m.          Rosemary Feurer, documentary

  •                                     Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman
  •                                     Maldron Hotel, Shandon                    

4:00 p.m.          Peter Buckingham tells the story of

  •                          Red Tom Hickey: The Uncrowned King of Texas Socialism – and
  •                          Mother Jones
  •                          Maldron Hotel, Shandon

5:30 p.m.       Official festival opening by the Lord Mayor of Cork

  • Joan Goggin presents a poetic tribute to Jim Larkin (1874-1947)
  • Maldron Hotel, Shandon

7:15 p.m.         Cork City Council and St Peter’s Cork present a documentary:

  • Endurance and Engagement – Cork City Women in the 1920s
  • Introduced by Christine Moloney
  • Dance Cork Firkin Theatre

8:00 p.m.         Anne Twomey

  • speaks of “Dark Times, Dark Deeds, Long Shadows:
  • the experiences of some women in the Revolutionary Years”
  • Dance Cork Firkin Theatre

9:30 p.m.        The Cork Singers’ Club. Maldron Hotel Shandon

Can’t make the festival? Cork Community TV will show a series of talks from the Mother Jones Festival Archives all this coming weekend. Check out www.corkcommunitytv.ie or Virgin Media Channel 803.

Don O’Leary of the Cork Life Centre to receive the 2022 Spirit of Mother Jones Award.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that the 2022 Spirit of Mother Jones Award will be presented to Don O’Leary, director of the Cork Life Centre. This is the tenth annual award which the committee has made and Mr O’Leary is the first Cork man to receive it. The award will be presented later this week to Mr O’Leary at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Saturday 30th July at 1pm at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

Don O’Leary.

Jim Nolan on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee stated;

“We are really pleased to announce that the Spirit of Mother Jones Award for 2022 has been awarded to Don O’Leary, director of the Cork Life Centre for his work and commitment to providing an alternative learning environment to many young people who are outside the mainstream education system.

Specifically Don has shown by his example and dedication to the young people how they can make progress within a different system which places them at the very core attempts to meet their unique needs and requirements.”

Cork Life Centre at Sunday’s Well.

The Committee’s citation for Don O’Leary and the Cork Life Centre includes the following; 

‘For his courage and determination to ensure that children and young people are not left behind by the Irish education system.

For his Trojan efforts and that of the volunteers and staff at the Cork Life Centre to create a positive and practical community of learning which is welcoming, supportive and encouraging of young people.

For his advocacy of human rights and social justice especially in relation to children’s rights and their opportunities to progress to the best of their creative abilities and individual talents which contribute so much to a better community and world.

For his refusal to accept that one size fits all in the Irish education system and for his refusal to compromise in relation to this fundamental student centred approach focused on authentic inquiry and experiential learning and measures success in a radically different way to the standard competitive exam system.’

 

On behalf of the Cork Mother Jones, we congratulate Don O’Leary and the Cork Life Centre. 

Documentaries at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2022.

Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times. 

A documentary from Frameworks Films and the Shandon Area History Group.

7.30 pm Friday 29th July at Dance Cork Firkin Crane.

‘Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times’ tells the story of five women –  Nora and Sheila Wallace and Mary, Annie and Muriel MacSwiney. These women played a vital role in the formation of the Irish state and yet their stories are not widely known. This documentary provides an account of the lives of these five women and in particular the part they played in the Irish revolutionary period, whilst still carrying on their roles as shopkeepers, teachers, wives and mothers. It attempts to answer in some small way the question that was often asked in the early years of the Irish Free State, ‘What did the women do anyway?’.

Ordinary Women in Extraordinary Times.

Endurance & Engagement: Cork City Women in the 1920’s  

7.15 pm Thursday 28th July at Dance Cork Firkin Theatre.

The short documentary, commissioned by Cork City Council, as part of the Decade of Commemorations and  funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts Gaeltacht, Sport & Media looks at the lives of ordinary women in Cork City during the turbulent period of the struggle for independence and how they were impacted by the violence and unrest. The women included in the documentary are Eilish MacCurtain, The Duggan Sisters, Geraldine Neeson and Dr. Mary Hearn.  The research team on the project were Anne Twomey of Shandon History Group, Dr Helene O’Keeffe of UCC School of History, and Gerry White.  The documentary directors Ciara Buckley & David Slowo of Wombat Media. The  Executive Producer of this documentary was Christine Moloney of LW Management who will introduce it on the night. Release Date 2022. Runtime 32 minutes.

Peg Duggan

Mother Jones and her Children.

2:00 pm Thursday 28th July at the Maldron Hotel Shandon. 

This film tells the story of Mary Harris (1837 – 1930) from Cork who went on to become known “the most dangerous woman in America”. Starting with her early years in Cork, the documentary goes on to detail her life in America following the famine, her marriage to George Jones and the birth of her four children. It details the tragedies which befell her. Her growing involvement in the labour movement in America, defending the rights of children and workers is documented. Through interviews with leading experts on Mother Jones, we learn of her fearless and tireless campaign to organise workers at a time of severe labour strife and her international legacy today. Produced by Frameworks Films and the Cork Mother Jones Committee in 2014. Runtime is 52 minutes.

Mother Jones and Her Children

Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman 

3:00 pm. Thursday 28th July at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman is a documentary about the amazing labor heroine, Mary Harris Jones, known as Mother Jones. Mother Jones’ organising career influenced the history of early 20th century United States. She overcame class and gender limitations to shape an identity that allowed her to become an effective labor organiser in the early 20th century. Mother Jones transformed personal and political grief and rage about class injustices into an effective persona that led workers into battles that changed the course of history. The terrible conditions and labor oppression of the time motivated her to traverse the country, in order to organise against injustices. This film also gives a deeply moving account of the Ludlow Massacre. This is a film by Rosemary Feurer and Laura VazquezRelease Date 2007 (Canada). Its runtime is 24 minutes.

Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman