The Cork Mother Jones Festival has been called “an outstanding success” by Jim Nolan of the organizing committee.
The festival, organised by a voluntary committee in association with the Shandon Street Festival, concluded recently after three days of celebrations in and around the ancient historical community of Shandon, taking in the North Chapel, St.Anne’s Church, the Firkin Crane Centre and the Maldron Hotel (the old North Infirmary).
The highlight was the unveiling of a plaque designed by Mick Wilkins to commemorate Mother Jones on John Redmond Street on the evening of Wednesday 1st August. Fortunately glorious sunshine arrived for the unveiling event which was performed by Cllr. Ted Tynan and Jim Nolan of the Shandon Street Festival. Music was provided by the Butter Exchange Band and Norman O’Rourke and the American and Irish National Anthems were played.
Capacity crowds were present for all events. Professor Rosemary Feurer’s film Mother Jones, the Most Dangerous Woman in America was shown three times during the festival to cater for the number of people wishing to see it. The ground-breaking Andy Irvine concert at St.Anne’s Shandon was performed before a sell out crowd of almost 300 people.
The festival was opened by Lord Mayor John Buttimer at the Firkin Crane on Wednesday morning 1st. The Lord Mayor praised the work of the voluntary committee who had constructed a highly interesting series of events, talks, music, concerts and an exhibition on the life of Mother Jones by Jim Fitzpatrick. A concert organized by Richard T Cooke featuring a host of Cork talent attracted a capacity attendance to the Firkin.
The inaugural Mother Jones lectures provided a focus for some stirring debates on the afternoon with Joe O’Flynn, General Secretary of SIPTU, Professor Elliott Gorn of Brown University and Marat Moore, author and founder of the Daughters of Mother Jones. This event also featured a wondeful re-creation of the speeches of Mother Jones performed by internationally renowned actress Kaiulani Lee.
The festival, which attracted huge publicity for Shandon featured on TV3 and most of the national media, also attracted international media attention with even a front page story on the Mount Olive Herald and in the widely read Mother Jones Magazine as well as numerous labour and history websites throughout North America.
A host of Cork artists and musicians appeared at the festival, including Two Time Polka, Hank Wedel, Jim Williamson, Cork Memory Lane Group, Hugh Moynihan, the Cork Singers Club, Richard T Cooke, traditional musicians, while Andy Irvine played at a sell out concert at St.Anne’s Shandon.
Following a recent meeting of the organising committee, it was decided to hold the annual Mother Jones festival in 2013 in Shandon from Tuesday 30th July to Thursday 1st August. Further announcements will be made in relation to the events as they are confirmed.