Cork City declares August 1st as Mother Jones Day

mother_jones_white_house_1924aThe Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to announce the holding of the 2013 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in historic Shandon from Tuesday 30th July to Thursday 1st August 2013.

We wish to congratulate Cork City Council on recently declaring August 1st as Mother Jones Day

“We are really delighted by the unanimous decision of Cork City Council to designate August 1st as Mother Jones Day in our City. This brave Cork woman has been officially honoured in her native place by the City Council following a motion from Cllr. Ted Tynan, who is a member of the Cork Mother Jones committee” stated Jim Nolan, spokesperson for the committee.

This international “Shandon Summer School” event will see speakers from Ireland joined by participants from the United Kingdom and the United States, who will attend to discuss issues associated with social justice, labour and union history. These were issues close to the heart of Cork born Mary Harris known throughout the world as Mother Jones.

In 2012 Shandon was the location for the inaugural Mother Jones Festival which celebrated the 175 Anniversary of the birth of Mary Harris nearby. A beautiful plaque was unveiled at last year’s event and this will also be the focal point for the 2013 festival. The entire event was hugely successful, attracting large crowds, receiving significant media coverage throughout Ireland and America and placing the ancient Shandon Quarter in international focus.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee felt Shandon should continue to celebrate and honour Mother Jones by providing a platform to highlight and discuss labour history, trade union issues and social justice in the setting of the very birthplace of Mary Harris.

“What better way to remember the inspirational Mother Jones than by listening to  inspirational people and discussing the struggles of ordinary workers and people in an annual Summer School setting in this area?”

“It would be a fitting tribute to a truly amazing Cork woman who fought for fair play and justice for workers and their families”

Jim Nolan of the Committee


The Shandon festival/summer school will have a mixture of speakers, lectures discussions, films a parade of banners, music and songs associated with these struggles over three days.

On Tuesday evening, 30th July we are indeed honoured that the Chairperson of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall will speak on the traumatic events which took place at the Hillsborough Stadium on the 15th April 1989, when 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives. Margaret’s son James was among those who never came home from that game. The publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report on 12th September 2012 exposed the truth of what occurred at the Hillsborough Stadium that day in 1989. Margaret will give an account of the families long 23 year campaign to highlight the injustice and untruths which surrounded the real causes of this appalling disaster.

Wednesday afternoon 31st July will see Ken Fleming of SIPTU and an Inspector with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) give a lecture on the appalling exploitation of some seafarers on vessels operating under Flags of Convenience. Over the past 4 years Ken has recouped over a million euro in unpaid wages for foreign seafarers in Irish ports, six vessels were detained and over 100 seafarers repatriated.

Later that evening Padraig Yeates, journalist, writer and author of the book “Lockout”, an account of the bitter workers strike in 1913, will give the Centenary lecture on the Dublin Lockout. The Lockout was a watershed in Irish political and labour history and began a chain of events which led eventually to the 1916 rebellion. Padraig Yeates is a renowned expert on this period in Irish history. His Centenary lecture will take place at 7pm on Wednesday 31st August at the Firkin Crane.

Luke Dineen will present his paper on the Cork Strike and Lockout of 1909 at the Firkin Crane also on Wednesday afternoon. This very significant but largely forgotten strike had a major influence on the later Dublin Lockout. Luke is a post graduate MA student at UCC and was awarded the John B. O’Brien Annual Prize in History.

On Thursday 1st August, Mother Jones Day, we are pleased to present Professor Simon Cordery of WesternIllinoisUniversity who will deliver the annual Mother Jones lecture. Simon has written extensively on the activities of Mother Jones and recently completed a book entitled Mother Jones “Raising Cain and Consciousness”.

“All the speakers will present in their different ways a common thread through history of  ordinary people and families fighting for basic rights whether in their work places or in their daily lives as epitomised by the spirit of  Mother Jones who spent most of her life defending the rights of workers and their families in the United States of America.”

Jim Nolan.


The festival will see Andy Irvine return to Cork to perform a special concert in honour of Mother Jones at the Firkin Crane on Thursday 1st August. There is limited capacity and tickets will need to be pre purchased from or members of the committee. Richard T Cooke will present a special Mother Jones Festival tribute concert also at the Firkin Crane on Wednesday evening 31st July.

Noted actor Jer O’Leary will perform a Jim Larkin monologue while the famous Cork Singers Club will render a series of songs associated with Mother Jones at the Maldron Hotel. Jimmy Crowley, legendary Cork singer, songwriter will present a workshop on entitled “Songs of a Beautiful City” at the Maldron Hotel. The event will culminate with the famous Butter Exchange Band performing a recital of music associated with Mother Jones at the plaque on John Redmond Street on August 1st.

All are welcome to attend this unique event which forms part of the “Gathering” events in CorkCity in 2013 and part of a wider series of festivals and events taking place in Shandon throughout this year.

For further information contact:

Jim Nolan                    086 1651356

Michael Lally              086 8540896

Gerard O’Mahony       086 3196063.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee wish to gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance and support of the SIPTU Union and The Gathering for making this festival possible.         


1 thought on “Cork City declares August 1st as Mother Jones Day

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s