Spirit of Mother Jones Festival wins major award from Irish Hotel Federation

One of Cork’s newest festivals has just won a prestigious national award. Just three years in existence the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, based at Shandon has been awarded one of the Irish Hotel Federation top Gathering awards in the Best Arts and Culture category.


The announcement was made at the Irish Hotel Federation Conference at the Knightbrook Hotel in Trim Co Meath on Tuesday morning.


The festival founded in 2012 and designed to celebrate Cork born Mary Harris, who became known as “the most dangerous woman in America” for her trade union activities and her support for the miners and their families has already become an international event.


Jim Nolan accepted the IHF award on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee from Minister Michael Ring at a reception at the Hotels Conference and thanked the IHF for this practical demonstration of support for the event.


“We are absolutely thrilled with this award, it will really put historic Shandon and the Mother Jones festival on the map” stated Jim Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee. It is down to the amazing hard work of an outstanding voluntary committee”


“The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival is a unique and innovative event, which seeks out inspirational people who fight for social justice to come to our Shandon summer school

and tell their story” declared Mr. Nolan, “it has managed to attract huge interest from abroad, especially America”


“We are very much based in the community of Shandon and the festival prides itself on being free and open to everyone to come along and attend. We want to thank the local community, not least the local Maldron Hotel and the Firkin Crane Centre for providing practical support and venues and our sponsors SIPTU and Cork City Council for their encouragement which has enabled the event to grow and thrive.” reiterated Mr. Nolan.


The 2014 Festival will be held again from Thursday 29th July until 1st August at the Maldron Hotel and the Firkin Crane Centre in the heart of historic Shandon and will again feature a host of international and Irish speakers, concerts, lectures, workshops and music.


A full festival programme of events will be announced shortly and up to date details can be found on http://www.motherjonescork.com or contact Jim Nolan 086 1651356, or Ger O’Mahony at 086 3196063.

Anne Feeney for Cork Mother Jones Festival


Anne Feeney

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that renowned labour and union activist, folk musician and singer is also on her way to the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival. Each year Anne organises a tour of Ireland and this year for the first time she will include the festival in Cork as part of her itinery.

Anne was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania in 1951; she was deeply influenced by the Civil Rights movement and the anti Vietnam War movement. Her grandfather, William Patrick Feeney, was a mineworkers’ organizer who played his violin at labour and union rallies, and was also a key role model.

Her first public concert was at an anti-war rally in November 1969. Anne graduated from the Pittsburgh School of Law in 1978, and worked as a trial attorney for 12 years. She served as president of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union in 1997 and 1998.

She is a member of the IWW (Mother Jones was among the founders) and the American Federation of Musicians.

Since 1991, Anne has toured North America and many other countries to participate in labour rallies.

Her solo albums:

Look to the Left (1992)

Heartland (1994)

Have you been to jail for justice? (2001)

Union Maid (2003)

If I can’t dance (2006)

Dump the Bosses off your back (2008)

Enchanted Way (2010)

The track Union Maid on the 2003 Union Maid CD which was written by Woody Guthrie and sung by Anne was recorded at the grave of Mother Jones at Mount Olive, Illinois on October 9th 1994. She has recorded songs written by Ewan McColl, Peggy Seeger, Si Kahn, Tom Paxton as well as many of her own compositions.

Many consider that her rendering of the famous union song written by Florence Reese, Which Side Are You On? to be the definitive version!

Anne was once described by Utah Philips as “the best labour Singer in North America”. while her music has been recorded by many artists including Peter, Paul & Mary.

“Few women have taken Woody Guthrie’s path……but Anne Feeney has made a career of it.” Labour History Foundation.

Her business card proclaims her hell-raising activities and lists her business as folksinger and agitator.

Anne paid a visit to the Mother Jones plaque in Cork last year.

Anne paid a visit to the Mother Jones plaque in Cork last year.

Anne was diagnosed in August 2010 with small cell lung cancer, yet Anne has continued to tour and travel. She visited Cork briefly in 2013 to see the Mother Jones plaque and will now return for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival from 29th July till 1st August.

Anne will play a joint concert with Si Kahn at 8.30 at the Firkin Crane Centre in Shandon on Thursday evening 31st July.

She is leading a Labour History Tour to Ireland which will take in the Spirit of Mother Jones festival in Cork.

For details of how to join the tour contact Innisfree Tours or anne@annefeeney.com or visit Anne’s website on http://www.annefeeney.com.