Presentation by Irish Consul in Chicago to Mother Jones Heritage group

Presentation by Irish Vice Consul in Chicago to the Mother Jones Statue Campaign committee of the Mother Jones Heritage Project.

We attach a report from the Mother Jones Heritage Project.

“Our Mother Jones Chicago statue sculpture fundraising is off to a glorious start. Proud to accept a generous check from Sara Keating, Vice Consul General of Ireland for Chicago and the Midwest today for $36,000 for this project as a kick start, from their Emigrant Support Programme grant program. We worked hard to have a chance at this grant.  We need to raise a lot more, though (more details soon), but this is going to happen.

Presentation by Irish Consul

Left to right, members of the statue committee: Helen Ramirez-Odell, Brigid Duffy, Elliott Gorn, Vice-consul Keating, Rosemary Feurer, David J. Rathke, Margaret Fulkerson.

We are building our committee and will update.

This project has wings!! We will be sharing more news and specifics in a future newsletter. Please let us know if you want to help.

We also received $9700 funding for our grant application from the Irish Emigrant Support Program, for a St Louis-based project on Fannie Sellins, the Irish-American labor organizer who was murdered 100 years ago. Fannie was Mother Jones’ comrade, and she got her start in the Women’s Trade Union League of St. Louis.  We’ll be updating on that later as well.”

The Cork Mother Jones Committee wish the organisers well in their fundraising efforts to erect a fitting monument to Mother Jones in the City of Chicago and urge anyone interested to support their great efforts.

Beatles Album cover designer Jann Haworth includes Mother Jones in her latest mural creation.

The original Sgt. Pepper album cover from 1967

Beatles Album cover designer Jann Haworth includes Mother Jones in her latest mural creation.

Cork woman Mother Jones has been included among the women icons in the Work in Progress Celebrating Women Who are Catalysts for Change mural featuring the faces of more than 100 influential women which have either been written out of history or marginalised.

This mural has been designed in Utah in America by Jann Hayworth and her daughter Liberty Blake.

Jann Haworth and her husband Peter Blake designed the famous album cover of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band back in 1967, arguably the best remembered LP Album cover of all time.

This Beatles album spent 27 weeks at the top of the British charts and featured such songs as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, When I’m Sixty-Four, A little Help from my Friends and A Day in the Life!

The recent Work in Progress mural consists of seven panels is 28 foot long and 8 foot wide has been on display at various cities in America and is now on its way to the UK where it will be on display at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester from November 2nd.

The Cork Mother Jones committee recently noticed that an image matching Mother Jones was on the front row of panel two of Work In Progress, so we contacted both Jann Hayworth and Liberty Blake directly who confirmed that Mother Jones is indeed featured in the mural.

Jann explained that she was a fervent admirer of Mother Jones and held her in high esteem due to her Irish great grandmother and was more than happy to include Mother Jones among those women in history whom she regards as catalysts for positive change in society.”

The new mural featuring Mother Jones to the left of the second panel. Courtesy of Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake.

Among the 100 or so women listed and portrayed in the Catalysts for Change mural alongside Mother Jones are Anne Frank, Michelle Obama, Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, Helen Keller and Mother Teresa and many others. (See

It should be noted that Mother Jones was also included by Jann Haworth in a permanent public civic Wall Mural alongside Martin Luther King and Gandhi in downtown Salt Lake City in Utah in 2004. This is known as the SLC Pepper mural and is an updated version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover.

The 2004 image in Salt LakeCity, Utah

Maybe one day soon the Catalysts for Change exhibition might be displayed in Cork city?

Historic new photos of Mother Jones rediscovered

Mother Jones in car

Mother Jones with Guy Miller (Miner’s Bulletin)


The Cork Mother Jones Committee has received the following photographs of Mother Jones during her visit to Northern Michigan during the Copper Country strike of 1913/14. She went north to the Great Lakes area to address a mass meeting of the union members and supporters. Mother Jones was 76 years old at the time. 

The strike, organised by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), is today best remembered for the Italian Hall Disaster on Christmas Eve 1913 when a false fire alarm at a miners function in a hall in Calumet, Michigan caused a crush and resulted in the deaths of 73 people, mainly children.
Woodie Guthrie’s song “1913 Massacre” tells the story of this disaster. 

Mother Jones in Strikers Parade 1913

These photographs were supplied by the Michigan Technological University Archives and the Copper County Historical Collections. We wish to thank Lindsay Hiltunen, University Archivist of the Michigan Technological University.

Mining Strike (Michigan Technological University Archive

We acknowledge also the assistance of Jeremiah Mason Archivist of the Lake Superior Collection Management Centre in Calumet, Michigan. Thanks also to James Goltz of the Mount Olive museum. 

Preliminary announcement for Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2020

The Cork Mother Jones Committee has announced that the 2020 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School will take place in and around Shandon over four days from Wednesday 29th July to Saturday 1st August 2020.
It will again feature talks, discussions, films, songs, stories and music associated with the “Spirit of Mother Jones”. 
These will relate to labour and trade union matters, the history and heritage of the lives and contributions of working people, along with social justice, environmental and human rights issues.
The Committee welcomes relevant, interesting and challenging ideas, proposals and suggestions for topics or events for the 2020 festival and summer school from the public. Please forward outline details as soon as possible to for consideration. 
Each year we present the prestigious Spirit of Mother Jones award to honour an individual (or group) who has made a difference to the pursuit of justice.
The Spirit of Mother Jones is a community based festival which is coordinated by a voluntary committee. We try to make a contribution to the expenses of those participating although most of those participating do so on a voluntary basis. In return, the events are informal, free and open to all to attend as we do not impose a charge on those who come along. We rely entirely on the goodwill, expertise and work of those participating, on the generosity of the local community in Cork, on fundraising and donations as well as sponsorship from the Cork City Council and the Trade Union movement.           

March of the Mill Children re-enacted in Shandon, Cork

A re-creation of March of the Mill Children was held on 31st July 2019 and was staged by Cork Community Art Link. It was directed by Beibhinn O’ Callaghan and Elisa Gallo Rossi.
 The event took place on the historic streets of Shandon in Cork city in conjunction with the Cork Mother Jones Committee as part of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2019. Ms Joan Goggin was Mother Jones. The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. John Sheehan attended.
We thank everyone who participated in what was is a historic event which commemorated the original event led by Mary Harris\Mother Jones from Philadelphia to New York during three weeks in July 1903.
For more information on the background of the original March of the Mill Children see our previous article here:

Recollections of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2019

Louise O’Keeffe with the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award


The Cork Mother Jones Committee is very proud of our choice of Louise O’Keeffe as the recipient of the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones award. An extraordinary fighter, an inspirational woman who had stunned the 2018 summer school with her lecture, “One Woman’s Fight for Justice”. Louise is unique and Cork people should be so proud that we have such fighters for justice in our midst.

The theatrical recreation of the March of the Mill Children organised by the wonderfully creative Cork Community Art Link through the historic streets of Shandon, also captured headlines. The parade was staged and directed by two talented artists Elisa Gallo Rosso and Beibhinn O’Callaghan. The stylish Cobh Animation team provided the classic New York backdrop for the marchers arrival at Shandon Bells.

A scene from the reenactment of the March of the Mill Children (Photo by Claire Stack)

The redoubtable Joan Goggin, Cork’s own Mother Jones, led the children who carried the same relevant messages as the original young marchers in 1903. And yet the economic exploitation of children continues in many countries……. ever wonder who makes the mobile phones on which you read this article or the clothes you wear?

Lord Mayor Dr John Sheehan accompanied by Aedemar joined in the March festivities and later performed the official opening at the Maldron Hotel having been piped in the traditional manner by Norman O’Rourke.



Still Relevant! – One of the young re-enactors with the slogan attributed to Mother Jones over 100 years ago (Photo: Claire Stack)





Elliot Gorn

The atmospheric Cathedral Visitors Centre saw author Séan O’Tuathaigh discussing his new book, Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced, and pleaded for people to realise that migrants and refugees are just like us (Some 70 million people are now displaced across the world). Quoting Muslim philosopher Ibn Rushd…… Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate and hate leads to violence. This is the equation. How true!

The opening night lectures featured Joe Creedon and Elliott Gorn as they discussed the origins and legacy of Mary Harris/Mother Jones. As the Inchigeelagh Lass rang out around the Firkin Crane Theatre, no one could be in any doubt about the fighting qualities of the men and women of Uibh Laoire. Elliott then discussed the fighting qualities of Mother Jones.

The unique Cork Singers’ Club sang out the night as many singers remembered our late Bean A Tì, the great Helen O’Donovan. Helen remains in our hearts, she so loved the Spirit of Mother Jones festival and was missed. To Mick and family we extend our sympathy.

Lorraine Starsky receiving presentation from Ann Piggott on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Retired public health nurse Lorraine Starskey from Pittsburg told the story of the Rebel Girl, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on Thursday morning. A visitor to the festival Nancy Wallach, daughter of Lincoln Brigadista Hy Wallach, (1914-1986) described to the attendance how as a young woman she had met Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and how Elizabeth had later joined Nancy on vacation. Nancy had been named Nancy Elizabeth Wallach after Elizabeth. Living history!

The sadly ignored Irish Radical diaspora ensures we only celebrate politicans and business people who made good, rarely those who like Mother Jones who actually assisted the millions of forgotten Irish emigrants.


Dr. Kieran Groeger

Another member of the ignored Irish radical diaspora was John Swiney who fled to France. Youghal based author and historian Dr Kieran Groeger has rescued the Shandon based United Irishman from obscurity and provided substantial evidence to show that Swiney was indeed a very senior figure in the United Irishmen organisation. Why does Swiney not feature on the National Monument on the Grand Parade?

Liam Cahill (left), author of Fogotten Revolution, Limerick Soviet 1919, with Mike McNamara, President of Limerick Trades Council.

The author of Forgotten Revolution – Limerick Soviet 1919, Liam Cahill introduced the documentary The Limerick Soviet. It is noteworthy that the pivotal role of Cobh born Jack (Sean) Dowling friend of James Connolly in the Limerick Soviet, is at last receiving renewed attention.

Later on Thursday evening before a packed attendance, historian Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group gave a very vivid and comprehensive account of Ballintemple born humanitarian Mary Elmes who will be honoured by the latest bridge across the River Lee.

On the same evening, Cork-based street artist Paddy D’Arcy unveiled his mural painting tribute to local heroes Mother Jones and Michael O’Riordan on the Widderlings Lane gable of café Myo with the assistance of it’s owner Liam Mullaney. Michael’s son Manus O’Riordan attended the festival, the O’Riordan family lived a few doors from Myo’s.

LUke Dineen

An early start on Friday for historian Luke Dineen whose fascinating account of the role of Craftsmen and the craft unions in the War of Independence was a revelation to many of the attendance, which in turn led to an animated discussion. This is Luke’s seventh summer school presentation and his original research into labour history is very revealing.

Dr. John Barimo presented the facts on Climate Change and its potential impact on the poor nations. His frightening analysis should be a catalyst for action, as the clock is ticking past the point of no return. Hope may rest with the young people who attended and the presence of Micah Neilson and Alicia O’Sullivan whose optimism in the power of an invigorated youth may yet provide a key element for the solutions. The discussion uniquely witnessed three generations of activists participating in the examination of what is required to save our planet.

John Barimo, Michah Neilson and Alicia O’Sullivan receive presentation from Ann Piggot of Cork Mother Jones Committee

The world of work and working relationship and community was portrayed by the classic Frameworks Films documentary Fords – Memories of the Line and Bill Daly led the discussion.

The continuing impact of the explosion of the Total Oil tanker, the Betelgeuse at Whiddy Island on January 8th 1979, in which 50 people died was laid before the large attendance present by Michael Kingston, whose father Tim was among those who died. We were honoured to have his mother Mary attend the presentation. Michael described how he had just celebrated his fourth birthday with his father a few days earlier. His emotional pleas for compassion, humanity and justice from those in authority carried far beyond the confines of the Firkin Theatre. He announced the commencement by the relatives of court action to obtain justice and everyone can help him to achieve this by contributing through the Whiddy GoFundMe page.

Whiddy Disaster talk

Whiddy talk: (left-to right)Tom MacSweeney, Rory Warner son of Whiddy victim, Capt. David Warner, Michael Kingston, Mary Kingston and Cllr. Alan Coleman

Tom MacSweeney , who presents This Island Nation on radio, reminded everyone that we are “An Island Nation”and our neglect of the sea and seafarers is to our detriment. Placing the Whiddy disaster in this context, he mentioned that there had been 25 earlier incidents connection to the Gulf operation in Whiddy yet still the regulatory powers were not put in place.

More official silence remains over the Dublin/Monaghan car bombs in 1974, Frank Connolly in his book A Conspiracy of Lies uses the worst incident of the “troubles” as a backdrop for this interesting thriller.

Briege Voyle and Eileen McKeown (2nd and 4th from right respectively) with members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee

In their quiet and dignified matter, Briege Voyle and Eileen McKeown, the daughters of Joan Connolly and Joseph Corr who were killed by the British Parachute Regiment during the Ballymurphy Massacre from 9th to the 11th August 1971, described the raw and devastating results of these murders. Fifty seven children immediately lost a parent, generations lost their innocence and the trauma of this period have placed a huge personal toll on all the families over the almost 50 years since. No one has been brought to justice. The Inquest continues in Belfast.

Later on Saturday afternoon we learned what Rosa Parks was thinking about when she refused to give up her seat in the front of the bus in Montgomery in Alabama on December 1st 1955. Professor Elliott Gorn returned to tell the story of young Emmett Till whose face looking out from his open casket still haunts America. His mother Mamie, demanded to let the people see it and they did!

The festival had featured local Cork groups such as Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group, and Vocalic. Jimmy Crowley had again displayed his unique ability to entertain a crowd with new and old songs each with a story. William Hammond and Linda Quinlan played a lively traditional set. The songs of Pete Seeger sounded as fresh as ever in the hands of John Nyhan, Mick Treacy and Pat Kelleher. Conal Creedon packed Maureen’s and the laughter could be heard down on Christy Ring Bridge.

The toast at the Mother Jones plaque featured Rory MacCarthy and John Murphy winner of the 2019 Mother Jones Song contest with ‘Mine Workers Angel’. The annual toast was also to absent friends.

Rory McCarthy who sang the ballad of James Connolly

Once again the last gentle sinking rays of the early August evening sun appeared from over the empty historic Butter Market building and illuminated the limestone plaque as the crowds slowly dispersed until 2020.

The four days and nights of rememberings, celebrations, talks and discussions were over. We had experienced a lot emotionally and yet the spirit of solidarity and connectivity with living history and the ongoing campaigns for justice was never more alive. The Spirit of Mother Jones festival 2019 had remained challenging, relevant and interesting.


Betty Cook (left) and Ann Scargill of Women Against Pit Closures with their Mother Jones banner which they brought with them from Barnsley, South Yorkshire (Photo: Claire Stack)


Day 4 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School 2019

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today (Saturday, 3rd August) and the main events finish tonight, However there will also be an evening with the talented Stan Notte on Sunday night at Maureen’s Bar, John Redmond Street.

Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school events for Saturday 3rd August.


10:30 a.m.   L       Briege Voyle

Ballymurphy August 1971” 

F        Includes a screening of the Channel 4 documentary “The Ballymurphy Precedent”

Directed by Callum Macrae

Firkin Crane Theatre.

2:00 p m.             A Conspiracy of Lies

Author and journalist Frank Connolly launches his novel (Mercier Press.)

Maldron Hotel.

3:00 p.m      L       Prof. Elliott Gorn

The Lynching of Emmet Till. ……………A Civil Rights Movement is born!”

Firkin Crane Theatre.

5:30 p m               Conal Creedon reads from his new novel Begotten Not Made

7:30 p.m    M       Annual toast and songs to Mother Jones at the plaque on John Redmond Street.


9:00 p.m    M      Vocalic   (Dance and celebrate the end of the 2019 festival.)

Maldron Hotel.


Sunday 4th August. 

In the round with Stan Notte. Music and Spoken Word.

Maureen’s, John Redmond Street at 8.30pm,

All welcome.




Day 3 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School, Cork

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today (Friday, 2nd August) and until tomorrow night.  Below you will find today’s programme.

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School events on Friday 2nd August.  

Friday 2nd August

11:00 a.m.  L     Luke Dineen 

                           “Craftsmen and the Irish revolution, 1920-23” .

Cathedral Visitor Centre


1:00 p.m.    M     Music at the Maldron.

                            Jimmy Crowley.


2:30 p.m.    L       Dr. John Barimo.

Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change”. Cathedral Visitor Centre


3:30 p.m     F      Remembering the Cork Climate Change March 2019

                   L      Micah Neilson.    Fridays for Future Cork.

                   L      Alicia O’Sullivan.  Irish Ambassador for the Worlds Oceans. 


5:00 p.m     F      Fords – Memories of the Line.

A film documentary produced by the Ford Ex-workers Group and Frameworks Films.

Maldron Hotel.


7:30 p.m.   L      Michael Kingston, Tom McSweeney.

                         The Whiddy disaster

                          Statement by Madame Ginette Ravaleu, President of the

French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse                         

                           Firkin Crane Theatre.


9:30 p.m  M     John Nyhan and Mick Treacy present the songs of Pete Seeger (1919- 2014)

Maldron Hotel.




Presentation of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award to Louise O’Keeffe

Photos of the presentation of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2019 to Louise O’Keeffe.  Photos courtesy of ProVision.

See citation for the award,


Louise O’Keeffe receiving the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones award from James Nolan on behalf of the Mother Jones Committee. Also in photo is Lord Mayor John Sheehan and the Lady Mayoress along with the members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.  Photo courtesy of ProVision.