We imagine, if Mother Jones, visited Shandon, before Christmas 1920. During this time, Ireland’s War of Independence was raging, and much of Patrick’s Street in Cork had been recently burned down by the Auxiliaries. The funeral of Terence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, who died after a 74 day hunger strike in Brixton prison had taken place, through the streets of Cork, a few weeks earlier. Mother Jones, (Joan Goggin) visits her former home near Shandon and walks around the deserted streets, where she played as a child (Aoife Delaney). She recalls her childhood memories, where she, her mother (Eadaoin Delaney) and her family, had once been happy, prior to the Great Famine, and the emigration of her family to Canada.
There is no evidence that Mary Harris/Mother Jones ever did return to Cork city where she was born in 1837 and left after the Great Hunger in the 1840s.
However for the purposes of the imagination, we imagine Mother Jones visiting her childhood home and streets in Shandon just before Christmas 1920 after the burning of Cork City.
Taking the lead role is actress Joan Goggin know to all as Cork’s own Mother Jones. Joan’s family, especially her Dad had an involvement in the labour/trade union movement for many years and the famous union leader Jim Larkin sometimes stayed in their house when visiting Cork.
The film also features a series of flashbacks to the 1840s where Joan is joined by her daughter Eadaoin Delaney who plays the role of Ellen Cotter, Mary Harris’s mother. Joan’s granddaughter Aoife plays a young Mary Harris skipping on the streets of Shandon.
In a remarkable twist of faith, in her soliloquy at Shandon, Mother Jones recalls her only son named Terence who was born in 1865, but who tragically died in the Memphis yellow fever epidemic in October 1867 and acknowledges Cork’s Lord Mayor Terence MacSwiney who had died a few weeks earlier in October 1920.
This short film entitled Mother Jones Returns to Shandon was filmed in and around the Streets of Shandon by Frameworks Films.
All events will be streamed by Frameworks Films for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2020 and will be freely available to view by all.
Full programme of events will appear here and the Mother Jones Cork Facebook by mid-November.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee would like to extend our best wishes to all involved at the Shandon Street Festival as they prepare for their 2019 festival which takes place next Saturday, 22nd June in and around Shandon Street on Cork’s Northside. The festival runs from 1 to 6pm and will have something for all the family.
The Shandon Street Festival is in many ways a sister festival of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival. It was with tremendous help from the Shandon Street Committee that we got off the ground in 2012 and many of the same individuals play a key role in both festivals which take place in the same area of the city.