The Ballymurphy Massacre

The Ballymurphy Massacre.

Saturday morning 3rd August at 10.30am

Firkin Crane Theatre.

Briege Voyle

On Saturday morning 3rd August , Briege Voyle will speak about what has become known as The Ballymurphy Massacre. Briege is the daughter of Joan Connolly. Joan, a mother of eight was shot dead by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment on Monday August 9th 1971, the day Internment without Trial was introduced in Northern Ireland.

Eleven people including Fr. Hugh Mullan, the parish priest in Ballymurphy in West Belfast were killed as a result of the actions by the British Army over the three days.  Fifty children endured the loss of a parent. The killings left the entire community traumatised yet no action was taken against those responsible and no one has been held responsible to date. This Parachute Regiment was later transferred to Derry. It went on to be responsible for Bloody Sunday on 31st January 1971.

Briege who has been prominent in the campaign for decades along with other relatives seeking the truth will tell her story of the human consequences for herself, her family and friends as a result of the actions of the British Army in her community during those three days in 1971. Other children of those who died will also attend and tell their personal stories.

The morning will also feature the showing of The Ballymurphy Precedent directed by Callum Macrae made in association with Channel 4. This was first released in August 2018 and featured in a cinema launch including a discussion with John Snow in the chair. The documentary was later broadcast as Massacre at Ballymurphy by Channel 4 on September 8th last.

The documentary provides a reconstruction of the shootings, with the survivors and families giving an account what took place in this small community in Belfast over three harrowing days. Their grief is palpable, and the huge sense of burning injustice at the loss of loved ones permeates the production.

After decades of campaigning, an inquest into the deaths began its oral hearings in Belfast on 12th November 2018 and these hearings continue under Presiding Coroner, Mrs Justice (Siobhan) Keegan.

It is long past time for the full truth about the events in Ballymurphy over the three days to be recognised and acted on by the British government

Briege Voyle will speak at the Firkin Crane Theatre, on Saturday morning 3rd August at 10.30 am.

All are welcome to come along.

Louise O’Keeffe is the Spirit of Mother Jones Award recipient for 2019

First Cork Person to receive the Spirit of Mother Jones Award.

Louise O’Keefe (right) following her appearance at last year’s festival – with Ann Piggot and Geraldine McCarthy of the Cork Mother Jones Committee

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award will be presented to Louise O’Keeffe.

 

Louise is the first Cork recipient of this International Award which is named after Cork born Mary Harris who became known around the world as Mother Jones.

 

Louise O’Keeffe describes herself as an ordinary West Cork woman and mother of two children. Yet this extraordinary woman fought a 15 year long battle to get civil redress for the sexual abuse she suffered at Dunderrow Primary School in Co Cork. Having failed to find justice in the Irish Courts she proceeded to take the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

 

In 2014 the ECHR found in her favour.

 

According to James Nolan, spokesperson for the Cork Mother Jones Committee,

which presents this annual award

 

“Louise O’Keeffe is indeed an extraordinary woman, a fighter for justice who was determined to ensure justice for herself and the hundreds of people who suffered similar injustice in the schools of Ireland. In doing this she exposed the failure of the Irish authorities in spite of the Irish courts to ensure Irish children were protected from sexual abuse in Irish schools.

 

Louise spoke at the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones summer school, her contribution was regarded by many of those attending as an inspirational talk in which she described in vivid detail her personal journey through the obstacles and the difficulties she faced in her long quest for justice.

 

Louise O’Keeffe is a worthy recipient of the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award and the Cork Mother Jones Committee is extremely proud and happy that Louise is the first Cork person to receive this unique honour.

 

Mother Jones herself would have been proud of her fighting spirit.”

 

James Nolan stated,

 

In spite of the 2014 European Court Judgement, the Irish government moved to prevent victims from receiving compensation. After introducing a compensation scheme, they included a further obstacle which ensured victims could only receive compensation if they could prove their abuse occurred in the aftermath of a prior complaint made against their abuser.

 

This was virtually an impossible condition for young children to have acted on and every single applicant for the compensation scheme was rejected.

 

Earlier this July, more than 5 years after the European Court decision the independent assessor to review the scheme, retired High Court Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill that this ridiculous obstacle imposed by the State represented “an inherent inversion of logic and was a fundamental unfairness to the applicants….it was inconsistent with the core reasoning of the judgement of the ECHR in the Louise O’Keeffe case.”

 

As a direct response to a public call from Louise O’Keeffe, the Taoiseach, Mr. Leo Varadkar apologised to victims in the Dail on Tuesday 9th July. Yet some 400 applicants continue to wait for justice.

 

 The award is presented annually to people who act and work in the spirit of Mother Jones and Louise O’Keeffe now joins a worthy list of past recipients.

 

 The 2019 Award will be presented to Ms O’Keeffe by James Nolan and the Cork Mother Jones Committee on Wednesday 31st July at 2pm approx following the official opening of the 2019 festival at the Maldron Hotel, in the Shandon Historic Quarter in Cork.

 

Note:

 

The Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Awards to date have been to;

 

2013,     Margaret Aspinall and Sue Roberts. (Hillsborough Family Support Group)

 

2014,     Gareth Peirce. Solicitor.

 

2015      Fr Peter McVerry. Campaigner for the homeless.

 

2016      Dave Hopper (RIP) General Secretary, Durham Miners’ Association.

 

2017      Ken Fleming. (International Transport Workers Federation.)

 

2018      Mary Manning (on behalf of the Dunnes Stores workers)

 

2019      Louise O’Keeffe.

Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change.

Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change.

By Dr. John Barimo.

Cathedral Visitor Centre, Friday afternoon, 2nd August at 2.30.

Fridays for Future Cork

This lecture will explore issues of environmental and climate justice from local and regional levels to the planetary scale.  The conversation will be grounded in ecological and environmental sciences with pertinent background information provided with the intention of moving the discourse beyond established dogmas.

John Barimo

Dr. John Barimo

The talk will include experiential insights into traditional Native American cultures with regards to land use practices and ecological awareness.  Representative historical events will be explored to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the environmental movement.

The concept of NIMBY will be considered with local and regional environmental issues with attention focused on case studies where inequalities can be generally detected along socio-economic lines. Finally, concepts will be scaled up to planetary level to consider the linked issues of carbon emissions, ocean acidification and climate change, and their disproportionate impacts on developing countries and small island nations.

 

This lecture will be immediately followed by a short film Remembering the Cork Climate Change March 2019. (Frameworks Films). This impressive, colourful and vocal march of students protesting about the failure to tackle Climate Change took place on 15th March 2019 beginning at Emmet Place in Cork and finishing at City Hall Cork. Over 5000 students participated. 

 

Micah Nelson

Micah Neilson is a member of Fridays For Future Cork which helped to organise the Cork Climate Change march. She will then discuss the role of the grassroots movement Fridays For Future Cork has played in the recent student strikes in Ireland and how they have propelled the impact of Climate Change to the very top of the political and social agenda.

 

 

 

Alicia O’Sullivan

Alicia O’Sullivan is from Skibbereen in West Cork and is Ireland’s Youth Ambassador for the Oceans. She admitted recently that the impact of Climate Charge has made her afraid of the future. An activist on social issues she will also discuss the role of the youth of the world in saving the planet from extinction. She has recently campaigned against the planning permission for a plastics factory in her native town.

 

The meeting will conclude with a full panel Questions and Answers.

All are welcome to attend.

 

 

“A Conspiracy of Lies” – Cork Launch of Frank Connolly’s new book

A Conspiracy of Lies

By Frank Connolly

Published by Mercier Press.

Cork Book Launch at the Maldron Hotel at 2pm on Saturday 3rd August 2019.

Frank Connolly’s latest book is political thriller and love story and has as its dark background the horrific car bombings in Dublin on the evening 17th May 1974. Over forty five years have passed since 27 civilians were killed in a series of three bombs which exploded within five minutes of each other during evening rush hour at Talbot Street, Parnell Street and South Leinster Street in Dublin. A further seven  people were killed in Monaghan later that same day. The Ulster Volunteer Force eventually claimed responsibility. No one has been charged with the murders.

The efforts of Angie Whelan and Joe Heney, the latter just released from Mountjoy Jail and thrown together by their  traumatic experiences of the events of that day form the story of this taunt fast paced thriller to find those responsible for the explosions and the real truth behind these bombs.

The unlikely couple follow the evidence as to who and what was behind this mass murder on the streets of Dublin and Monaghan. Joe and Angie uncover and explore the layers of a frightening conspiracy which goes to the heart of the Irish and British States and may ensure silence forever. Meanwhile the victims and their relatives wait for justice.

What transpires is stranger than fiction…………. but is it fiction or the real truth?

The Whiddy Island Disaster

Betelguese 1979 (Photo via the Southern Star)

The 8th January 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the worst industrial accident to occur in the Republic of Ireland during peacetime when the French oil tanker, MV Betelgeuse, exploded at Gulf Oil’s Whiddy Island Oil Terminal in Bantry Bay. Fifty lives were lost in the explosion, forty two French, seven Irish and one Englishman. A Dutch diver died later during the salvage operation.

The anniversary was marked in the nearby town of Bantry by the families and friends of those who died as they gathered to remember their loved ones and to pay respect to the rescue services. It was attended by approximately 2,000 people with representation from all over Ireland and the maritime world. Additionally, 47 wreaths were sent in memory of those who died and as an acknowledgement of the importance of implementing international maritime regulation, to protect life and so as our rescue services do not have to be called out unnecessarily. In 1979, the International Maritime Organisation’s SOLAS 1974 had still not been implemented by Ireland and other nations and it provided for simple inert gas systems on tankers which would have prevented the disaster.

Betelgeuse memorial

Betelgeuse memorial, Bantry

This was a frightening disaster, and there were real fears for the safety of the town of Bantry itself as large oil holding tanks were located near the tanker explosion and had they exploded the results could have been even more catastrophic.

The subsequent Costello Tribunal, held in Bantry, concluded that the Betelgeuse was defective, and that Gulf Oil had deliberately downgraded safety systems. Some evidence provided to the Tribunal by Gulf Oil management and personnel about the timing of events on that night was not accepted as true by Justice Costello in his report, concluding that Gulf Oil embarked on a collusion in an attempt to absolve themselves from liability for their inadequate safety systems.

The escape opportunities for the workers and seafarers from the ship docking jetty back to Whiddy Island itself were not available and certainly resulted in the high death toll. Gulf Oil had removed the bridge between the jetty and Whiddy Island some years earlier to allow two tankers to berth simultaneously, fire-fighting equipment was ill-maintained and downgraded from automatic to manual, and the safety boats were removed from the vicinity of the jetty and moored at the other side of the Island where they were of little practical use in an emergency. There was no escape from the jetty to the Island on that awful night, where they waited for at least 20 minutes to be saved before the tanker exploded.

For the families in France, Ireland, the UK and Holland, this disaster was a horrific personal tragedy. Their loved ones had perished in an appalling event which many argue could and should have been foreseen and prevented. The arguments and unanswered questions continue but the sadness, grief, anger at the sense of injustice, of many of those bereaved remains raw and real.

Michael Kingston (photo via Southern Star)

International Lawyer, Michael Kingston, from Goleen in West Cork who lost his Dad Tim in the explosion, has campaigned for many years on behalf of the families to ensure that the recommendations of the Whiddy Island Tribunal report are recognised in legislation and appropriate penalties are in place to ensure that nothing like this can occur again in Ireland.

He is deeply unhappy at the response and lack of respect of successive Irish Governments to date, and the fact that Ireland continues to fail to implement International Maritime Organisation conventions leaving Ireland’s workers and rescue services at unnecessary risk.

At the 40th Anniversary Michael asked the Government to rectify these failings and he indicated that if they did not the families would bring a High Court action on the basis of the Right to Life under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which he indicates to us is imminent.

He indicates that the victims Death Certificates, by analogy with the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster in the United Kingdom in 1989, are incorrect and must be changed to ‘unlawful death’ as the surrounding circumstances of death (the findings of Mr Justice Costello in relation to Gulf Oil’s collusion and Gulf’s breach of Irish safety legislation at the time) have not been taken into account by the Coroner, as was the case initially with the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster. The Hillsborough Stadium Safety Officer has recently been convicted since Michael raised these issues in January.

Michael is Vice-President of the French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse.

Michael Kingston will speak at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Friday 2nd August at 7.30 pm.

Tom MacSweeney

He will be accompanied by Tom MacSweeney who was the first RTE broadcaster on the scene in Bantry on 08th January 1979. Tom has had a lifelong interest in maritime affairs and he has been critical of the State’s attitudes to the maritime sector.

In addition, a Statement will be made on behalf of Madame Ginette Ravaleu, President of the French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse.

 

Note.

The script of Michael Kingston’s Speech on 08th January 2019 at St Finbarr’s Church, Bantry, can be seen at

https://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2019/01/09/4167513-whiddy-commemoration-michael-kingstons-speech-in-full/

For further info see recent article in Inshore Ireland Summer 2019: https://inshore-ireland.com/whiddy-island-disaster-40-years-on/

 

 

 

The Story of Emmett Till: Let the People See

Professor Elliott J. Gorn will tell the story of Emmett Till at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Saturday afternoon 3rd August at 3pm.

Let the People See.

Emmett Till

14 year old Emmett Till from Chicago visited some of his family in Mississippi in August 1955.

He allegedly whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant who was working behind the counter of a country store in Money, Mississippi on 24th August. Emmett was kidnapped by Mrs Bryant’s husband Roy  and half brother J.W. “Big” Milam a few days later. They beat him and then shot him.

Emmett’s tortured body was found in the Taallahatchie River on Wednesday August 31st, with a cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire.

 

 

Instead of quietly burying the remains, Emmett’s mother Mamie Till-Mobley decided to have an open casket at the funeral in Chicago.

 

She proclaimed         “Let the people see what they did to my boy.”  

The mutilated face of Emmett Till

A hundred thousand people did see his face as they filed past the casket and millions saw the photos in the African-American press.

The burial aroused a storm of wider media interest and the story was featured extensively all over America. Yet just a month later the all-white jury found the killers of Emmett Till not guilty of murder in spite of strong evidence presented.

 

 

Prof. Elliott Gorn’s book

African Americans were shocked and horrified while many white Americans were forced to question the systematic racism which infected American society. The lynching of Emmett Till became a defining moment for many African Americans from Muhammad Ali to Rosa Parks. On 1st December 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat at the front of the bus in Montgomery. A few days earlier she had attended a meeting where the Emmett Till case was discussed.

The Till murder sparked a generation to create the greatest mass mobilisation of the twentieth- century in the American civil rights movement.

The lynching of young Emmet Till forces everyone to look hard at the realities of racism today as racially motivated violence continues despite the haunting image of young Till and the determination of his brave mother Mamie to let the people see!

Elliott J. Gorn

Author Elliott J. Gorn will talk of the short life and death of Emmett Till at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Saturday 3rd August at 3pm.

Elliott’s book,  The Story of Emmett Till……Let the People See is published by Oxford University Press 2018. He is also the author of Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America and will speak about Mother Jones on Wednesday evening at 8pm at the Firkin Crane Theatre. All welcome.

Fords:- Memories of the Line

Fords – Memories of the Line

Maldron Hotel, Friday August 2nd 2019 at 5.00 pm.

A Documentary by Frameworks Films and Ford Ex-Workers’ Group.

Fords production line at Cork’s Marina plant – Photo courtesy of Bill Daly

This documentary was shown at the festival in 2018. Unfortunately many people were unable to gain access last year. Following many requests it will be repeated.    

The Fords factory became synonymous with Cork in the sixty seven years in which production was carried on in the Marina plant.

Henry Ford’s father William had left from Ballinascarthy, in West Cork in “Black 1847”, while his mother Mary Litigot (of Belgian extraction?) was the adopted daughter of Patrick Ahern who was born in 1804 at Fair Lane (now Wolfe Tone Street, on the north side of Cork city). Patrick Ahern had worked as a butcher before joining the British Army and eventually wound up in Michigan, USA. Henry was born in 1863, and he was raised by William and Mary in the Ahern household.

Henry Ford returned to Cork in August 1912 and visited Fair Lane. Later in 1917 he announced the construction of his first factory outside America. The old Cork Park racecourse on the Marina on the south bank of the River Lee was purchased for £21,000 and was levelled and piled. The new 330,000 sq. foot factory was constructed and began the production of the Fordson tractors on 1st July 1919.

By 1922, some 1600 men were employed. Later as Model Ts were manufactured along with tractors and the final Model T in the world was completed there in December 1928. The payroll quadrupled to 6700 until the impact of the Great Depression in the early 30s when there were mass layoffs. Thousands of former Cork production workers headed for the new Ford truck plant in Dagenham, Essex in the UK.

Group of Cork workers at Fords Marina. Photo courtesy of Bill Daly

The factory worked on through the Second World War, unions were finally fully recognised by Ford’s in Cork in the early 50s, and wages were higher than most other employments. The Cork factory produced all the other main Ford vehicles including the Model A, Model BF and Model Y; Prefect; Anglia; Escort; Cortina; and Sierra.

By then, the production/assembly line originally invented by Ransom E Olds and first implemented by Henry Ford in 1913 and used in Cork. This brave new world was sacrosanct, like a vein running through living organisms, the constant noise, the smells of the different processes, yet it had to keep moving, it must not stop, the vehicles, slowly taking shape shuffle forward in a never ending line and then continue their journey out of sight.

The daily working lives of thousands of men were dictated by the constant movement of the line, repetitive jobs, the systematic deskilling of many men, the daily deadening grind, the original time and motion study. Time was measured by passed hours and the number of jobs completed on the vehicles as they passed through the various work stations in slow motion or with alarming pace depending on one’s job and mind.  Work was constant, hum drum, tough, and some jobs on the line were particularly difficult.

However many memories of working relate to the comradeship, the ‘craic’, the chat, the banter, the ongoing and never ending Cork slagging. Tea-breaks, lunches, the endless sports discussions, soccer, hurling and the pints with colleagues at week-ends. Ford paid well and the community of workers and work had its own distinctive rhythm.

Fordsons soccer team, (the “Tractor Boys”) popularised association football in Cork in the early 1920s, the team was the first club from Cork to play in the League of Ireland in 1924 and won the Free State Cup in 1926. The club’s pitch was located at Pic Du Jer Park in Ballinlough which was owned by Ford.

Emma Bowell (2nd from right) with Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films with Ann Rea and Bill Daly (left) at last year’s festival

Thousands of Corkonians passed through the Marina plant, in its blue and white colours, many families had several members working and the thronged mass of workers walking up and down Centre Park Road at clocking on/off times bore testament to the world of assembly work.

But time caught up with Fords and sentiment, the final impact of closure in 1984 left a deep wound on the people of Cork. Over 30 years former workers have come together to tell their own story of working in Fords. It is a story of life, work, the fun, the friends and the bonds which maintain the links between groups of workers who shared their lives at a Cork institution.

It is a workers film of working life…….a rare and priceless documentary.

Fords – Memories of the Line provides a fascinating insight into a Cork institution by those who worked on the line and is a must see for those who worked at Ford’s or for anyone with family members or friends who worked below on the Marina. Even now in 2019 ironically comes news that Fords is set to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in developing new facilities at Corktown in Detroit as the Marina site transforms slowly into the Cork Docklands development.

 

 

 

 

The Limerick Soviet of 1919

Limerick Trades Council

Photo: Limerick Trades Council in 1919.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will show the documentary, The Limerick Soviet, which has been produced by Frameworks Films, the Cork based film production company, in collaboration with the Limerick Council of Trade Unions, at the Maldron Hotel on Thursday evening 1st August 2019 at 5.00pm.

The documentary will be introduced by Liam Cahill, author of Forgotten Revolution, the Limerick Soviet 1919 (The Centenary Edition).

This documentary tells the thrilling story of a workers rising in Limerick in April 1919 when a general strike was called by the Limerick United Trades and Labour Council.

It followed the deaths on the 6th April of Robert Byrne, a local trade union activist and IRA member, as well as a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, during an audacious escape attempt from custody by Byrne. As a result the British Authorities declared Limerick City a Special Military Area (SMA) whereby military restrictions would apply and permits were required to enter and leave.

The Limerick United Trades and Labour Council refused to accept that the workers of Limerick required permits to come and go to work and declared a general strike. Some 14,000 workers answered the strike call on Monday 14th April 1919. The Strike committee took control of the city and as a self- governing committee declared itself a Soviet. It was a highly effective, disciplined and a well organised operation under the leadership of John Cronin, a carpenter and Chairperson of the Trades Council.

John Dowling in 1919

John Dowling in 1919

Jack Dowling from Cobh, a former fitter in the naval dockyard in Haulbowline and friend of James Connolly, now an ITGWU organiser became “a pivotal figure” in the Limerick Soviet and in subsequent events.

John Cronin and his committee organised and supervised the distribution of food, transport, communications and movement in the City and even printed its own currency during the period. The strike received unprecedented international media coverage owing to the presence of journalists covering an international air race.

Eventually following negotiations and due to Church pressure and the lack of wider national union support, the Soviet decided on a full return to work by the 25th April and the SMA was abolished a few days later.

Limerick Soviet film by Frameworks Films

The Soviet was remarkable in its organisation, in its general unity of workers and in the courage and solidarity of the workers and trade unions. The words of Mother Jones on her death bed could be applied to this Limerick Soviet in that the workers of Limerick “showed the world what the workers can do”.

The Trades Council affirmed the right of workers to come and go from their employment without hindrance by the national authorities. It also displayed to the British Authorities and the Republican movement the potential power of organised labour and its potent force for action when provoked.

This compelling documentary was produced with the support of the Sound and Vision Scheme, an initiative of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Mr Mike McNamara President of the Limerick Council of Trade Unions along with the film makers Emma Bowell and Eddie Noonan of Frameworks Films will also attend. 

Forgotten Revolution – Liam Cahill’s comprehensive history of the Limerick Soviet, completely rewritten and extended.

Liam Cahill is a historian and writer, he has researched the history of the Limerick Soviet for many years, and originally wrote the Forgotten Revolution in 1990 (published by O’Brien Press Ltd). Liam has had a long history of active involvement in the Irish Trade Union movement and has written and lectured extensively on Irish Labour history in the period 1916 – 1923.

Liam will introduce and discuss the Limerick Soviet at the Maldron Hotel in Shandon on Thursday evening 1st August 2019 at 5.00 pm.  Copies of his recent publication* will be available to purchase.

 

A special Limerick Soviet Exhibition will be on display courtesy of Cork City Library. The exhibition will continue to be displayed at Knocknaheeny Library during the month of August.

 

* Forgotten Revolution ….The Limerick Soviet 1919 …..A Threat To British Power In Ireland (The Centenary Edition) by Liam Cahill. Published by Orla Kelly Publishing.

 

Jimmy Crowley returns to the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Jimmy Crowley will again perform at the eighth Spirit of Mother Jones festival at the Maldron Hotel on Friday 2nd August at 1pm. In what has become a huge highlight of the festival Jimmy explained how much this gig means to him.

Jimmy Crowley (left) with fellow singer / songwriter and member of the Cork Mother Jones Committee Richard T. Cooke

Writing in the Evening Echo on August 11th 2018, Jimmy said of his 2018 Mother Jones gig,

 

“I somehow attain my almost perfect audience for this little gig; people there for the right reasons; they’re patient with me if I want to introduce some new material; not too demanding of the “old stuff” and I get, perhaps, the most gentle, genial gentleman in Cork to introduce me and MC the event – the irrepressible Richard Cooke. “

 

Jimmy Crowley has been performing and singing ballads in Cork for almost 50 years. He was born in Douglas in Cork, began writing songs in the early 70s and ran the folk club at Douglas GAA club for many years. His band Stokers Lodge was known throughout Ireland.

 

Jimmy likes to talk and sing songs of Cork characters such as hunters and drag hunting, of harriers and the Shandon foot beagles and sportsmen such as legendary road bowler Mick Barry from Waterfall, and the immortal hurler Christy Ring, of stupendous deeds of valour, local rivalries and personalities, great and little events, and the real everyday topics of conversation of the people.

 

 

His first album “The Boys of Fairhill” released in 1997, contained such classics as The Pool Song, Johnny Jump Up, Salonika, the Armoured Car and of course The Boys of Fairhill. This was followed by a second album “Camphouse Ballads” and “Some Things Never Change”. Later still “Uncorked” was released in 1998, while “The Coast of Malabar” appeared in 2000.

 

These songs live on now in the soul, the streets and the singers of Cork regardless of cultural and musical globalisation. Just imagine where else in the world would you get an uplifting song about Connie Doyle’s legendary Fair Hill harrier dog known as The Armoured Car?

 

Jimmy has played all over Ireland, Europe and America and is a familiar face on the streets of Cork. He is known as the Bard of Cork as his unique style of singing and his love of his native City, especially the local Shandon area is central to his musical imagination.

 

In 2014, Jimmy Crowley produced *Songs From The Beautiful City… The Cork Urban Ballads”.  Now generally considered to be his greatest work, Jimmy proclaims this collection as “the true history of the people of Cork City through their only resource of expression: the humble ballad.” So after many hard years of research, much ferreting out of local traditional ballads, elusive song writers and reclusive characters, collecting of lost and half remembered words which portray a lively, progressive and earthy narrative of our priceless history, our folklore and bealoideas, Jimmy delivered his masterpiece!

 

The book contains such classics as Marilyn Munroe (words by the late Paddy O’Driscoll, the much loved Bard of Ballinure), Cheer, Boys, Cheer (words by the late Helen O’Donovan for many years bean an tí with the Cork Singers Club) and The Old Skellig Lists (words by Teresa Mac Carthaigh, who also wrote and sings the hugely inspiring Ballad of Mother Jones). Jimmy has ensured not just the survival but the vitality of umpteen Cork ballads for future generations of singers.

 

In the preface to this book, Mick Moloney, of the New York University Department of Music stated;

 

“It’s hard to compare him to anyone else; but if there was just one singer I would place alongside Jimmy in the matter of flair, delivery and style it would be another County Cork native; the magnificent irrepressible Maggie Barry. It’s no surprise that Jimmy and I are both admirers of this trailblazing woman operating very much in a man’s world who sadly did not get the affirmation she deserved in her lifetime”                      

 

Visit www.jimmycrowley.com for details.

 

*Songs from The Beautiful City: The Cork Urban Ballads…..collected, edited and annotated by Jimmy Crowley. The Freestate Press 2014.

 

 

Cork’s Lord Mayor praises Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Lord Mayor John Sheehan along with Ann Piggott of the Cork Mother Jones Committee listening to John Nyhan singing the Pete Seeger ballad “Where Have All The Flowers Gone

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. John Sheehan launched the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School at the Maldron Hotel in Shandon on Wednesday 26th June.


During the course of the launch, the Lord Mayor praised the organisers of the festival, stating that such a festival was essential in a democracy where people could attend, listen, participate and examine their own ideas and views on issues in society.
Lord Mayor Sheehan with James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee at the festival launch.

Lord Mayor Sheehan with James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee at the festival launch.

 
Lord Mayor Sheehan said that he was looking forward to officially opening the festival on Wednesday 31st July in Shandon.
Music and songs were provided by Richard T Cooke, Joan Goggin and family and John Nyhan. Ann Piggott detailed the packed programme of events at the forthcoming festival and summer school, mentioned in particular the highlight of the March of the Mill Children pageant and formally thanked the Lord Mayor for launching the festival.
Lord Mayor Sheehan with James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee at the festival launch.

Lord Mayor Sheehan with James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee at the festival launch.

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Members of the Shandon Area History Group, Dominic, Denis, Dypna, Maeve and Grace at the Mother Jones festival launch..

Ger McCarthy, Cork Mother Jones Committee, William Frode de la Foret and Beibhinn O’Callaghan of Cork Community Art Link.

 

 

Our sincere thanks to all at Cobh Animation Team for their attendance at the launch and for the fabulous photos, many more of which can be found on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CobhAnimationTeam/