Photos from the final day of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2018

The 7th Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School came to an end last evening (Saturday, 4th August) with a well-attended toast to Mother Jones at the plaque in her honour at John Redmond Street.   The 2018 festival has been a tremendous success with capacity crowds at all our events and and a combination of fabulous lectures, film and music.

We wish to thank all those who contributed to making the event such a success.

Here are some photos from Saturday’s events:

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington who gave a fascinating insight into the life and activism of her grandmother Hanna Sheehy Skeffington

Micheline Sheehy Skeffington presentation

William Hammond of the Cork Mother Jones Committee makes a presentation to Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

Frank Connolly

Frank Connolly who spoke about his new book NAMA-land

Frank Connolly presentation

Frank Connolly after receiving presentation from Ann Piggott and Ann Rea of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

Mick and Jennifer Treacy

Musician Mick Treacy with his daughter Jennifer


Ukelele band

Ukelele band providing some of the music at the Butter market plaza

Loretta Williams / Mother Jones

Loretta Williams as “Mother Jones” at the Mother Jones plaque


Rory McCarthy

Rory McCarthy sings at the Mother Jones Plaque



Some of the crowd at the annual Toast to Mother Jones at the Mother Jones Plaque


Loretta and Ann

Loretta Williams as Mother Jones with Ann Piggott of the Cork Mother Jones committee


Ladies in period costume at the Mother Jones Plaque

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival – Timetable – Day 4 (Saturday)

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School

 programme 2018.


Saturday 4th August.

11.00  L   Frank Connolly,

NAMA-land…the inside story of Ireland’s property sell-off and the creation of a new elite”.

Firkin Theatre

2.30    L   Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington

“Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, feminist, nationalist, socialist, pacifist – her activism in Ireland                                                           and the US”

Firkin Theatre

5.00    F    PRIDE

The true story of how a group of London-based gay and lesbian activists supported the                   families of Welsh miners during the 1984 miners strike. In association with the Quay Co-op and the support of Cork LGBT + Pride Week.

Firkin Theatre.

7.30    M  Toast and songs to Mother Jones at the plaque on John Redmond Street. Followed by music and festival closing events at the Shandon Plaza.

All are welcome.

Breaking News: 2018 Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Award for Mary Manning and the Dunnes Stores Strikers.



2018 Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Award for Mary Manning and the Dunnes Stores Strikers.

Mary Manning

Mary Manning


The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones Award has been awarded to Mary Manning and the Dunnes Stores Strikers.

On July 19th 1984, Mary, while working on the cash registers at the Dunnes Stores branch on Henry Street in Dublin refused to register the sale of two grapefruit for a customer in accordance with the stated policy of her trade union (IDATU… Mandate Trade Union).

Mary was immediately suspended by the Dunnes Stores management, and thus a simple action initiated the strike…..eight women and one man joined Mary on the picket lines, and the strike continued for 2 years and nine months. Their actions on that day led eventually to world-wide interest and forced a change in Irish Government policy.

Dunnes Strike

Dunnes Stores strikers Karen Gearon and Mary Manning with the late Nimrod Sejake of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and ANC.

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

which presents this annual award

“Mary Manning and her colleagues were willing to act in accordance with the stated policy of their trade union motions and do what was right to make a determined stand to raise awareness of the brutal apartheid regime which existed in South Africa. Mary’s stand on that day in July 1984 triggered the subsequent events.

In spite of all obstacles and harassment and silence from those who should have supported them, these workers refused to be silenced and bravely stood up for the human rights of South Africans who were suffering under the apartheid regime.”



“At extraordinary personal cost, Mary Manning and her colleagues walked the picket lines month after month for over 30 months. Their actions resonated around the world and gave inspiration and hope to the oppressed people suffering under the apartheid regime.”

James Nolan continued,

“None other than the future President of South Africa, Mr. Nelson Mandela himself who was in prison at the time, has stated that the Dunnes Stores Strikers gave him   great hope and inspiration. Their actions forced the Irish Government to eventually ban the import of South African products to Ireland and triggered the wider boycott of these products elsewhere. Mary Manning and the Dunnes Stores Strikers are worthy recipients of the 2018 Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Award.”


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

 Mary Manning is a native of Dublin. She emigrated to Australia for a number of years following the ending of the strike in 1987. Mary has two daughters Siobhan and Niamh and lives with her partner Dave in Dublin. She is the author with Sinead O’Brien of the recent book Striking Back – The Untold Story of an Anti-Apartheid Striker, published by Collins Press

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured that Mary has come to speak at the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School and has accepted this award on behalf of herself and her brave colleagues. The award is presented annually to people who act and work in the spirit of Mother Jones and Mary Manning and her colleagues join a worthy list of past recipients.

 The 2018 Award will be presented to Ms. Manning by Mr. James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee on Friday evening August 3rd at the Firkin Crane Theatre, in the Shandon Historic Quarter in Cork.


The Dunnes Stores Strikers:

Mary Manning, Cathyrn O’Reilly, Sandra Griffin, Alma Russell, Theresa Mooney, Vonnie Malone, Karen Gearon, Tommy Davis, Michelle Glavin and Liz Deasy,




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


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.)                  .


For further details contact

Ger O’Mahony 0863196063

James Nolan 0861651356

Ann Piggott 087 9031282


Date: Friday 3rd August 2018.



Spirit of Mother Jones Festival – Timetable Friday 3rd August

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School

programme 2018.


Friday 3rd August


11.00.    Dr Emily E. LB. Twarog

The Female Vote: Why gender matters in American politics!”

Cathedral Visitor Centre

1.00.     Music at the Maldron. Jimmy Crowley.

2.30.    Professor Louise Ryan

              “Votes for All Women? The tricky issue of class politics in the Irish suffrage movement” 


              Cathedral Visitor Centre.


7.30       Mary Manning.

Striking Back……..The story of the Dunnes Stores Workers strike”

Firkin Theatre

9.30      John Nyhan and Mick Treacy present the songs of Ewan McColl at the Maldron Bar

Great start to Mother Jones 2018

Some photos from the first day of the 7th Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2018 which was opened today by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn. The event continues until next Saturday evening, 4th August.


Mother Jones (Loretta Williams) with one of “her boys” (Dominic O’Callaghan)


L to R Joan Goggin, (Cork Mother Jones), Aoife Delaney (young Mother Jones) and Loretta Williams (American Mother Jones) with the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mick Finn at the opening of the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones festival at the Maldron Hotel.


Mother Jones 2018 Day 1 019

Richard T. Cooke and some of the Shandon Shawlies performing at today’s launch


Mother Jones 2018 Day 1 021

Listening to the music at the Maldron


Mother Jones 2018 Day 1 035

Ann Piggott makes a presentation to US speaker Dr. John Barimo on behalf of the Cork Mother Jones committee


Film launch

Premiere of “Fords: Memories of the Line” at the Firkin Crane Theatre last night. With (L-R) Bill Daly (Ford ex-workers group), Ann Rea (Cork Mother Jones Committee), Emma Bowell (Frameworks Films) and Eddie Noonan (Frameworks Films)

Shandon is Ready for Mother Jones!


Shandon, Cork City

The flowers are blooming, the window displays are resplendent and the streets are gleaming in the Shandon area as it awaits tomorrow’s start of the 7th Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School which begins tomorrow (Wednesday) and runs until Saturday, 4th August.   Our thanks to all concerned.


“Understanding the Rise of Trumpism among the ‘Great-Grand Children of Mother Jones”

Dr John Barimo will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and summer school on Wednesday evening 1st August at 4pm at the Cathedral Visitor Centre, Roman Street, Cork.

Dr. John Barimo

Dr. John Barimo

He will address the following topic:

“Understanding the Rise of Trumpism among the ‘Great-Grand Children of Mother Jones”

This lecture will focus the role played by many of Mother Jones “Progeny” in Appalachian coal country that became staunch supporters of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign even though it appeared in many ways to work against their own self interests.  These so-called great-grandchildren are current miners or other manual workers and their extended families, many of whom are still bound by the cycle of poverty.  There will be a background brief on a few quarks of the US electoral process and an examination of the socioeconomic profile of the people of Appalachia.

We will also explore effects, influences and scope of social media and misinformation campaigns, and the use of effective branding and marketing campaigns.  Lastly, we will look at the shifts in public sentiments during the campaign and voter sentiment in Pennsylvania which was the key swing state with struggling coal and steel industries.  A few film clips will be embedded in the presentation which will highlight public sentiments in Appalachia along with the struggles encountered by these individuals.

Dr Barimo is an educator, coastal ecologist, writer, advocate of social justice and adventurer. He earned a doctorate in Marine Biology and subsequently lectured at socially disadvantaged third level institutions in the US Virgin Islands and Miami. He has recently come to Cork and lives in the Shandon Historic Quarter.

John will speak at 4pm at the Cathedral Visitor Centre on Wednesday 1st August.

All welcome.


Continue reading

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2018 – Information for Visitors

The 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2018 starts on Wednesday, 1st  August and runs until the evening of Saturday, 4th August.  This year we have a new venue in addition to our now established venues at the Maldron Hotel and the Firkin Crane Theatre.  That new venue is the North Cathedral Visitor Centre at the side of Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Ann on Roman Street.  All three venues are within a few minutes walking distance of one another in the Shandon area just to the north of Cork city centre.

The Maldron Hotel
Maldron Hotel

The Maldron Hotel

The Maldron Hotel is situated on John Redmond Street in what was formerly Cork’s historic North Infirmary hospital.   All of this year’s Music events will be held in the cosy atmosphere of Bells Bar in the hotel.





Firkin Crane

The Firkin Crane Theatre

The Firkin Crane Theatre is just 200 metres from theMaldron.  This iconic circular building from 1855 was originally part of Cork’s historic butter market but is now used primarily as a centre for dance, especially ballet, and for other music and theatrical events.  The Firkin Crane will be the venue of a number of lectures / talks during the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2018


Cathedral Visitor Centre

Cathedral Visitor Centre

The Cathedral Visitor Centre is located to the rear of Cork’s North Cathedral (Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Ann) and can be accessed from just around the corner at Roman Street.  It is within 5 minutes walk of our other venues and will be the venue for many of the films and talks during the festival

Our sincere thanks the the management of all three venues for their assistance and cooperation with our festival.

How to get there:

Venue Map

Venue Map with Shandon Steeple at its centre

Bus Service.

The 202 and 202A bus travelling northside from the City Centre (Merchants Quay stop) will take one to the door of both the Maldron Hotel and the Cathedral Visitor Centre and to within 200 metres to the Firkin Crane Theatre.  The City Tour Bus stops also at the Firkin Crane Theatre as a regular stop on it’s City wide tour.
Walking distances.
Maldron is 5 minutes from Christy Ring Bridge (Opera House)
Firkin Theatre is 8 minutes from Christy Ring Bridge
Cathedral Visitor Centre is 10 minutes from Christy Ring Bridge.
Car Parks.
Pay car park in the grounds of the North Cathedral.
Carrolls Quay or Paul Street car parks are nearby.

Ford’s – “Memories of the Line” – new film by Frameworks Films

Fords – Memories of the Line

Firkin Crane Theatre, Wednesday August 1st 2018 at 7.30pm.

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

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

Henry Ford

Henry Ford – photo via US Library of Congress

Henry Ford’s father William had left from Ballinascarthy, in West Cork in “Black 1847”, the worst year of the Irish Great Famine, 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 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.

Lord Mayor on Fordson

Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, driving a Fordson tractor at the Marina in early 1920. (Photo via Fair Lane / Ford)

By 1922, some 1600 men were employed. Later as Motel 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.

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.

Ford workers Cork

Ford workers at the Cork plant. (Photo courtesy of Bill Daly)

By then, the production/assembly line originally invented by Ransom E Olds and first implemented by Henry Ford in 1913 used in Cork from the start. “This “brave new world” of automation was inviolable, the throbbing heart of a never ending machine, the smells of different processes, the sounds of industry, yet it had to keep moving, it must never stop, the vehicles, slowly taking shape and shuffling forward in a never ending line until each new vehicle rolled off the production line”

Ford Prefect 1950s

Another car rolling off the Cork production line early 1950s

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.

Ford's Marina worker

Checking the engine of a new Ford Cortina at the Marina Plant

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.

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. Now former workers have come together to tell their own story of working in Fords.

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 have family members who worked on the Marina.




2018 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival “Music at the Maldron” Series.


Some of those who will perform at Music at the Maldron. Clockwise from top left: Cobh Animation Team (pic:: Claire Stack), William Hammond, Cork Singers’ Club, Shandon Shawlies and Joan Goggin (Pic: Andy Jay)

Among the most popular musical events at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival each year is the “Music at the Maldron” series of concerts and shows.


The lunch time series take place at the Maldron Hotel bar from 1pm to 2pm approximately each day of the festival and feature some of Cork’s finest musical talent.


Wednesday August 1st. Begins 1pm

Official opening of the seventh annual international Spirit of Mother Jones Festival by the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mick Finn. There will be several performances musical, song and theatrical performances featuring Richard T Cooke, Muddy Lee and the Shandon Shawlies, Joan Goggin and family, Cobh Animation and specially all the way from Illinois, America’s own Mother Jones, Loretta Williams.


Thursday August 2nd

William Hammond, Linda Quinlan and guests. 1pm



Friday August 3rd

The Jimmy Crowley concert. 1pm


Festival events


Wednesday 1st August at 9.30 pm

The Cork Singers’ Club at the Maldron Hotel.


Thursday August 2nd at 9.30 pm.

The Voltronic at the Maldron Hotel.


Friday 3rd August at 9.30 pm

John Nyhan and Mick Treacy sing the songs of Ewan MacColl at 9.30 at the Maldron Hotel.


Saturday 4th August at 7.30 pm.

Songs and music at the Mother Jones Plaque (on John Redmond Street).

A toast will take place in honour of Mother Jones followed by a sing song and the Ukelele group will perform at the Shandon Plaza. (Near the Firkin Theatre)


All are welcome, events are free.