Some Memories of the Tenth Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021.

The tenth Spirit of Mother Jones Festival concluded on Sunday night 28th November 2021 with the songs of the Cork Singers’ Club.

The 2021 festival programme required a miracle due to the deterioration in the Covid-19 situation in Ireland and yet the Cork Mother Jones committee and friends ensured the completion of 20 events over the four days and managed to broadcast most of them on Cork Community Television. The extent of the collaboration we received from numerous groups, organisations and individuals to create a festival demonstrates that there is no substitute for people working cooperatively. 

Taking the example of the resilient spirit of Mother Jones as the road map, everyone just “ploughed on”,  (while ensuring full compliance with the Covid-19 regulations to keep people safe), we achieved our aim to carry through with the ambitious programme of events.

Poster of 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival designed by Shannon Smyth.

Highlight for those lucky to be in attendance was the presentation of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award to the brave representatives of the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance (CSSA).

Following the televised broadcast of the thought provoking conversation between Catherine Coffey O’Brien and Maureen Considine of the Alliance, they were joined by Phil Kinsella and Sheila O’Boyle for the formal presentation of the 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Award by James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee. 

It was an emotional occasion!

One is however left to ponder at the ongoing silence of so many and to wonder how this country can even consider allowing planning applications for development/construction of apartments to take place on the OSI marked burial grounds of hundreds of children?  In spite of our reputation for mourning and honouring our dead, why are marked burial grounds no longer deemed sacred from development and are the hundreds of children whom we as a nation failed in the past to protect not allowed to now rest in peace?

Earlier, adoption rights campaigner Mari Steel who had herself been adopted from Bessborough in the early 60s discussed her journey to locate her own mother Josie. 

A number of Q&A sessions with each of the speakers at the Maldron Hotel followed the Cork Community TV transmissions and the subsequent discussions, arguments and queries were reminders of the sparkle and sparks associated with many of the Spirit of Mother Jones meetings over the past decade. We appreciated the kind comments of Cllr John Sheehan deputising for the Lord Mayor who as he formally opened the festival stated that “he eagerly looked forward to the challenging programme of events at the festival each year as it was essential in any functioning democracy that people ask the hard questions”.

From the tragedy of Tadhg Barry, who spent his entire adult life working in the engine room of the revolution in Cork to the eventful and long life of Muriel MacSwiney, an unlikely revolutionary, the debates and sharing of information went on. The late and much loved Dr Sean Pettit could be seen once again displaying his legendary oratorical skills describing the Cork City of Mary Harris and much more. His final public performance displayed his creative approach to his lectures and his love of Cork City highlighted how he provided the stimulus for generations of local Cork historians.

We did not forget Mother Jones either and many of the documentaries at the festival sought to frame the American background and landscape in which Mother Jones operated in the early 20th Century. We appreciate the assistance of our friends, in America, UK and Greece. Her memory was enhanced in Cork through the efforts of singers such as John Murphy, Cait Ni Cheallachair, William Hammond, Karan Casey, Richard T Cooke and Mags Creedon who performed songs and stories relating to the life of Mother Jones. John and Gearoid Nyhan accompanied by Mick Treacy performed “Let the Mountains Roll”.  Our thanks to the Cork Folk Festival and Cork Singers’ Club for their invaluable assistance. Cork’s own Mother Jones, Joan Goggin and her family Eadaoin and Aoife supporting the event all the way.

As the tenth festival recedes into the memory, so many people and organisations should be thanked. Without Eddie Noonan and the crew of Frameworks Films and Cork Community Television, the festival could not have happened in these never ending Covid days. We really appreciate the practical support our main sponsors such as Cork City Council, Cathedral Credit Union, the ASTI, SIPTU and the INTO as well as the assistance of the Shandon Maldron Hotel and WhazOn Cork which have continued to assist us even as we cannot have normal social gatherings and discussions which were always the heart, soul and magic of the Spirit of Mothers Jones festivals. 

Our thanks go to all the participants this year who give of their time on a voluntary basis to contribute to the events, to designers Abbie O’Shea and Shannon Smyth, website administrator Ferdia O’Mahony and to Ciaran Cronin and Aidan Fitzpatrick of A to Z printers. For 2021 we wish to especially thank the Centre for Community and Civic Engagement in University College Cork for promoting and assisting the formal launch of the festival back in October on the beautiful grounds of UCC.

Our collaboration with the Centre For Earth Ethics in New York with respect to the Mona Pollaca interview was innovative.  Finally we are thankful to the journalists at the Evening Echo, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, Southern Star and 96FM for providing local and national coverage of the events as many normal community publicity channels were closed due to Covid-19.

As a committee we now look forward to working on the next Spirit of Mother Jones festival in 2022.

If anyone has ideas for topics, for speakers or for entertainment for this 2022 festival, please drop a brief email to motherjonescork@gmail.com and we will consider all suggestions.

Some of the extensive press coverage of the 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival follows:    

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/arid-40751109.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/mother-and-baby-home-campaigners-honoured-with-mother-jones-award-1.4737326

https://www.echolive.ie/corknews/arid-40750860.html

https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsandculture/arid-40752849.html

https://www.irishpost.com/news/cork-mother-and-baby-home-campaigners-honoured-with-award-224813

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40751139.html

Day 2 of the Online Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021.

Why not forget Black Friday and click on www.corkcommunitytv.ie

Friday 25th November.

2:00 pm. The highlights of the past ten years of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festivals.

7:00 pm. Tadhg Barry Remembered. A documentary by Cork Council of Trade Unions and Frameworks Films.

Dr. Donal Ó Drisceoil interview.

8:00 pm. Interview with Dr. Donal Ó Drisceoil, author of Utter Disloyalist: Tadhg Barry and the Irish Revolution. 

The official launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021 took place at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon last night. The Lord Mayor of Cork represented by Cllr. John Sheehan declared the festival open and stated that he was delighted that the festival had proceeded this year as each event set out to challenge one’s views of history and social issues. Speaker, Anne Twomey attended and participated in a brief Q&A session afterwards in relation to questions about Muriel MacSwiney. 

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021 Events Schedule.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will take place online on Cork Community Television from Thursday 25th November 2021 until Sunday 28th November 2021. We are hoping to have a number of live events, including Q&A’s with the interviewees as well as some live music at the Maldron Hotel in Shandon during the course of the Festival. These are subject strictly to the Covid 19 regulations specified at the time and the attendance will be limited.

Thursday 25th November – Sunday 28th November 2021

Programme of online events on Cork Community Television.

Poster of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2021. Designed by Shannon Smith.

Thursday 25th November 2021

  • 2:00 pm. The highlights of the 2020 online Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.
  • 7.30 pm. Muriel MacSwiney………The Unlikely Revolutionary.                                     An interview with Anne Twomey, historian and teacher, of the Shandon Area History Group.
Anne Twomey.

Friday 26th November 2021

  • 2:00 pm.  The highlights of the first ten years of the Spirit of Mother Jones festivals.
  • 7.00 pm. Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the death of Tadhg Barry, of Blarney Street.

                       Tadhg Barry Remembered. Documentary by Cork Council of Trade Unions and Frameworks Films.

  • 8.00 pm. Interview with Dr. Donal O’Drisceoil

                       Author of Utter Disloyalist: Tadhg Barry and The Irish Revolution.

Dr. Donal Ó Drisceoil

Saturday 27th November 2021.

  • 2:00 pm. Blood on the Mountain produced by Mari-Lynn Evans.
  • 4:00 pm. Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre produced by Lamprini C Tomas and Nickos Ventouras.
  • 6:00 pm. Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Rosemary Feurer.
  • 6:30 pm. Interview (zoom) with Mari Steed, Adoption Rights campaigner.
Mari Steed
  • 7:00pm. Maureen Considine and Catherine Coffey O’Brien of the Cork Survivors and Supporters Alliance, CSSA discuss their effort to safeguard the Bessborough Burial ground.
Maureen Considine and Catherine Coffey O’Brien.

Sunday 28th November 2021

  • 2:00 pm. The Mine Wars produced and directed by Randall MacLowry.
  • 4:00 pm. Mother Jones and Her Children by Frameworks Films.
  • 7:00 pm. Dr. Sean Pettit…….An Extraordinary Teacher with an introduction by Richard T Cooke. This film features Sean’s final presentation “The Cork City of Mary Harris” at    the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on 29th July 2016.
Dr. Sean Pettit and Richard T. Cooke.
  • 8:00 pm. The Songs of Mother Jones.

Featuring Māire Ní Chēilleachair, Karan Casey, William Hammond, Mags Creedon,   Richard T Cooke, John Murphy, John & Gearoid Nyhan and Mick Treacy.

These events will feature on Cork Community Television at http://www.corkcommunitytv.ie or Virgin Media Channel 803.

The 2021 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will also include Q&A sessions with the speakers at the Maldron Hotel after the broadcasts on Cork Community Television. The capacity is strictly limited in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations for the safety of participants.  Full details on how to attend will be announced later.

Why did Mother Jones wish to be buried at Mount Olive?

Every wonder why Mother Jones wished to be buried near “her boys”  at the town of Mount Olive, in Southern Illinois in the Union Miners Cemetery, which is located near Route 66 midway between Springfield and St. Louis?


Mother Jones had earlier written to the Miners of Mount Olive on November 12th 1923, seeking 

“a resting place in the same clay that shelters the miners who gave up their lives in the hills of Virden, Illinois on the morning of October 12th 1898, for their heroic sacrifice for their fellow men”.

Extract from Mother Jones and the Union Miners Cemetery Mount Olive, Illinois by the Illinois Labor History Society.

Her request was granted.

Grave of Mother Jones, Mount Olive.

 
The Battle of Virden claimed the lives of four Mount Olive miners and since 1899, October 12th has been celebrated as Miners Day in Illinois at the Union Miners Cemetery.


During the battle, seven miners were killed and forty were wounded. Five mine guards died and four were wounded. The youngest miner killed was Edward Long, just 19 years old from Mount Olive.

Virden Monument. Mother Jones rear centre.

Many activists from the Progressive Miners of America are buried at Mount Olive. Recently the remains of labour singer Anne Feeney, were placed in the cemetery.

To listen to the story of the Battle of Virden, the following is an interesting interview with local resident and historian John Alexander, an Illinois bookstore owner.
https://https://youtu.be/8qcBLQL2beg
www.buzzsprout.com/1856440/

Our thanks to JASE Media Services in Mount Olive for their kind permission to share this podcast.

Launch of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival Cork 2021.

The official launch of the tenth annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will be held in University College Cork on Thursday 14th October 2021 in conjunction with the UCC Department of Community and Civic Engagement and Community Week.

Mona Polacca.

 
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is also delighted to collaborate with The Center for Earth Ethics in New York for a special Zoom event hosted by University College Cork later that evening  at 5pm local time on Thursday 14th October featuring an interview with Mona Polacca, a Native American spiritual elder from Arizona. All are welcome to register for this event.

Details of the talk. 
https://www.ucc.ie/en/civic/open/communityweek/thursday/spirit of motherjones/

To register for password;  
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEld-iurDkpHNx9gIxo1TRQjAZieP-304Pj

According to James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

We are very happy to work with the UCC Department of Community and Civic Engagement and The Center for Earth Ethics in New York to help bring this outstanding and interesting event to Cork.

We hope it will attract a large audience of young people and students to the ideas and thoughts of the Native American community as to the way we are treating the Earth. Mona Polacca will explore our connections to Mother Earth and the Environment from a Native American perspective. We wish to thank University College Cork for its cooperation to present this relevant and challenging discussion, which will be repeated later at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival  in November.

The tenth Spirit of Mother Jones Festival will be held from the 25th November to 28th November and it will be largely available to all as it will be shown on Cork Community TV (see www.corkcommunitytv.ie). We are optimistic (subject to the Covid-19 provisions at that time) to have a number of live events in and around Shandon during the period.

Among the topics which will be discussed at this year’s festival will include an account by UCC historian and author, Donal Ó Drisceoil of the life and death of Cork republican, trade union organiser and socialist Tadhg Barry of Blarney Street who was killed on the 15th November 1921, just over 100 years ago.

In addition,  historian Anne Twomey will discuss the life of Muriel MacSwiney in an interview “Muriel MacSwiney….an Unlikely Rebel”. From the Mother Jones archives, Richard T Cooke will introduce the late Dr Sean Pettit’s presentation about his beloved Cork to the festival on 29th July 2016.

Many other talks and documentaries from the last nine years of Mother Jones festivals will be shown on Cork Community TV over the weekend. The full programme of events will issue later”.

For further information see www.motherjonescork.com.

The Celebration of Mother Jones’ “Birthday” on 1st May 1930

Mother Jones claimed to be 100 years old on that day, however she was fact born at the end of July 1837. Photograph is courtesy of Saul Schniderman, former President of the Library of Congress Guild, AFSCME 2910, and editor of Friday’s Labor Folklore. The photograph shows part of the large gathering of union leaders and friends along with her birthday cake baked by the Baker’s Union. This joyful occasion was one of the last times that Mother Jones appeared in public. We wish to thank Saul for making this wonderful photograph available.

Mother Jones Birthday : Photograph is courtesy of Saul Schniderman

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2020

The full Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2020 programme from Friday 27th November 2020 to Monday 30th November 2020 is now available. All events are free to view on Cork Community TV and everybody is welcome over the course of the weekend. We hope that you enjoy the 2020 programme.

Friday 27th November


3:00 p.m. The Dynamic Role of Labour Unions in the Wake of Covid-19 and
the Safe Keeping of Front-Line Workers”
A Partner Event with University College Cork Civic Engagement and the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival
Speakers: Phil Ní Sheaghdha (INMO), Ann Piggott (ASTI), Dr Edward Lahiff (IFUT)
Co-ordinated by Dr John Barimo.
Click Here for direct webinar access at the time of the event.
7.30 p.m. Introduction by Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Lord Mayor of Cork
“What Did the Women Do Anyway?”
A discussion with Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group


Saturday 28th November


11.00 a.m. Tadhg Barry Remembered
Documentary film by Frameworks Films in collaboration with the Cork Council of Trade Unions.
2:30 p.m. “Ahawadda to Dáil Eireann: the amazing story of Sean Dunne, union organiser”
Discussion with historian Diarmuid Kingston
3:30 p.m. “And the World Turns Away” Discussion with Peadar King
7:00 p.m. “Cork Burning” A power point presentation by Michael Lenihan
8:00 p.m. An evening with Jimmy Crowley at the Firkin Theatre
Sunday 29th November
Mother Jones Festival Archives
11:00 a.m. 2:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
8:10 p.m.
“The story of Hillsborough” with Margaret Aspinall (2013) “Error of Judgement” with Chris Mullin (2015)
“One Woman’s Fight for Justice” with Louise O’Keeffe (2018)


Sunday evening with the Cork Singers’ Club

(Zoom and live on Cork Singers’ Club Facebook page)
If anyone wishes to participate email John Murphy
dublinhill6@gmail.com


Monday 30th November
Mother Jones Commemoration Day: 90th Anniversary
3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m. 7.00 p.m.
8:00 p.m.
“Ellen Cotter and Inchigeela in the 1800s” by Joe Creedon (2019) “The story of Mother Jones” by Professor Elliott J Gorn (2019)
Mother Jones and her Children
Documentary by Frameworks Films
“Shandon in the time of Mother Jones”
Narrated by Kieran McCarthy
8:30 p.m. Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman By Rosemary Feurer
8:45 p.m. “Mother Jones visits Shandon in 1920”
With Joan Goggin
9:00 p.m. The legacy of Mother Jones. Tributes to Mother Jones
Times and Link at http://www.corkcommunitytv.ie or Virgin Media 803 on the box. Check the schedule on Cork Community TV for final times and repeats.


(Full programme and times on http://www.motherjonescork.com and Facebook)

The Dynamic Role of Labour Unions in the Wake of Covid-19 and the Safe Keeping of Frontline Workers

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in partnership with

University College Cork Civic & Community Engagement

27 November 2020, 3.00 – 4.00 pm (Irish GMT)

We are at critical juncture for trade unions and worker’s rights during this period of economic stress, joblessness, and wealth concentration.  Education and healthcare professions are among those front-line workers who now face increased health and safety risks.  Join Dr Edward Lahiff (IFUT National Executive) in conversation with Ms. Ann Piggott, President of the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) and Ms. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) on the role of Unions in leading the way forward.

With both health and education sectors providing vital services to society, panellists consider how the global pandemic will reframe issues of labour rights and workplace safety over the next decade.

To Register: (see below)

This event will be hosted live and broadcast using Microsoft Teams.

SPEAKERS:

·         Dr. Edward Lahiff (moderator), Branch Chair of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) at University College Cork. 

·         Ms. Phil Ni Sheaghdha, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO);

·         Ms. Ann Piggott, President of the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI);

Organised by Dr. John Barimo in partnership with University College Cork Civic & Community Engagement.

There will be a couple of ways for people to register and attend the Live Event webinar.  

1. You can pre-register with Eventbrite. Eventbrite is programmed to send email reminders 24-hours and 1-hour before the event, so less likely to forget. Click Here to Register

2. Click Here for direct webinar access at the time of the event.

IMPORTANT: This event will be broadcast on Microsoft Teams.  If you have not used Microsoft Teams in the past, please allow yourself a few extra moments before the event.  *You do not need to download the MS Teams app.  When you click the link to join simply (1) select option ‘Join on Web Instead’. (2) On next screen select ‘Join Anonymously’.   

Photos: Phil Ni Sheaghdha, Ann Piggott, Dr. Edward Lahiff, Dr. John Barimo.