Big turnout Mother Jones festival opening events

There was a full house at the Maldron Hotel in Cork last night (Tuesday) for the opening events of the Cork Mother Jones Festival.  The meeting room was full to overflowing for the showing of Rosemary Feurer’s film Mother Jones, the Most Dangerous Woman in America, so much so that a second showing had to be held later to ensure that all those who wished to see the film and participate in the discussion could do so.
Mother Jones 1

The festival continues today with a series of events in and around the Shandon area, the highlight will be the unveiling of the commemorative plaque to Mother Jones at John Redmond Street, Cork with events starting at 6.15 this evening. See programme full full details.

Mother Jones Festival starts today

Mother Jones comes home to Cork

The Cork Mother Jones Festival opens in the Shandon area of the city today (Tuesday), marking the 175th anniversary of the birth of Mary Harris who was better known in her adopted home of America as Mother Jones.  The festival will kick off at 7.00pm this evening at the Maldron Hotel, John Redmond Street, with a showing of the Irish premiere of the documentary film Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman.  In attendance to present and discuss the film will be Rosemary Feurer, producer and director.   This will be followed, at 9.30pm by an evening of music and songs at the Maldron Hotel to celebrate Mother Jones, with the Cork Singers Club.

Mother Jones was an uncompromising fighter against the appalling conditions in which workers and particularly mine and mill workers toiled.  She played a major role in highlighting the use of child labour in American mines and factories and often clashed with America’s wealthiest industrialists including John D. Rockefeller.  She continued her activity into her 80s and 90s, until her death, aged 93 in 1930.

The Mother Jones Festival 2012 is the very first commemoration of Cork woman, Mary Harris outside of America and the first in Cork. The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of a memorial plaque to Mother Jones in John Redmond Street on Wednesday evening.

All events will take place on the north side of Cork City, in the historic Shandon area, in association with Shandon Street Festival. The locations of events such as the North Cathedral (“North Chapel”), St. Anne’s Church (“Shandon Bells”), the Firkin Crane, and the Maldron Hotel ( formerly the North Infirmary) are all a few minutes walk from each other and about 5 minutes walk from the Christy Ring Bridge over the River Lee.

The Festival’s organisers, the Cork Mother Jones Commemorative Committee, have said that there has been huge interest in the event, particularly from the United States where Mother Jones is a national icon for trade unionists and working people.

The full programme of events can be downloaded in PDF format here

Ken Loach expresses delight at Cork Mother Jones plans

Ken Loach at Cannes in 2006

Ken Loach at Cannes in 2006

In a message to the organisers of the Cork Mother Jones Festival, film director Ken Loach expressed his “delight” that the committee are “planning to celebrate Mother Jones , – what a formidable woman”.

Loach, who won the coveted Palm D’or award at Cannes in 2006 for his film West The Wind that Shakes the Barley,which was set in West Cork during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, wrote to our committee recently and praised its plans to remember Mother Jones.

He went on to say “So remembering our heroes, and heroines, is very important. I’m sure there are contemporary battles that can be connected to the ones Mother Jones fought”.
He concluded by stating that the festival was “a brilliant idea”.


Just a few days before the Cork Mother Jones Festival starts (Tuesday 31st July) and we’d like to take some time out to acknowledge some of the individuals and organisations who have assisted the committee over the past weeks and months.   We would like to offer our sincere thanks to the following and we are sure you will all be impressed with the festival and that it has been worth all the effort:

  • Aubane Historical Society
  • Cathedral Credit Union
  • Communications Workers Union,
  • Cork Archives Institute
  • Cork City Council
  • Cork Council of Trade Unions
  • Rosemary Feurer
  • Firkin Crane Centre
  • Peter Foynes
  • Framework Films
  • Franciscan Well Brewery
  • Professor Elliot Gorn
  • William Hammond
  • Heineken Ireland
  • Illinois Labor History Society
  • Irish Congress of Trade Unions
  • Andy Irvine
  • Si Kahn
  • Arthur Leahy
  • Kaiulani Lee
  • Ken Loach
  • Maldron Hotel Cork
  • Marat Moore
  • National Sculpture Factory
  • North Cathedral
  • Chris Rowland
  • Shandon Area Renewal Association
  • Shandon Historical Society
  • Shandon Street Festival
  • SIPTU trade union
  • St. Anne’s Shandon
  • John Swift
  • The People of Cork
  • UNITE, the Union
  • Mike Wilkins, Sculptor

Thank  you one and all, from the Cork Mother Jones Commemorative Committee.

Andy Irvine tickets in big demand

Andy Irvine – a unique performance at Shandon

There is considerable interest in the unique Andy Irvine concert which will take place as part of the Cork Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday, 1st August in Cork’s historic Shandon Church, starting at 8.30pm.
This is the first time Shandon has hosted an event of its type and Andy Irvine is proving to be a very popular choice with heavy demand for tickets.   If you want to see Andy perform in Shandon you will need to act fast.  Tickets are still available on at this link and a small number are also available at the Maldron Hotel, John Redmond Street.  Price  is just €10.  The Mother Jones committee also have some tickets, for details ring Ger on (086) 3196063.

The concert will begin at 8.30pm, immediately after the unveiling of the Mother Jones commemorative plaque at John Redmond Street.  We would ask all those attending to ensure they take their seats as soon as possible once the unveiling ceremony is complete.
A reminder also that on the same evening there will be a live session in the Maldron Hotel with a selection of local musicians and other performers.  There will be no admittance fee to the Maldron event which will begin at 9.30pm.

Previously unrecorded song about Mother Jones surfaces in the US

A previously unrecorded song about Mother Jones, written in 1902, has surfaced in the United States where it was written to welcome Mother Jones to a gathering of miners in Iowa.

On the Appalachian activists listserv, Marat Moore heard about a new CD on the Battle of Blair Mountain. It won’t be released until August 1, next coincidentally Mother Jones Day in Cork and on it is this previously unrecorded song from 1902 called “Welcome, Mother Jones” sung to Mother Jones when she went to see coal miners in Iowa. Marat, a former US miner, writer and founding member of the Daughters of Mother Jones will be participating in our festival in Cork on August 1st.

Welcome Mother Jones

Submitted to the United Mine Workers Journal, printed October 16th, 1902.
Note from Journal: “The following verses, composed by the local bard Jenkin D. Reese were sung by him and family Monday evening at the meeting in the courtroom.” (Mahaska, Iowa).

All Hail, Mother Jones, to Mahaska,
The Garden of Eden in soil;
That has been the gem of all Iowa
In production of coal and of toil.
The smiling of faces that greets you,
Our heroine of labor and right,
God bless your dear soul, is our feeling
For visiting ‘Aska tonight.

The themes of your speeches are grander,
And richer than silver and gold;
The life of the mansions eternal,
Where wisdom and love will unfold.
Steer forward! March on with thy mission;
Through strife and injunction be brave,
And follow the steps of the leader,
The starving and toilers to save!

The world of today is advancing,
But Nero is yet on the throne;
And Croesus with iron rod ruling,
The devil will soon take his own.
The light of millennium is dawning,
The ages unborn will be blest;
Mother Jones will be ever remembered
When her soul joins the heavenly rest.

Our performers – Hank Wedel

Hank Wedel has been part of the music scene around Cork City and County for over 20 years with his eclectic mix of folk, country, jazz and rock and other music styles.

Hank Wedel

Singer-songwriter Hank Wedel was born in the USA in the 1960s,
grew up in New York City and Mallow, Co. Cork in the ‘70s, he lived for awhile in NYC in the ’80s and ’90s but is based in Cork City

Hank is well known for his involvement in the live music scene in that city, working with bands such as “Princes Street” and “Open Kitchen”, as well as a long-standing Monday night residency at Charlies Bar on Union Quay with mandolinst Ray Barron.

Hank has also performed with Irish music legends Kila, Shane McGowan and Bono.

Irish folk-singer legend Christy Moore recorded Hank’s song “Listen” and made it the title track of his best-selling 2009 album on the Sony records label.

Hank will be one of the headline performers at a night of music, song and dance at the Maldron Hotel as part of the Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday 1st August.