The official Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2019 poster is just back from the printers and we will be displaying them at selected venues around Cork city over the next week or so. In the meantime you can also download the poster in pdf form at the following link Mother Jones Annual Festival Poster 2019
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.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to welcome historian Luke Dineen to the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School.
Luke will address the topic of “Craftsmen and the Irish Revolution 1920 – 23. The outline of the talk follows.
“Connect Trade Union – An Early History, 1919-23”
“Organised labour was a vital component of the independence struggle from 1918-20. During those year labour was an open, though unofficial, ally of the republican movement. Many trade unionists were active members of Sinn Féin and/or the IRA. Although craftsmen were at the heart of the Irish revolution, their role in it has received little attention from historians. With the aid of the republicans, craftsmen launched breakaway Irish trade unions tasked with playing their part in destroying British rule in Ireland. Despite a tumultuous birth, one such union survives to this day: Connect Trade Union, until recently called the Technical, Electrical and Engineering Union. It was, and remains, an exclusively Irish union for the trades, catering exclusively for Irish needs.
This talk will chart the early history of Connect, covering its launch in May 1920 and the first few years of its existence. It will explore the factors that birthed the union and the extensive links it had to senior figures in the republican movement in its early years, including Michael Collins and Countess Markiewicz. In so doing, this talk will examine how the Irish working class perceived and participated in the Irish revolution, and what they got out of it. “
Luke has now participated in seven festivals and his contributions explore the hidden and often ignored contribution of the Irish trade union movement and working class people to the Irish revolutionary period in the early 20th Century. Among the areas which he has explored are the 1909 Cork Lockout, the Cork Harbour Soviet, the Post Office Strike of 1922, the labour movement and the republican struggle in Cork 1919-1923 and the life of Thomas “Corkie” Walsh.
Luke will speak on Friday morning 2nd August beginning at 11am at the Cathedral Visitor Centre.
Venue: Cathedral Visitors Centre
Date & Time: Wednesday afternoon July 31st at 3pm.
Séan Ó Tuathaigh is an activist and the author of Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced, his first book. He wants to use this book to highlight the plight of those often anonymous people who make the dangerous journey from their war ravaged countries to seek new lives and homes and peace in other countries.
“Ask yourself what would you do to survive? Would you cross an ocean, would you cross an armed border, walk across a desert?” Séan asks those questions of people who did just that and has published their stories.
“Outlanders is a collection of refugee stories, compiled from some of the people who author met while working in the US. There are stories of old people and young, recently arrived and well established, originating from Laos, Burma (2), Afghanistan (2), South Africa, Somalia, Palestine, Bosnia and Kurdistan.
The first of its kind to explore the subject from a creative perspective, this book builds on the journalistic work available on the subject. The stories are presented in a style that immerses the reader into the experiences of the refugee, to see what they saw, smell what they smelt and feel what they felt.”
Listen to Séan and you will meet ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations, you will hear the stories of Zarhawar, Saadia, Mar Mar, Chue Vang, Hawraz, Nolwandle, Bojana, Nasruddin, Tuqa, and Azhar. No longer statistics or objects of mistrust…..these ordinary human beings tell their stories in Outlanders and humanity needs to empathise with their fear, their hopes and their courage.
Séan’s book serves as a timely echo from the seanscéal of millions of our very own Irish ancestors who fled this country to begin new lives in other places. Young Mary Harris and her family did in Famine times!
Seán Ó Tuathaigh was born and raised in Sligo and is a graduate of the M.Phil in Creative Writing at TCD. Before that course, he taught English in Hanoi, Vietnam. After graduation, in 2016, he moved to the USA for 18 months, where he worked as a refugee biographer in a resettlement agency and following that he wrote Outlanders.Published by Mercier Press, copies of Outlanders: Stories of the Displaced will be available at the talk at the Cathedral Visitors Centre.
Séan will speak at the 2019 Spirit Of Mother Jones summer school at the Cathedral Visitor Centre at 3pm on Wednesday 31st July 2019. All welcome.
Our best wishes to the Limerick Soviet 100 committee on their forthcoming events to mark the centenary of the Limerick Soviet, an uprising of around 14,000 workers in a city which then had a population of around 40,000 people. The Limerick Soviet 100 committee has produced an impressive line up events for the festival which runs from 5th to 28th April. The full brochure can be downloaded from their website here: Limerick Soviet 100
The Limerick Soviet came about during Ireland’s War of Independence (1919-1921) in the aftermath of the death of a key member of the Irish Republican Army who also happened to be a leading trade unionist in the city. The reaction of the occupying British forces to the attempted rescue of Byrne led to the declaration of the city as a Special Military Area and draconian regulations were introduced including the insistence that all citizens carry permits and blocking many of them from getting to and from their places of work. This forced the Limerick United Trades and Labour Council to react and on 14th April 1919 some 14,000 Limerick workers went on strike to protest against the restrictions. The Strike Committee, led by carpenter John Cronin, took over the running of the city and began to organise and supervise the distribution of food, transport, communications and movement in the City and even printed its own currency during the period. The Limerick Soviet was born!
It promises to be a most interesting series of events.
Mother Jones for the 2019 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parades.
For the very first time, the Mother Jones Heritage Project committee has been invited to participate in the Chicago St Patrick’s Day parades.
The Illinois based committee has commissioned a new Mother Jones Banner especially for the parade and this banner will include a reference to her origins in Cork. Included also will be a 10 foot inflatable Mother Jones, while emigrant Brigid Duffy will march dressed appropriately as Mother Jones herself.
The St Patrick’s Day parades in Chicago on Saturday 16th March and Sunday 17th are among the largest in the world with hundreds of thousands taking part. A million watch the event on Chicago TV while the Chicago River will turn green along with a number of prominent public buildings.
In welcoming this exciting development, Mr. James Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee stated,
“This is a further example of the growing international recognition of Cork born Mary Harris/ Mother Jones’s contribution to the wider trade union and labour movements in the United States of America.
We are delighted that Chicago has decided to include Mother Jones for the first time and we hope it will become an annual feature of the parade. All Cork people in and around Chicago are asked to support and assist the Heritage Project group at the parade.
We congratulate the massive work being done on behalf of Mother Jones by this committee led by Rosemary Feurer, whose members regularly attend the Spirit of Mother Jones festival here in Cork.”
According to Rosemary Feurer of the Heritage Project
“We are thrilled that Chicago St Patrick’s Day parade committee was enthusiastic about highlighting Mother Jones and we are excited about continuing to work with our friends in Cork, who helped to spark our own project.”
Mother Jones has several connections to Chicago, the Windy City. Following the loss of her four children and husband in the Memphis Yellow Fever epidemic of 1867, Mary Harris, a seamstress went to Chicago and opened a clothing shop on Washington Street. However on the night of 8th October 1871, much of the city was burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire along with Mary’s business premises. Mary was made destitute and had to start all over again.
Some 34 years later in 1905, as Mother Jones, she attended the inaugural planning meeting of the historically famous Industrial Workers of the World (IWW – The Wobblies) in Chicago, she was the only woman present at this meeting and was the very first signature on the subsequent IWW Manifesto.
Mary Harris was also very influenced by the Haymarket Square incidents in Chicago on 4th May 1886 and its aftermath which saw the execution of the Haymarket Four.
These events are commemorated each year in Chicago on 1st May and has led to the annual celebration of May Day as an international labour holiday.
As Mother Jones, she declared May 1st as her birthday, a symbolic act, attributed by her biographer Elliott Gorn as perhaps the day she was born into the labour movement.
Cork City Council is constructing a new bridge across the River Lee.
Completed nomination forms should be returned directly to the Cork City Council
Photos from the second day of the 7th Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2018. Today (Saturday, 4th August) is the final day of the festival. Timetable to be uploaded on this site shortly.
Video: Cork’s own Jimmy Crowley singing one of his own songs about the Spanish Civil War.
Photos from the second day of the 7th Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2018. The event continues until next Saturday evening, 4th August.
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.