Music and Poetry Events at the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Music at the Maldron takes place at 1pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Maldron Hotel. Organised by Richard T Cooke, author, musician and song writer, these Maldron sessions feature Richard along with the Shandon Shawlies, Joan Goggin and family and many others.

Wednesday 31st July at 9.30pm at the Maldron.

The Cork Singers’ Club.

John Nyhan and Richard T. Cooke

Singers and musicians Richard T Cooke and John Nyhan,

Established in 1993, the Cork Singers’ Club has uniquely featured in every Mother Jones festival since the opening night on 31st July 2012. Eagerly awaited each year, the Cork Singers’ Club will present an evening of songs. It has ensured that the tradition of singing remains alive in Cork, no instruments are allowed. For locals and visitors this is an opportunity to hear songs being sung in a pure manner in front of an attentive audience. Club members also gather each Sunday night at An Spailpín Fánach to hone their remarkable art. Go along!

 

 

 

 

Thursday 1st August at 1pm at the Maldron. 

William Hammond.

Linda and William

Linda Quinlan and William Hammond provided lunchtime Music at the Maldron Hotel

William Hammond “Ham” is the joint organiser (with Jim Walsh) of the Cork Folk Festival for almost four decades. The 40th Cork Folk Festival will take place later this year from 2nd to the 6th October.  This festival has ensured the the maintenance and preservation  of Folk singing, music and dance as a living and vital element of local culture and tradition in Cork City and surrounds. William is also an accomplished musician.

 

Thursday 1st August at 8pm at Myo Cafe

Fili Na Reabhloide (Poets of the Revolution) Readings from poets of social change. Phone 083 0425942 for further details.

Thursday 1st August at 9.30pm at the Maldron.

Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group

Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group

The group led by Stephen O Dea and Abbey Ní Loingsigh began playing together in 2015 and have featured at many events in the Ballyphehane area including the Multicultural Day at the People’s Park. Club Ceoil Ballyphehane is a non profit community organisation, voluntary run traditional music and set-dancing group open to all at affordable prices.

The final of the Song for Mother Jones Competition will also take place tonight.

Friday 2nd August at 1pm at the Maldron.

Jimmy Crowley.

Jimmy Crowley

Jimmy Crowley in full song at the Maldron

Jimmy’s songs have a special place at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and form one of the highlights of this festival. This concert should not be missed. Writing in the Evening Echo in 2018, Jimmy explains his concert  ‘I love the kind of people who attend that lunchtime concert that I give each year; I feel honoured to be part of the celebration of the local woman who went on to be, as the capitalists called her, “the most dangerous woman in America” ‘

 

Friday 2nd August at 9.30pm at the Maldron.

John Nyhan and Mick Treacy present the songs of Pete Seeger (See our recent tribute to Pete here: https://motherjonescork.com/2019/06/09/mother-jones-festival-remembers-pete-seeger-1919-2014/).

John Nyhan and Mick Treacy

John Nyhan (left) and Mick Treacy

 

Also appearing will be Pat Kelleher and his five string banjo. Born and reared in Dripsey, Co. Cork, he was weaned on primarily Irish folk music, but also international folk, bluegrass, rock and country.His musical influences are diverse and include The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, The Dubliners especially Luke Kelly, Christy Moore, Bobby Clancy,  Pete Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger, Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Rogers, Eric Bogle, Doc Watson, Woodie Guthrie and many others.

Pat Kelleher with the late, great Pete Seeger

Pat counts himself lucky have met and performed with some of his idols including Luke Kelly, Tommy Makem, Bobby Clancy, Pete Seeger  & The Kruger Brothers. His live performances are not to be missed and his ability to read the audience and generate a rapport is a natural art at this stage.Pat has toured in Ireland, UK, USA, Germany, Switzerland as well as performing Irish music on cruise ships in his more than thirty year career.

Along with his son Ricky Pat was lucky to get to meet Pete at his house in Beacon, New York on 21st July 2009 just after his 90th birthday through a mutual American friend from New York.

He was as gracious as I expected and we ended up singing some of Oró Sé Do Bheatha ‘Bhaile with him that he was learning from Irish folksinger Tommy Sands.”

Saturday 3rd August at 5.30pm at Maureen’s Bar, Mulgrave Road. 

Conal Creedon

Conal Creedon reads from his new novel Begotten Not Made

 

Saturday 3rd August at 7.30 at the Mother Jones plaque (John Redmond St.)

The Toast

Toasting Mother Jones at the Mother Jones plaque at Shandon, Cork City

Traditional toast to Mother Jones and songs with Rory McCarthy. Rory sings unaccompanied and his striking voice captures instant attention. His rendering of James Connolly, written by Patrick Galvin and the  Jarama Valley (Woodie Guthrie version) should not be missed.

Rory McCarthy singing outside the birth home of Michael O’Riordan in 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 3rd August at 9pm at the Maldron.

Vocalic.

Vocalic

After a memorable performance at the Spirit of Mother Jones in 2018, what better way to finish up the 2019 festival? The Vocalic line up is as follows:

Deirdre Moriarty. A Kerry native, graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology with a Bachelor (Hons.) Degree in Music in 1999. She regularly performs with group ensembles and teaches vocal performance. She conducted two community choirs in Cork City – Cork Rokk Choir and, currently, the Marina Melodics. Deirdre loves to arrange music and performing with Vocalic.

Norah Connell. Began her musical journey at an early age. Involved in choirs and bands over the years, singing all genres. An accomplished performer having taken part in many competitions. Studied with renowned contralto Aine Nic Gabhann. Loves harmonising and adding different layers. Currently involved with an amazing choir called The Marina Melodics and of course the fabulous and upcoming group called Vocalic.

Alf Wade. A native of Cork, taught himself to play guitar at an early age. Enjoys a wide range of musical genres with a particular love for Folk, Blues and some American Country. Having played in several groups  as well as playing solo gigs over the years his time, musically, is now divided between the Marina Melodics Choir and Vocalic. Vocalic is developing its own style through its unique interpretation of many popular standards and classics ranging from the 50’s to the present day.

Sunday 4th August 8.30 pm at Maureen’s

In the Round with Stan Notte. Music and the Spoken Word. All welcome.

Note: All these events are free of charge but please be on time to guarantee entry.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2019 – Press Launch

­­

Launch of the 2019 Spirit Of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School at the Maldron Hotel on Wednesday 26th June 2019 at 1pm by Cllr John Sheehan, Lord Mayor of Cork.

Click here to view or download the full brochure

 

Spectacular March of the Mill Children pageant planned for Shandon.

 The Eighth Spirit of Mother Jones festival and Summer School will take place in and around the Shandon Historic Quarter from Wednesday 31st July until Saturday 3rd August 2019.

 

The festival celebrates the life and achievements of Cork woman, Mary Harris who was born in the Shandon area in 1837 and went on to become Mother Jones, known as the “most dangerous woman in America” due to her activism on behalf of the miners, and exploited workers.

 

Over 30 events will be held, and will include dozens of participants from the US, UK and from all over Ireland. Events include the summer school itself as well as a host of singers, poets, films, book launches, music and the traditional toast at the Mother Jones plaque to conclude the festival.

 

One of the principal highlights will be the very first performance and recreation on the streets of Shandon of the historic March of the Mill Children led by Mother Jones in July 1903.

 

In cooperation with Cork Community Art Link and the Blarney Street Foroige group, the Festival committee have organised a pageant to celebrate this huge event in US history, which highlighted the exploitation of young children who were forced to work in the mines, mills and factories of America at the beginning of the 20th Century. (See note)

 

According to James Nolan spokesperson for the Cork Mother Jones Summer school.

 

“In its eighth year, the Spirit of Cork Mother Jones festival and Summer School in 2019 will be an interesting, relevant and challenging occasion. With over 30 free access events, it promises to be a wonderful four days in locations across the Shandon Historical Quarter and community.

 

Everybody who participates including speakers, musicians and committee give of their time on a voluntary basis in what is an absolutely unique festival covering heritage, labour, social justice and human rights issues.

 

We are again expecting hundreds of people to attend from the USA, the UK and from all over Ireland. (2018 saw nearly 2000 people attended events at the festival). The March of the Mill Children pageant will be the very first celebration of one of the most famous marches in the history of the USA outside of America. This took place in 1903 was organised and led by 66 year old Mother Jones. It should be an amazing morning in Shandon.”

 

Declared  James Nolan.

 

Other talks include  remembering the The Whiddy Disaster. This explosion in Bantry Bay in January 1979 caused the greatest loss of life of workers and seafarers in the history of the Republic of Ireland. The relatives of both the Irish and French people who lost their lives are still seeking justice. Michael Kingston who has led the campaign will speak along with Tom MacSweeney.

 

Briege Voyle, the daughter of Joan Connolly who was among those shot dead in Ballymurphy on the 9th August 1971 will speak on the impact of what has become known as The Ballymurphy Massacre. The will be followed by a showing of the Channel Four documentary, The Ballymurphy Precedent, directed by Callum Macrea, is a stunning account of events in Ballymurphy in Belfast on the days following the introduction of Interment Without Trial in August 1971.

 

We’re delighted to welcome back Professor Elliott J Gorn from Chicago, whose book in 2001 Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America, led to the discovery of the correct date of Mother Jones’ baptism in the North Cathedral. Elliott will tell the story at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Wednesday 31st July, the opening night of the festival.

 

He will be accompanied by Joe Creedon well known historian from Inchigeelagh who will tell the story of Mary Harris’s mother Ellen Cotter who hailed from Inchigeelagh. Not to be missed by anyone with an interest in Mother Jones.

 

Current issues such as Climate Change will also be discussed. Dr John Barimo, a marine biologist from Miami will lead with a talk on Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change, this will be followed by local schools activist Mical Neilson of Fridays for Future who organised the recent schools strikes and Alicia O’Sullivan Irish Ambassador for the World’s Oceans who have alerted us to the onset and impact of the effects of climate change on the world.

 

Of local Cork interest is the talk on John Swiney, the United Irishman whose woolen shop on Shandon Street was the HQ of the United Irishmen in Cork in the 1790s. An extraordinary character, he came back from exile in France to assist Robert Emmet in 1803. Historian Dr Kieran Groeger will provide an account of this amazing character, lost in Irish history.

 

Recently a bridge was named after Mary Elmes by the City Council, local historian and regular contributor to the Mother Jones festival Anne Twomey will give an account of her life. Another of the Irish Diaspora, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn known as “The Rebel Girl”, will have her story  told by Pittsburgh based Lorraine Starsky. Flynn had strong connections to Irish Labour leaders James Connolly and Jim Larkin.

 

Luke Dineen, historian will provide an account of the Irish Craft unions and their role in the Irish rebellion 1919 – 1923. A documentary on the Ford factory line also by Frameworks Films will be repeated.

 

The festival will remember the 100th Anniversary of the Limerick Soviet when the Frameworks Films documentary will be shown. The documentary will be introduced by Liam Cahill, author of Forgotten Revolution – The Limerick Soviet of 1919.

 

Writer and author Sean O’Tuathaigh whose recent book, Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced has been well –received will speak about his experienced among refugees and immigrants in the USA.

 

 Jimmy Crowley will again host Music at the Maldron concert on Friday 2nd August at lunchtime. The Song of Pete Seeger will be sung by perennial festival favourites John Nyhan and Mick Treacy. Richard T Cooke will again perform his Cork ballads, while William Hammond will play a traditional set. Vocalic and the Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group also feature. Poets and writers Conal Creedon and Stan Notte are included.

 

The full programme of all the events will be released at the formal launch on Wednesday 26th June. (See  Mother Jones Festival Brochure 2019

 

This festival and summer school is almost unique in that it is entirely free to all and is sponsored by the Cork City Heritage Department, the Trade Union movement including SIPTU and the ASTI as well as the local community. It is organised by the community based and independent voluntary committee of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

For further information contact James Nolan 0861651356 and Ger O’Mahony (Coordinator 0863196063)

For details see www.motherjonescork.com or Facebook.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launch of the 2019 Spirit Of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School at the Maldron Hotel on Wednesday 26th June 2019 at 1pm by Cllr John Sheehan, Lord Mayor of Cork.

 

Spectacular March of the Mill Children pageant planned for Shandon.

 

The Eighth Spirit of Mother Jones festival and Summer School will take place in and around the Shandon Historic Quarter from Wednesday 31st July until Saturday 3rd August 2019.

 

The festival celebrates the life and achievements of Cork woman, Mary Harris who was born in the Shandon area in 1837 and went on to become Mother Jones, known as the “most dangerous woman in America” due to her activism on behalf of the miners, and exploited workers.

 

Over 30 events will be held, and will include dozens of participants from the US, UK and from all over Ireland. Events include the summer school itself as well as a host of singers, poets, films, book launches, music and the traditional toast at the Mother Jones plaque to conclude the festival.

 

One of the principal highlights will be the very first performance and recreation on the streets of Shandon of the historic March of the Mill Children led by Mother Jones in July 1903.

 

In cooperation with Cork Community Art Link and the Blarney Street Foroige group, the Festival committee have organised a pageant to celebrate this huge event in US history, which highlighted the exploitation of young children who were forced to work in the mines, mills and factories of America at the beginning of the 20th Century. (See note)

 

According to James Nolan spokesperson for the Cork Mother Jones Summer school.

 

“In its eighth year, the Spirit of Cork Mother Jones festival and Summer School in 2019 will be an interesting, relevant and challenging occasion. With over 30 free access events, it promises to be a wonderful four days in locations across the Shandon Historical Quarter and community.

 

Everybody who participates including speakers, musicians and committee give of their time on a voluntary basis in what is an absolutely unique festival covering heritage, labour, social justice and human rights issues.

 

We are again expecting hundreds of people to attend from the USA, the UK and from all over Ireland. (2018 saw nearly 2000 people attended events at the festival). The March of the Mill Children pageant will be the very first celebration of one of the most famous marches in the history of the USA outside of America. This took place in 1903 was organised and led by 66 year old Mother Jones. It should be an amazing morning in Shandon.”

 

Declared  James Nolan.

 

Other talks include  remembering the The Whiddy Disaster. This explosion in Bantry Bay in January 1979 caused the greatest loss of life of workers and seafarers in the history of the Republic of Ireland. The relatives of both the Irish and French people who lost their lives are still seeking justice. Michael Kingston who has led the campaign will speak along with Tom MacSweeney.

 

Briege Voyle, the daughter of Joan Connolly who was among those shot dead in Ballymurphy on the 9th August 1971 will speak on the impact of what has become known as The Ballymurphy Massacre. The will be followed by a showing of the Channel Four documentary, The Ballymurphy Precedent, directed by Callum Macrea, is a stunning account of events in Ballymurphy in Belfast on the days following the introduction of Interment Without Trial in August 1971.

 

We’re delighted to welcome back Professor Elliott J Gorn from Chicago, whose book in 2001 Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America, led to the discovery of the correct date of Mother Jones’ baptism in the North Cathedral. Elliott will tell the story at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Wednesday 31st July, the opening night of the festival.

 

He will be accompanied by Joe Creedon well known historian from Inchigeelagh who will tell the story of Mary Harris’s mother Ellen Cotter who hailed from Inchigeelagh. Not to be missed by anyone with an interest in Mother Jones.

 

Current issues such as Climate Change will also be discussed. Dr John Barimo, a marine biologist from Miami will lead with a talk on Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change, this will be followed by local schools activist Mical Neilson of Fridays for Future who organised the recent schools strikes and Alicia O’Sullivan Irish Ambassador for the World’s Oceans who have alerted us to the onset and impact of the effects of climate change on the world.

 

Of local Cork interest is the talk on John Swiney, the United Irishman whose woolen shop on Shandon Street was the HQ of the United Irishmen in Cork in the 1790s. An extraordinary character, he came back from exile in France to assist Robert Emmet in 1803. Historian Dr Kieran Groeger will provide an account of this amazing character, lost in Irish history.

 

Recently a bridge was named after Mary Elmes by the City Council, local historian and regular contributor to the Mother Jones festival Anne Twomey will give an account of her life. Another of the Irish Diaspora, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn known as “The Rebel Girl”, will have her story  told by Pittsburgh based Lorraine Starsky. Flynn had strong connections to Irish Labour leaders James Connolly and Jim Larkin.

 

Luke Dineen, historian will provide an account of the Irish Craft unions and their role in the Irish rebellion 1919 – 1923. A documentary on the Ford factory line also by Frameworks Films will be repeated.

 

The festival will remember the 100th Anniversary of the Limerick Soviet when the Frameworks Films documentary will be shown. The documentary will be introduced by Liam Cahill, author of Forgotten Revolution – The Limerick Soviet of 1919.

 

Writer and author Sean O’Tuathaigh whose recent book, Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced has been well –received will speak about his experienced among refugees and immigrants in the USA.

 

 Jimmy Crowley will again host Music at the Maldron concert on Friday 2nd August at lunchtime. The Song of Pete Seeger will be sung by perennial festival favourites John Nyhan and Mick Treacy. Richard T Cooke will again perform his Cork ballads, while William Hammond will play a traditional set. Vocalic and the Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group also feature. Poets and writers Conal Creedon and Stan Notte are included.

 

The full programme of all the events will be released at the formal launch on Wednesday 26th June. (See www.motherjonescork.com)

 

This festival and summer school is almost unique in that it is entirely free to all and is sponsored by the Cork City Heritage Department, the Trade Union movement including SIPTU and the ASTI as well as the local community. It is organised by the community based and independent voluntary committee of the Cork Mother Jones Committee.

For further information contact James Nolan 0861651356 and Ger O’Mahony (Coordinator 0863196063)

For details see www.motherjonescork.com or Facebook.

 

Best wishes to Shandon Street Festival 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.

Shandon Street Festival 2019

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.

Programme outside

Shandon Street fesstival (outside)

Inside of Flyer / programme

Outlanders: Stories of the Displaced.

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.

Seán Ó Tuathaigh

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!

Outlanders: book cover

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.

Available now at Mercier Press

Free overseas delivery at Book Depository

  • ···········

Follow Outlanders on Facebook

 

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.

 

 

Miss Mary: the Quiet Heroine! – The Story of Mary Elmes

 Mary Elmes (1908-2002)

Mary Elmes was born on 5th May 1908 at Cul Greine, 120 Blackrock Road in Cork. Edward Elmes, her father was originally from Waterford and her mother was Elizabeth Waters from Cork. The family ran a pharmacy at 4 Winthrop Street, in the heart of Cork city, were prosperous and lived in Ballintemple near Blackrock. The family had military connections and several relations served in the British Army abroad.  Elizabeth Elmes was also friendly with Mary McSwiney having worked together in the Munster Women’s Franchise league. The family business premises appears to have been damaged in the burning of Cork by British soldiers on the night of 11th December 1920.

Rochelle School around 1930

Mary Elmes attended Rochelle School, on the Old Blackrock Road, now closed and incorporated into Ashton School in Cork. In 1928  she enrolled at Trinity College, Dublin where Mary had an outstanding academic career. Top of her class, she was a scholar in 1931, was awarded a gold medal and gained a first-class degree in Modern Literature (French and Spanish).

In 1935, as a result of her academic achievements, Elmes was awarded a scholarship in International Studies to study at London School of Economics. This was followed with a certificate in International Studies as well as a further scholarship to continue her education in Geneva, Switzerland.

After the completion of her studies, in February 1937, Mary was invited by Sir George Young, a former British diplomat and journalist to join the University of London Ambulance Unit and was sent to a children’s hospital in Almeria in then civil war-torn Spain.

Mary Elmes at Almeria

She ran a children’s hospital in Murcia from May 1937, and worked for a period alongside Dorothy Morris a nurse from New Zealand. January 1938 saw her appointed as administrator to a Quaker established hospital in Alicante. She was not a Quaker herself.

The Quakers looked after victims on both sides of the civil war, however Mary’s work was mainly with Republican children and civilians. The hospital in Alicante came under aerial attack from the Fascist airforce with aircraft provided by Germany and Italy and had to be evacuated. In mid-1938, Mary moved inland to the mountains near Polop where they worked from an abandoned villa for the remainder of the year, caring for over 30 children.

By early 1939, as the Fascists, with superior resources defeated the Republican government and ground out victory, millions of Spanish became refugees in their own country. During the following months, some 500,000 defeated Republicans and their families fled to France.

Spanish children in Quaker run refugee camp, France

Mary eventually left Spain over the border to France in May 1939 and returned home to Cork where she stayed for a month, before volunteering to work in the Spanish refugee camps in the South of France. She worked out of Perpignan for the Quaker led International Relief organisations, distributing aid, supplies clothes and books.

World War 2 was declared on 2nd September, placing the humanitarian effort in the South of France in jeopardy. Later on 22nd June 1940, following the invasion of northern France and the fall of Paris, France became divided into the German occupied North and the collaborationist South under the Vichy regime of Marshal Petain.

The Vichy south was flooded this time by refugees from the north of France and again back in Perpignan, Mary found herself in the middle of a new humanitarian disaster. She was increasingly critical at the actions of the Vichy government towards Jews who were being rounded up and placed in concentration camps yet was also trying to prevent the expulsion of the humanitarian agencies, such as those run by the Quakers from the area.

Mary, known as “Miss Mary” to many refugees, worked tirelessly to bring aid to the Rivesaltes camp, local schools and other nearby facilities, where hunger and malnutrition was growing.

Relief organisations, including the Quakers, fearful of their fate, began attempting to get Jewish children out of the camps to America or into local respite homes where they might escape the Vichy authorities. The summer of 1942 saw the beginning of the systematic deportation of all Jews to extermination camps in Eastern Europe.

Clodagh Finn’s book

From August to October 1942, Mary Elmes, with assistance from some colleagues and others, rescued dozens of children from Riversaltes, taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the country altogether. Well aware that she was putting herself at risk, Elmes bravely hid many children in the boot of her car and drove them to safe destinations. She aided many others by securing documents, which allowed  them to escape through the underground Resistance networks in Vichy France.

From November 1942 onwards, the Nazi grip of terror tightened. In February 1943, Elmes was arrested on suspicion of aiding the escape of Jews and was imprisoned in Toulouse, later being moved to the notorious Fresnes Prison run by the Gestapo near Paris, where she was incarcerated .She was finally released without charge on 23rd July 1943. Her own children believe she may have been released after an intervention by Eduard Hempel, the German Ambassador in Dublin.

Paddy Butler’s book

Immediately returning to Perpignan, she continued her humanitarian work for the Quakers until June 1946. She married Roger Danjou and settled into a domestic lifestyle, raised two children, Caroline and Patrick and remained mostly silent about her extraordinary activities over the previous decade. After almost a decade of difficult relief works in two major wars and taking huge personal risks, she lived a quiet life. She refused the Legion d’ Honneur, offered by the French State. Her work still unknown and unrecognized, she died in France on 9th March 2002 at the age of 93.

Eventually recognition came for her courageous humanitarian work and her efforts to save Jewish children from the Nazi genocide. On 13th January 2013, she was recognized in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, at Yad Vashem in Israel. Later in February 2019, the Cork City Council voted to name the new pedestrian bridge across the River Lee as the Mary Elmes Bridge.

Anne Twomey of the Shandon Area History Group will tell the story of Mary Elmes at the Firkin Theatre, Shandon on Thursday 1st August at 7.30. All are welcome.

Sources:

A Time To Risk All by Clodagh Finn. Gill Books 2017

The Extraordinary Story of Mary Elmes…The Irish Oskar Schindler by Paddy Butler. Orpen Press 2017.

John Swiney, Cork’s almost forgotten United Irishman

Spirit of Mother Jones Festival to commemorate the 175th Anniversary of the death of the United Irishman John Swiney of Shandon Street.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is pleased to announce that Kieran Groeger will speak at the forthcoming Spirit of Mother Jones summer school on the life and times of John Swiney.

John Swiney, (also spelt Sweeny) was a leader of the United Irishmen in Cork City in the 1790s, traded from a woollen drapery shop in Shandon and on  the 175th anniversary of the year of his death, we propose to commemorate this extraordinary Cork patriot at the Spirit of Mother Jones summer school.

One of the most effective leaders of the United Irishmen during the revolutionary fervour which gripped Cork in the 1790s, unfortunately Swiney remains largely unknown in his native place even today. His name does not appear on the National Monument on the Grand Parade.

Sean O’ Coisdealbhain in a series of articles on the United Irishmen in the Cork Historical and Archaeological Journal in the late 1940s and ‘50s provided research into Swiney’s role and concluded that he deserved to be better remembered in Cork.

John Swiney was born in Cork on 7th August 1773 and as a young man along with the Sheares brothers and many others he became interested in the radical ideas and writings such as The Declaration of the Rights of Man emanating from the French Revolution. He joined the increasingly active Society of United Irishmen in Cork while still in his 20s.

Broguemakers Hill Cork in 1937, Swiney’s original shop of the 1790s would have been over to the left just out of shot at the junction with Shandon Street

A woolen draper by trade, his shop was located near the junction of Shandon Street and Blarney Street. This shop became a centre of operations, an unofficial headquarters for the United Irishmen in Cork City and witnessed many comings and goings of activists in the mid-1790s. Cork was in a ferment of civil unrest in this period with transportation for life being the regular punishment for persons administering the oath of the United Irishmen.

Some 4000 men in Cork city had joined the United Irishmen at that time and John Swiney was one of the main leaders………..indeed he had earlier joined Lord Donoughmore’s Loyal Cork Legion and militia to learn about military tactics.

He effectively operated as an intelligence officer for the United Irishmen, which was then seeking assistance from the French government for an invasion. On the ground he campaigned against tithes and linked up to the agrarian land disturbances especially in East Cork at this time.

However the Cork United Irishmen was riven with spies, his activities and his shop was watched by the authorities. He was arrested on the 28th March 1798 while visiting Roger O’Connor in Cork Jail. On the same day, two soldiers from the Dublin County Militia were executed in the City. James Murphy and Patrick Halvey were charged with sedition, found guilty and shot at the camp field on the present day Mardyke. John Swiney had earlier distributed handbills among the militia asking them to refuse to execute their colleagues. Swiney’s importance was such that he was immediately transported to Dublin on 29th March.

One of the many plaques erected by Comorodh ’98 in 1998 to recall the bi-centenary of the 1798 rebellion. This one remembers United Irishmen James Murphy and Patrick Halvey who were executed on Cork’s Mardyke in March 1798.

Swiney was eventually sent to the bleak Fort George outside Inverness in Scotland along with 20 other leaders of the United Irishmen including Roger O’Connor (the father of Chartist leader, Feargus O’Connor) and Arthur O’Connor of West Cork, Thomas Russell (born in Dromahane, Co Cork) and Thomas Addis Emmet, whose father Dr Robert Emmet worked among the poor of Cork for many years.

Robert Emmet – leader of the abortive 1803 rebellion

His shop on Shandon Street was purchased by Cornelius Swiney of Coolroe who continued to trade in woollen goods from the premises. After more than 3 years in prison Swiney was released and banished from Ireland and sent to Hamburg in Germany. However he had not given up on his dreams of a rebellion.

A year later, Swiney slipped quietly back to Cork following an invitation from Robert Emmet to lead Cork in the 1803 uprising. Amidst the disaster and retribution which followed the brief uprising in Dublin, the authorities arrested over 40 people in and around County Cork.  Swiney found refuge in Cork city, probably with the help of Cooper Penrose at Woodhill (Sarah Curran and Lord Edward Fitzgerald both found refuge there) and fled again from Crosshaven in Cork Harbour to France where he delivered the news to Thomas Addis Emmet in Paris of his brother’s recent execution in Dublin.

Panels from the National Monument in Cork’s Grand Parade. Unfortunately it contains no mention of John Swiney.

Along with many other Irish refugees after the failed rebellions, he joined the Irish Legion established by Napoleon in 1803 and was given the rank of captain.

In 1804, Captain Swiney took part in a celebrated duel with a fellow Corkman Thomas Corbett in which Swiney was wounded but recovered while Corbett was mortally wounded.

In 1805 he married a French woman, became a property owner and made at least one visit to America on business and settled in the Bordeaux area. His naturalization papers dated December 1818 described him as a former captain and merchant of Morlaix, department of Finistere.

He died in October 1844 and is buried in the cemetery of St Martin in Morlaix.

The talk entitled “The Extraordinary Life of John Swiney, the United Irishman from Shandon” will take place on Thursday 1st August 2019 at the Cathedral Visitors Centre. (See later festival programme for further details).

Dr Groeger is the author of the Trial and Execution of James Cotter, and the Little Book of Youghal and has recently published The much-maligned Mary Pike, which takes people back to events in Cork city in the 1790s. He is a retired headmaster and writes articles on local history and “delights in stripping away the layers of a story and revealing the truth.”

If anyone has further information in relation to John Swiney, please email motherjonescork@gmail.com

Announcing “The Song for Mother Jones” competition.

Plans are underway for the eight annual Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school in Shandon, Cork which takes place this year from Wednesday July 31st until Saturday 3rd August.

 

In an exciting new development, the Cork Mother Jones Committee is planning to hold an international song competition to select a new “Song for Mother Jones”.

 

Entries can be submitted at any time up to the commencement of the festival.

 

The theme of the song should reflect Mother Jones or associated issues such as social justice, mining or the labour movement.

 

The song has to be your own song, or played by yourself or someone you know or nominate. It has to be an original composition.

 

The song must be played live and with no more than one accompanist and must be performed during the festival.

 

If you want to submit a song or wish to take part please contact the festival committee or submit an MP3 to motherjsong@gmail.com.

 

“We are encouraging and calling on songwriters and performers everywhere to participate and come up with an original work which reflects the life and work of Cork born Mother Jones.

 Already there is a vast repertoire of Mother Jones songs and ballads from Gene Autry, Si Kahn to our own Andy Irvine. The song “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” is reputed to have been used following Mother Jones trips to isolated mining communities.

Now we want to enhance the Cork imprint on some further songs and these new songs will be performed at the forthcoming Spirit of Mother Jones festival.

 We will announce full details of prizes, dates and venues closer to the festival on the festival website (www.motherjonescork.com) itself but we are asking potential songwriters to begin working on the songs which they propose to submit. “

 

The full programme for the 2019 festival and summer school in Shandon is in the course of preparation but will contain some new and interesting elements to involve increased public participation. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for the inclusion of material or topics please contact the Cork Mother Jones Committee as soon as possible at motherjonescork@gmail.com.

Our case for new bridge to be named for Mother Jones

 

Mother Jones Bridge?

The new Bridge, with inset Mother Jones photographed after a visit to the White House, Washington D.C. in  1924

The Cork Mother Jones Committee has formally made a submission to Cork City Council outlining the case for the new bridge linking Merchant’s Quay and St. Patrick’s Quay to be named in honour of Mother Jones:-

 

To: Cork City Council.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee, wish to nominate Mother Jones as being a suitable and appropriate name for the new bridge.

The bridge links the Island of the City to the north side. Mary Harris was born and baptised in the Shandon area on the north side of Cork City less than a mile away and it would be entirely appropriate that the new entrance to the Northern Quarter of the City would display the name of her most famous daughter. She was a rebel in the true and best sense of the word and again it would be appropriate to highlight to the world that her roots were in Cork as the city is known the world over as the “Rebel City”.

As a person who had to leave Ireland just after the Great Famine (her father left in 1847), she is representative of the millions of anonymous emigrants forming the current diaspora who had to depart Ireland seeking a better life. Many of these like Mary Harris left through the local City Quays on their way to Cobh.

Her name on a bridge on those very quays would have a certain symmetry to the suffering and fear endured by those emigrants. They began their journey not far from Patricks Quay and it would celebrate the lives of those ancestors of ours.

Mary fought for basic social justice and labour rights for hundreds of thousands of poor, oppressed and exploited, many of which were Irish. The Irish have always done our best to help people where ever we have travelled. From missionaries to politics to those active in the labour movement and even the thousands of convicts transported from Spike Island we have tried to bring justice and fairness wherever we have gone. Mother Jones in many ways can represent them also. We are immensely proud of these people and we should display it publicly.

She is known to millions of people across America and if the bridge was named in her honour it would provide a focus point for many Americans to come and visit this city, the city of her birth. She was named by the Observer newspaper in 2015 alongside Mahatma Gandhi, Ernesto Guevara, Zapata and James Connolly as among the ten revolutionary people in history who inspired social change. Just imagine if Cork city was the birthplace of someone compared to Gandhi and deemed as important as him by one of the oldest and most respected newspapers in the world. It was and yet we forgot her.

Irish American Hall of Fame

Mother Jones was inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame in 2014

Her name on a bridge will bring an international perspective and recognition to the city as a place which does not forget its native daughters. She represents not just the international labour movement but people fighting for justice everywhere and her extraordinary courage was widely praised even by her enemies at the time. Even if one does not agree with her, she did earn respect and is entitled to it.

She was resilient, brave and fearless, a woman who amazingly operated in a man’s world at the time. These personal attributes make her an ideal candidate for this city to finally acknowledge her properly as a woman whose time has come and whose work for ordinary working people and children should be honoured by Cork city. Her resilience is symbolic of the resilient spirit of the people of this proud city.

She represents a symbol of hope and optimism for older people anywhere…..her activist career began when she was nearly 60 years old, an age when we are normally expected to retire. Her life shows what elderly people can achieve. She remained active until her late 80s. There are stories from West Virginia and Appalachians of her picture being hung on the walls of houses for decades after her passing.

Background and history.

Mary Harris was born in Cork in 1837 and was baptised at the North Cathedral. The actual baptism font remains in use. Although born in humble circumstances, she went on to become known as “the most dangerous woman in America” and is certainly the most famous Cork/ Irish woman in America.

Mary along with her family lived through the Great Famine in Cork and all had left Ireland by 1852 to travel on the coffin ships to Canada. She became a seamstress and qualified as a teacher and went to work in the United States. Mary married George Jones and they had four children. Unfortunately her husband and four children died in the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis in 1867 and she was left destitute as a young widow at the age of 30.

She established herself as a dress maker but her business was burned down in the great fire of Chicago in 1871. Little is known about her until the late 90s when she became active in the growing trade union movement. She was by then about 60 year old, worked as an organiser for the United Mine Workers of America for several years and had become known as Mother Jones. In 1903 she organised the March of the Mill Children to highlight the abuse and exploitation of children in the mines and mills of the USA.

child labor

Child Labour – Mother Jones did more than anyone else to raise consciousness about the plight of young children working in mines and industry

She became a good friend of James Connolly during his time in America and worked for social justice. She knew four American presidents and it is estimated there were about 3000 newspaper reports about her work. She took part in all of the serious industrial/union disputes across the United States over the next two decades where she had become a legend to the ordinary people seeking justice and fair play.

She wrote her autobiography in 1924, in which the opening lines are “I was born in the city of Cork, Ireland”. Mother Jones eventually passed away in 1930. About 50,000 people attended her funeral which was broadcast live on a radio station. Another 40,000 turned up in 1936 for the dedication of the huge memorial on her grave in Mount Olive Cemetery in Illinois.

 

Mary Harris was a poor working class girl from Cork who went on to overcome adversity and personal tragedy in her life to become a legend to millions of people. She represents the true rebel spirit of the people of this city and county and fought for the exploited and oppressed. As a woman in a largely male world of trade unions and mining she became an inspiration hero to women everywhere and remains a potent symbol of the power of women.

Her detailed activism began when she was approaching 60 years of age which gives hope and optimism for what the older generations can contribute to social progress

Celebrating her achievements.

Her actions are celebrated in dozens of songs from Gene Autry, Andy Irvine, and Nimrod Workman to Gretchen Peters. “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain…..when she comes…… is a folk song that was likely riffed off a Mother Jones tale. A recent CD compilation of songs from the Mother Jones Heritage Project featured over 30 songs relating to Mother Jones. Several plays have been written including Can’t Scare Me…..The Story of Mother Jones by Ms Kaiulani Lee performed in Cork in 2015. A new musical has been written and performed by Si Kahn.

The Irish Ambassador to the US, Mr Dan Mulhall visited her grave monument in Illinois earlier this year to acknowledge her importance. The Mother Jones Foundation holds an annual dinner in her honour each year. She was inducted into the Irish/American Hall of Fame in 2014.

Amb. Mulhall at Mother Jones Grave at Mount Olive, Illinois

Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States, Dan Mulhall, speaking at the grave of Mother Jones in Mount Olive, Illinois 2018

She features widely in US literature and in 2010, the US Department of Labour issued a poster featuring Mother Jones. The author Elliott J Gorn published the story of her life in 2002 (See Mother Jones ….The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Hill and Wang).

There are about 20 books written about Mother Jones in the USA, the most recent by Professor Simon Cordery in 2010. (who attended the 2014 festival). The largest circulating and respected investigative magazine in America, founded in 1976 in San Francisco is named simply Mother Jones in her honour.

Mary Harris/Mother Jones was totally forgotten in the city of her birth until the formation of the Cork Mother Jones Committee in 2011. This is a locally community based and independent committee which seeks to raise the public profile of Mother Jones and Cork across Ireland and the world.  In conjunction with the Cork City Council, the committee erected a plaque designed by Mick Wilkins in Shandon in 2012 to commemorate 175 years since her birth in the area. Even in its brief existence, local people contend that it has become one of the photographed iconic images in Cork city and one of the most cherished in the historic area. Hundreds of Americans and British have already visited Cork and gone to view this Plaque as a direct consequence of

Fr. Peter McVerry receives award

Homelessness campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry (centre) receives the Spirit of Mother Jones Award in Cork in 2015

our efforts, due to the huge publicity created around festival time.

This committee also coordinates the very successful “Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school” each August which attracts large crowds from all over the world and has featured speakers such as Gareth Peirce, Margaret Aspinall, Professor Rosemary Feurer, Fr Peter McVerry and a host of others. 2019 will be the 8th Festival.

The annual Spirit of Mother Jones award” is now among the most respected and coveted awards made to people deemed to have acted in “the Spirit of Mother Jones.”

The Cork Mother Jones Committee along with Frameworks Films have documented the life of Mother Jones in a documentary “Mother Jones and Her Children”. We will forward a copy and ask you all to view it as part of your consideration of our submission.

We believe the future tourism potential for Cork city by a bridge being named after Mother Jones would be significant if it was marketed internationally especially to people interested in history and heritage. Her story is the ultimate story of human triumph by a woman over personal disaster. She would be an appropriate symbol for the city as it is an incredible story of achievement and endeavour over her long life and which resounds among people everywhere in the world. Many people can relate to her personal story.

Unique Opportunity to put Cork on the International Map.

We believe the City Council has an extraordinary opportunity to remember Mother Jones for posterity by finally honouring our native daughter Mary Harris. Having ignored her in this City for many years, she is finally achieving the recognition long overdue. As a woman, who fought for justice in spite of her age and personal tragedy, as a member of the famine generation who was an emigrant and as a member of the huge Irish diaspora she brought fame to the Irish race and to her native City.

Tourism Office, Cork

The Spirit of Mother Jones festival display in the window of Cork Tourist Office in 2016

She was a true Cork rebel and her City should seek to ensure she is remembered. Her growing popularity….. …with plans for a museum and statues and even a film in the United States would enable this city not alone to acknowledge publicly her achievements but would put the City of Cork in a favourable light among people interested in history, heritage, social issues and culture everywhere who might visit the city of her birth in the coming years.

Mother Jones was born nearby, walked those City quays when a young girl, probably said goodbye to her father and brother on those very quays and later herself left the same quays to emigrate to Canada when she began her journey to a new life, like so many millions of emigrants today.

If the purpose of a bridge is to help people to achieve their journeys, then let this bridge represent symbolically the journey of a young terrified girl who left Cork city, which had been a miserable place during the Famine years for the poor, and began her journey to a new life. She lived an extraordinary life, a life that gave hope to millions and surely that should finally reflect back to the City of her birth.

She never forgot her life in Cork and there are resonances of the famine in Cork with its death carts in the streets when she later speaks about the loss of her four children and beloved husband in the yellow fever epidemic in 1867. One can only imagine the horror for Mary Jones as a mother and a wife of the terrors of the famine repeating itself!

It would be somehow appropriate to welcome her home at last!

This is a perfect opportunity to honour and remember all of these people in perpetuity in Cork City.

We ask that you include Mother Jones for serious consideration when you decide to name this new bridge and decide to call it ………The Mother Jones Bridge.

November 8th 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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

Toast

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