Professor Maggie O’Neill launched the walk, a printed map and website for the new feminist walking tour of Cork on Saturday 30th July at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.
The launch was a collaboration with Mother Jones Festival and TVG Traveller pride. Following a brief introduction, a large number of the participants headed off to visit a number of the sites, including the Traveller Visibility Centre, the Mary Elmes Bridge, the Sexual Violence Centre and the Mother Jones Plaque.
While some representations of women can be found, and some streets are named after queens and saints, there are no monuments to women in Cork City. Yet the women of Cork have made an enormous contribution to building better communities throughout the city and far beyond.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee wish to congratulate all associated with this venture which focuses on celebrating the contribution of women to Cork City and explores “the role of women in addressing sexual and social inequalities and building fairer, safer communities”.
Further Information in relation to Cork Street names from Cork Mother Jones Committee:
It does appear as if the only female representation used on Cork street names are indeed those of queens and saints/religious figures. The name of Queen Victoria appears on approximately eleven place name locations in Cork City; the renaming of the area around MacCurtain Street as “The Victorian Quarter” is the latest example.
Interestingly, over one hundred place names in Cork City are named after saints, representing thirty-one saints, seven of which are female. (only St Mary, St Joseph and St Patrick can match Queen Victoria in popularity).
Dozens more place names have religious associations such as the names of popular Cork priests or Italian saints. Just two nuns, both founders of religious orders such as Mary Aikenhead and Nano Nagle are remembered on a road, places and a bridge.
Names such as Bernadette, Mary, Margaret and Geraldine appear on Cork street names and they are probably connected to saint names also.
Only Dr Mary Hearn (2011) and Mary Elmes (2020 ) who have had the honour of recently having a park and a bridge named after them in the city may be deemed to have come from a secular if somewhat privileged background.
To date it appears that no secular working class woman has been bestowed with the honour of her name being placed on any public structure or street in Cork City. When one realises that Thom’s Commercial Directory of 2004 listed some 2805 streets in Cork City and yet no street is named after an ordinary Cork woman, it is a very serious omission and represents gender and class discrimination on an epic scale in our city.