Frederick Douglass……..campaigner against slavery… his Cork visit!

Laurence Fenton will present Frederick Douglass in Cork…the Black O’Connell during the Spirit of Mother Jones summer school. He will speak at the Maldron Hotel on Friday morning 29th July at 11.30 am.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Bailey, known to the world as Frederick Douglass was born into slavery in Maryland in February 1818, and spent his entire life seeking the abolition of slavery. In 1845 he published the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave”, which was widely read.

While on a tour of Ireland and Britain, he arrived in Cork on Friday 10th October 1845 under the auspices of the Cork Anti-Slavery Society (founded in 1826) and stayed at the home of businessman and philanthropist Thomas Jennings on Brown Street. (The Paul Street car park now stands on the site of the Jennings house).

Douglass was helped in Cork by Isabel Jennings, daughter of Thomas and co-secretary of the Cork Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, while the then Lord Mayor Richard Dowden supported and accompanied Frederick to every meeting. He also met the well known temperance campaigner Fr Mathew during his visit.

During his three week visit Douglass gave a series of a dozen lectures on various topics in locations throughout Cork City to packed audiences. A very forceful and charismatic orator, he gave a two hour graphic account at Cork Court House on the injustice of slavery on Tuesday 14th October. He was particularly critical of the failure of some sections of religion in America to oppose slavery.Douglass later spoke at the Wesleyan Church in Patrick’s Street on Friday 17th October. His lecture on 23rd October in the Imperial Hotel is commemorated by a plaque within the hotel erected in August 2012.

book

Frederick Douglass in Ireland (Book)

His final speech at the Independent Chapel on 3rd November was also well received. During his travels in Ireland the poverty and penury afflicting the great majority of people made an impression on him and even as the first reports of potato crop failures circulated in the media, Douglass’s writings began to reflect his fight against slavery as being part of a larger global battle against social injustice. He spoke many times in support of women’s rights and suffrage over the years.

Frederick Douglass died on 20th February 1895 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, in Rochester, New York.

Laurence Fenton is the author of Frederick Douglass in Ireland ‘The Black O’Connell’ published in 2014 by Collins Press.Laurence will discuss the impact of the Douglass visit to Cork on Friday morning 29th July at the Maldron Hotel as part of the Mother Jones summer school programme.

The Irish Citizen Army and the Road to the 1916 Rising

Members of the Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, Dublin

Members of the Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, Dublin

The Spirit of Mother Jones festival will include a series of lectures exploring the  origins and role of the Irish Citizen Army, a workers army, in the Easter 1916 rebellion.   The venue for the lectures will be the Firkin Crane, Shandon, Cork.  Date and Time: Friday, 31st July 2015 at 3.30pm. 

The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic refers to just three organisations, one of which is The Irish Citizen Army (ICA). On Easter Monday morning 1916, over 200 members of the ICA, men, women and boys marched into a revolution in Dublin led by James Connolly.

The Irish Citizen Army comprised almost 30% of those who actually turned up for the Rising on that Monday morning and represented an internal mobilisation of almost 80% of the available and active membership. Some 50 including Connolly, who had played a central role in planning the actual military attacks,occupied the General Post Office. The remainder of the ICA played an active part in some of the fiercest fighting witnessed during the week in places such as St Stephen’s Green, College of Surgeons, City Hall and Dublin Castle.

James Connolly

James Connolly

Copies of the 1916 Proclamation itself was printed by the ICA at the Co-Op Stores at No 31 Eden Quay, alongside Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Considerable quantities of the weapons, bombs and explosives used later in the Rising were stored in Liberty Hall, even the flag which flew over the GPO was created there.

Many of the active participants in the Rising had spent the Easter weekend in and around Liberty Hall, and marched from there to seize various buildings. Liberty Hall itself was bombed by the British initially as they immediately understood that the rebellion had been organised from there, the building was wrecked during the attack.

Sean Connolly of the ICA fired the first shot of the Rising, which killed Sergeant James O’Brien at the gates of Dublin Castle. In a strange twist of faith, Connolly himself was the first casualty on the rebel side when he was killed by a sniper an hour later. At the very end, Elizabeth O’Farrell of the ICA was with Padraig Pearse at the formal surrender of the rebels near the GPO, while she also carried the orders and dispatches which confirmed the cease fire and surrender elsewhere in Dublin.

Dr. Leo Keohane's book on Jack White

Dr. Leo Keohane’s book on Jack White

Yet they were pushed to the margins of history soon afterwards and virtually disappeared from the narrative of Irish history for a considerable time, even during the 1966 commemorations. Who were these working class men and women, so many of whom were killed or injured in the Rising or imprisoned or impoverished in its aftermath?

By any standards The Irish Citizen Army was central to the 1916 Rising itself. It provided thecatalyst which set off the explosion leading to eventual Independence. Its origins among workers in the 1913 Lockout, its first Commandant ….. a Boer War hero, its voice unique and its participants brave, its discipline and ideological stance which set it apart in Ireland even in a period of dissent and conflict.

The Irish Citizen Army by Ann Matthews

The Irish Citizen Army by Ann Matthews

 

The Army was led by one of the greatest socialist agitators and thinkers of the 20th Century. Yet why is its legacy so uncertain, why is its central contribution considered a curiosity of history and why were its beliefs swamped by the conservative ideology which followed?

Earlier on the 1st August 1915, by order of James Connolly, the Irish Citizen Army had also gathered initially at Liberty Hall to participate alongside the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union in the funeral procession for the Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, (born in West Cork and a “Freeman of Cork City” who had died on 29th June 1915 in America) to Glasnevin Cemetery.

 

Led by the James Fintan Lawlor Band, The Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers marching side by side put on a hugely impressive show of force accompanied by the trade union movement, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Cumann na mBan as they marched north to the Cemetery.

Liberty Hall in ruins after the 1916 Rising

Liberty Hall in ruins after the 1916 Rising

In the climax to his oration at the grave, Padraig Pearse threw back his head sharply…..….”but the fools, the fools, the fools! — they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

Standing nearby, Connolly could see the Rising as a reality.

 

Almost 100 years to the day, on Friday evening 31st July 2015 at 3.30pm, the Cork Mother Jones Committee will hold a series of lectures at the Firkin Crane entitled “The Irish Citizen Army and theRoad to the 1916 Rising”.The lectures and discussion will explore the origins, the progress and the eventual participation of this workers’ army in the 1916 rebellion. How important was its contribution, the role of James Connolly, what caused its subsequent political isolation and relative obscurity in Irish history?

Under the chairmanship of Theo Dorgan, poet and author, those participating include;

Dr Ann Matthews, author “The Irish Citizen Army” Mercier Press 2014.

Dr Leo Keohane, author “Captain Jack White, Imperialism, Anarchism &The Irish Citizen Army” Merrion Press 2014.

Scott Millar, author and journalist with Liberty, the newspaper of SIPTU (formerly the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, founded by Jim Larkin)

 

 

 

“Get off your knees” – the Rosemary Feurer lecture 2014

At the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2014 an important paper was delivered Professor Rosemary Feurer of Northern Illinois University.  Prof. Feurer, who had also spoken at the inaugural festival in Cork in 2012, examined the parallel activities of Mother Jones and the great Irish socialist leaders James Connolly and “Big Jim” Larkin, in particular looking at the similar paths they followed, both geographical and philosophical and conclusions they reached.

You can download the full text of Prof. Feurer’s lecture by clicking on the link below:-

Get Off Your Knees Feurer

 

 

Rosemary Feurer

Rosemary Feurer in Cork, August 2014 with the banner of Women Against Pit Closures from the UK Miner’s Strike 1984

Rosemary Feurer is Professor of History at Northern Illinois University.  She co-directed “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman”.  Author, she writes extensively on labour history.  Rosemary is Administrator of www.motherjonesmuseum.org website and Mother Jones Lives.  She attended the inaugural Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork in 2012 and delivered the above lecture at the same festival on August 1st, 2014.   You can download the full lecture by clicking on the link below:

 

Illinois Senator praises Cork festival

The Cork Mother Jones Festival Committee has received a warm message of support and encouragement from Illinois Senator Andy Manar.

Senator Andy Manar

Sen. Andy Manar

Senator Manar in a thoughful and positive  message to the Cork Mother Jones Committee for the Spirit of Mother Jones festival states that “you have all my deepest respect for the work you have done on behalf of Mother Jones and I share in your admiration of this great woman from County Cork, Ireland”

“I believe your festival is wonderful as it attracts people from all over the world and stands tallest among other known Mother Jones Festivals. I’d welcome a similar event in my district. Your festival sets a very high bar for other to reach and you should be extremely proud of that”
Letter received from US Senator Andy Manar (D), Illinois

Letter received from US Senator Andy Manar (D), Illinois

The Cork Mother Jones Committee acknowledges and supports the huge effort being made by the Unions, the Illinois Labour History Society and the Mother Jones Foundation to preserve and restore the monument over the grave of Mother Jones in Mount Olive cemetery. The restoration project will ensure that this monument over her final resting place will remain for ever as a fitting symbol of positive action for social justice which the spirit of Mother Jones inspires in thousands of people across the world.

The Story of the Magdalenes

On Wednesday afternoon 30th July, at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival,  Claire McGettrick, co-founder of Justice for Magdalenes (now JFM Research) will speak at the Firkin Crane in Shandon, Cork,  about the story of the Magdalenes.

Claire is an activist, researcher and also co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance.

She worked as Research Assistant on the project Magdalene Institutions: Recording an Archival and Oral History, which collected the oral histories of 79 interviewees, including 35 Magdalene survivors. The Magdalene Names Project, which is central to Claire’s work with JFM Research, makes use of historical archives to develop a partial, repaired narrative of the lives of some of the women who died behind convent walls, with the aim of creating a lasting memorial to these women.

Claire McGettrick

Claire McGettrick

Origins and growth of the Magdalenes.

The Magdalene system of sending young women into institutional homes developed from the appalling poverty, disease, prostitution and poor conditions which existed in Ireland in the early 19th Century. Later the effects of the Famine consigned thousands of women to a life of desperation on the streets with little hope of income or shelter. It was the era of Workhouses, Lock hospitals and Asylums.

Cork with a population of about 80,000 had a particular high level of poor housing and bad sanitary conditions throughout the City. In 1809 a Catholic Magdalen Asylum was established in Peacock Lane, Blackpool by a Mr Terry. Later, the Irish Sisters of Charity were asked to take over the running of the Asylum and following the completion of the St. Vincent’s Convent on the grounds, the Order took over the Asylum in 1846. In 1810 another Refuge was founded on the South Terrace by Protestants, which took in women mainly from prison.

In July 1872 the Good Shepherd Nuns opened a Magdalen Asylum at Sunday’s Well in Cork, which was followed in 1873 by the opening of the Convent and later still by an Industrial School. The original aim of the Magdalene Asylums was to provide training and shelter for prostitutes anxious to reform however this rehabilitation gradually became a punitive based system, particularly after the foundation of the Irish State.  The regime involved harsh working conditions for no pay, where the women and girls were incarcerated against their will, not knowing if they would ever be released.

The concept that these women were to do lengthy penance for their sins became deeply ingrained in the reasoning behind their removal to the Magdalene Institutions. Some escaped, some were released to family members, while over 1,000 died behind convent walls, never seeing freedom.    And, a significant number remained within the institutions, dependent on the religious orders for the rest of their lives.

The Magdalene Institutions remained attached to the local religious convents which ran their day to day activities. These institutions established laundries which using the readily available and cheap labour became important sources of income for the religious orders. Thousands of women and girls worked in the Magdalene Laundries, as more and more “fallen”, destitute or perceived troublesome women were incarcerated. In reality, most were frightened young girls, often transferred from the industrial school system.

Forgotten by society and abandoned by their own families, these women and girls remained captive behind the high walls, invisible to society and ignored by successive governments.

 

In 1993, the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge decided to sell some of their land at High Park, Drumcondra and applied to the Department of the Environment for the exhumation of 133 women. The exhumation order was granted by the Department on 25th May 1993. When the undertakers were carrying out the task of exhuming the bodies on 23rd August 1993, an additional 22 remains were discovered. The Department of the Environment then supplied an additional exhumation order to allow the removal of “all human remains” at the relevant site.

The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge told the Department of the Environment that they could not produce death certificates for 24 women on the exhumation order who appear under fictitious names. The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge also told the Department that they could not produce death certificates for a further 34 women on the exhumation order. The remains of 154 out of 155 of the women were then cremated and reinterred at Glasnevin Cemetery. Questions about the circumstances of these women and their exhumation remain unanswered.

Inaccessible Magdalene burial plot, Sunday's Well Cork.   Plaque beneath broken cross reads: "A memorial to the Residents of St. Mary's Good Shepherd Convent, Sunday's Well. 1873-1993"

Inaccessible Magdalene burial plot, Sunday’s Well Cork. Plaque beneath broken cross reads: “A memorial to the Residents of St. Mary’s Good Shepherd Convent,
Sunday’s Well 1873-1993″

 

Growing questions.

Do Penance or Perish, A Study of Magdalen Asylums in Ireland, by Francis Finnegan published in 2001 traced the development of the Magdalene movement and provided the 19th century history of four of Ireland’s Convent Magdalen Asylums.  More and more voices were being raised questioning the stillness of the injustice. In addition to some early articles, a Channel Four Television production Sex in a Cold Climate released in 1998 broadcast the distressing accounts of the system by former inmates of the Irish Magdalene system.

This was followed in by the 2002 film by Peter Mullan called the Magdalene Sisters.  Survivor advocacy group Justice for Magdalenes was founded in 2003, asking questions about the circumstances surrounding the High Park exhumations. In 2007 Prof James M Smith’s (Boston College/JFM Research) Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment charted the 20th century Magdalene regime, offering the first crucial evidence of State involvement in the laundries. Steven O’Riordan’s film “The Forgotten Maggies” appeared in 2009. Some fearless articles by the late Mary Raftery in the Irish Times also added to the growing disquiet around these institutions.

The last Magdalene Laundry, located at Sean MacDermott Street in Dublin, closed in 1996. Many convents also declined and due to the lack of entrants closed. The laundries, no longer useful or profitable could not compete with huge national and multinational industrial operations and with the advent and widespread use of washing machines, they fell into disrepair.

Increased media exposure and the growing strength of survivor advocacy groups such as the Justice for Magdalenes group, (JFM) which began its political campaign in 2009, saw a growing clamour for the establishment of a Compensation Scheme for all Magdalene survivors as well as an official apology from the Irish State. The official apology on the 19th February 2013 by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the Magdalene survivors marked an important milestone in the campaign as the women were finally vindicated. While the Taoiseach described the “Nation’s Shame”, neither Church nor State will acknowledge the human rights violations which have taken place, although the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on the Vatican to conduct an enquiry.

What remains is to ensure that the sentiments expressed in the Taoiseach’s official apology are now delivered on.  Judge Quirke was appointed by the government to devise a scheme of payments to the survivors reported in May 2013, subsequently his recommendations were accepted by the government. A scheme of ex-gratia payments has now begun and the implementation of the recommendations is continuing. By April 2014, some 731 applications for compensation have been received and some €10 million has been paid to 280 Magdalene Laundry survivors.

JFM Research says it is preparing a response to the McAleese Report, which falls far short of honouring the lived experience of the women and girls who were incarcerated.  Will we ever know the full truth of what went on behind the Irish Magdalene Laundries’ walls for over 100 years?

Following the recent reports of serious questions around the mothers and baby homes and the promised Government inquiry into what occurred, many social justice organisations are urging that the inquiry would be widened to include a full investigation into the Magdalene Laundries, due to the extent of movement of women and children between both institutions.

Claire McGettrick has played an active role in the pursuit of truth and justice on these issues, her lecture will take place on Wednesday afternoon 30th July at 3pm at the Firkin Crane centre, and everyone is welcome.

2014 Festival line-up begins to take shape

JimGreen(Color)-FINAL

It’s that time of year again folks and the Cork Mother Jones committee are busy preparing the final line-up of speakers and performers for the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which will take-in an extended programme from Sunday, 27th July to Friday, 1st August 2014 as part of Cork City’s official Mother Jones Week.

Over the coming weeks we will introduce our performers to give a taste of what’s to come.   We start with Jim Green who will deliver the 3rd Annual “Mother Jones Lecture” at the Firkin Crane, Shandon at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 29th January.

Professor James Green is a writer, teacher and activist. He is professor of History at the University of Massachusetts where he founded the Labour Studies BA degree program and the Labour Resource Centre; he currently teaches history and directs the public history graduate program. He has had a long and distinguished career in ensuring that the history of social movements such as trade unions, civil rights groups and community empowerment groups is detailed and their stories told.

He was born in Oak Park, Illinois and raised in Carpentersville, a small factory town outside of Chicago and educated at Northwestern University.

He is the author of five history books on labour and protest movements in America and he is working on the story of Mother Jones the West Virginia mine wars which will be published by Grove Atlantic. The book will be the basis of a television documentary film for the Public Broadcasting System to air as part of the award-winning American Experience series. He also teaches courses on the history of Boston, working class history and a course on Social Justice.

Originally inspired by John F Kennedy and later by Martin Luther King, Jim Green admired politicians such as senators Paul Douglas, Eugene McCarthy (he worked for his Primary campaign) and George McGovern.

He earned a PhD in history from Yale University in 1972.He had played an active part in the student and anti-war movements in the late 60s and early 70s. He had developed an interest in social movements and sought ways through his scholarship to bring their stories to a wider public.

In his website jamesgreenworks.com, Jim describes how “four experiences offered me stimulating opportunities to practice history in the world outside the academy: first, living and working in a contested neighbourhood, Boston’s South End; second, participating in the Radical America editorial collective; third, teaching in England and discovering the History Workshop movement and four, joining the faculty at the College of Public and Community Service, located within the University of Massachusetts Boston.”

During the 1980s he became very active in the trade union movement where he taught courses for union members such as the United Mine Workers of America as well as lecturing at the Harvard Trade Union program. He helped to make a video with film maker Barbara Kopple of the Pittston Strike in Appalachia in 1989.

In 1995-96 he was a historical consultant to the documentary film “The fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers” produced by Paradigm Productions, San Francisco.

In 1998 he was selected as a Fulbright Senior Scholar and taught at the University of Genoa in Italy. One result of this was the publication of his book “Taking History to Heart” in 2000 which he describes as “a personal and political reflection on making movement history”

Jim has held lectureships at Warwick University in England and at Harvard University, where he has taught in the Trade Union Program since 1987. He has published widely in many international academic journals. In 2002 he was elected president of the Labour and Working Class History Association, and in 2004 he was awarded a fellowship by the Bogilasco Foundation to study and write at the Liguria Study Centre in Italy. In 2009, the Sidney Hillman Foundation presented Professor Green with the Sol Stetin Prize for his accomplishments in the field of labour and working-class history.

He has also had a particular interest in the events at Ludlow in Colorado on 20th April 1914 when children, women and men were massacred and which has become infamous in American labour history. His article entitled “Crime Against Memory at Ludlow” available on his website is particularly powerful.

A further book “Death at the Haymarket” in March 2006 allowed Jim to tell the epic story of the events that took place in Chicago on 1st May 1886, events which had a huge influence on generations of labour and trade union activists around the world including Mary Harris. 20,000 copies of this have been sold and it has been adopted in many college courses.

With almost 50 years of active contribution to the telling and documenting of the history of working class and social movements behind him, Jim is a very welcome and worthy contributor to the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

James Connolly in the USA

A new exhibition which has just opened at the Irish Consulate in New York, throws interesting new light on Irish socialist leader James Connolly’s years in the United States between 1903 and 1910.

Connolly in NYC

James Connolly addresses a May Day rally at Union Square, New York City, 1908. Source: US Library of Congress

 

The exhibition follows Connolly through a series of newspaper clippings, posters, pamphlets, photos and his own writings in the Harp, newspaper of the Irish Socialist Federation.

This story is featured in today’s (28th September) Irish Times – you can read the full story here.

 

Jimmy Crowley to play at Mother Jones festival

Jimmy Crowley

 

We are delighted to announce that Cork’s favourite troubadour, Jimmy Crowley, will give an afternoon performance at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday, July 31st.

Jimmy was born in Douglas in Cork and took up singing in the late 60s and he formed a group known as Stokers Lodge called after a landmark in Douglas where local huntsmen met for a day’s sport. He started writing songs in 1971.

As well as writing his own songs he also encouraged and promoted older working class ballads and long lost songs from all over Cork. He ran the legendary folk club at Douglas GAA club for many years. Jimmy likes to be among the real people of Cork City and to sing songs of hunters, sportsmen, deeds of valour, great and little events, the topics of conversation of the ordinary 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” appeared in 1998, while “The Coast of Malabar” appeared in 2000.

Jimmy’s song about the sailing ship, the Asgard II, “My Love is a Tall Ship” is well known among the sailing fraternity. Jimmy has played all over Ireland, Europe and America and is a familiar face in Cork. Jimmy is known as the Bard of Cork and with good reason as his unique style of singing and his love of his native City, and especially the Shandon area is central to his musical vision.

Jimmy is also well known for his wonderful charity work over the years. This was seen in 2010 when the cream of Cork talent -Roy Buckley, Cha & Miah, Billa, Bill (minor)O’ Connell, Seán Óg O hAilpín, Seán Ó Sé and John Spillane led by Jimmy Crowley came together and recorded a song titled: Barracka – Buttera Song especially composed by Richard T. Cooke (Mother Jones Festival Committee) to raise funds to purchase musical instruments in Cork schools – for a very worthy cause.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2013 will present a unique workshop by Cork’s famous son, Jimmy Crowley: “Songs of the Beautiful City: Jimmy Crowley’s Ethnographical Journey”

Jimmy appears at the Maldron Hotel on Wednesday July 31st from 4.30 to 5.30pm.

Admission is free. Not to be missed!

 

Mother Jones Festival 2013 – Music Programme

Mother Jones Festival Concerts 2013

Admission Free

The following is line up for the Mother Jones Theatrical Musical Concert in the Firkin Crane, Wednesday,July 31st at 9pm is as follows:

Group: Cork Rokk Choir who will perform a medley of songs from the Mother Jones area for ( 15 minutes).

Next we will have Cork Shakespearean Company who will perform a MJ monologue for ( 7 minutes).

James P. McCarthy, Musician/Singer will perform more MJ songs (15 minutes ).

Shakespearean Company will then performing another theatrical monologue on MJ (7 minutes).

Muddy Lee will blast out Cork Songs and the new Mother Jones song titled: A True Cork Rebel by (15 minutes ).

William Hammond and friends will finish off the Concert with some popular high spirited tunes.

 

 

Maldron Hotel Concerts 2013

Wednesday, July 31st – 10.00pm:  Hank Wedel & Friends

Tuesday, July 30th – 9.30pm: The very popular Cork Singer’s Club.

Lunch Time Concerts

Wednesday, July 31st – 1pm – 2pm: Cork Rokk Choir members will perform popular songs and Muddy Lee performing good auld songs of Cork as part of the Gathering as well as the Mother Jones Song titled: A True Cork Rebel.

Thursday, August 1st – 1pm -2pm: Cork Memory Lane Group will perform popular songs.

Jimmy Crowley Workshop

Wednesday, July 31st at 4.30pm – Jimmy Crowley with Songs of the Beautiful City.
Admission Free

 

Thursday, August 1st – Mother Jones Day

Maldron Hotel at 10.00pm – Two Time Polka

 

 

 

Andy Irvine Concert

Firkin Crane Centre, Smurfit Theatre, Shandon

Thursday, August 1st at 8pm

Tickets  €15 each

Tickets available from http://www.tickets.ie and the Maldron Hotel, Shandon, Cork

Spirit of Mother Jones to shine at 2nd Festival

local performer Kate Magrew as Mother Jones local performer Kate Magrew as Mother Jones

The Cork Mother Jones Committee today announced details of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival at a packed press launch at the Maldron Hotel in the city’s historic Shandon area. In addition to the launch of our new festival programme and poster, the recipient of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award was announced as Margaret Aspinall, Chairperson of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Margaret Aspinall

Margaret Aspinall

The launch was chaired by committee member Michael Lally who welcomed the assembled press and guests including some local women who had come dressed in period costume. Among those was performer Kate Magrew who skilfully reprised some of Mother Jones fiery and inspiring speeches. John Jefferies gave a brief outline of the long life of Mother Jones, her origins on the Northside of Cork and her history of struggle and activism across North America. Cllr. Ted Tynan spoke about the official designation by Cork City Council of August 1st as Mother Jones Day to mark the anniversary of Mother Jones baptism in the North Cathedral in 1837. William Hammond gave a run-down of the musical acts that will be appearing at the festival and Ger O’Mahony made the formal announcement that the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2013 would go to Margaret Aspinall.

Some of the costumed local ladies at the launch

Some of the costumed local ladies at the launch

A year ago the first ever Cork Mother Jones festival was held in the Shandon area of the historic Northside of Cork city and successfully rekindled the legacy of one of Cork’s iconic women, then all but unknown in her native city, but famous in the United States and elsewhere.

A year on and Mother Jones no longer needs to be introduced to Corkonians and today we are pleased to announce our second festival which we have entitled The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2013 which will be held from Tuesday, 30th July to Thursday, 1st August which has appropriately been formally declared as Mother Jones Day thanks to Cork City Council and a motion from Cllr. Ted Tynan.

The location of the festival in Shandon is designed to enhance the tourism potential of this historic area and of Cork City in general as the birthplace of Mary Harris, who later achieved international recognition as the union organiser, Mother Jones. All but forgotten for over 80 years she has now become “one of our own” and the Spirit of Mother Jones will shine at our forthcoming second festival ensuring it will be bigger, better and bolder than the first.

The inaugural Mother Jones Photographic Exhibition in 2012 was immensely popular last year so we have brought it back again it will open at the Maldron Hotel at 5pm on July 30th and run right through to the close of the festival on the evening of August 1st.

The festival will once again showcase some great local and national music talent with a concert by Andy Irvine, an informal afternoon session with Jimmy Crowley and performances from Hank Wedel, the Cork Singers Club, Richard T. Cooke and others.

There will be first public showing of the film “116 Days – the Vita Cortex workers’ struggle” by Declan O’Connell a re-showing of Rosemary Feurer’s film on Mother Jones and Frameworks’ Films recent documentary on Cork’s hero Tadhg Barry.

Lectures and discussion will be led by Padraig Yeates on the Dublin Lockout of 1913 in its centenary year, Luke Dineen will talk about the forgotten 1909 Cork Lockout, Professor Simon Cordery will talk about Mother Jones and Ken Fleming of the International Transport Federation will talk about “Slavery on our Seas, the story of the poor conditions endured by seafarers on “Flags of Convenience” ships.

The culmination of this year’s festival will be the presentation of the Spirit of Mother Jones Award 2013 to Margaret Aspinall, Chairperson of the Hillsborough Family Support Group. As some of you will know Margaret’s 18 year old son James was one of the 96 people who died in the 1989 stadium disaster. In addition to the presentation of the award to Margaret she will also be our keynote speaker on the opening night of the festival at the Smurfit Theatre, Firkin Crane, Shandon on “Hillsborough, the torment of injustice”.

The 2013 festival will take place over 3 days from 30 July to 1st August and will consist of talks, lectures, concerts, films and music.

MJ-Committee-2013