Campaigning spirit of activist Mother Jones to be honoured at festival

A Cork woman who became a byword in the campaign for miners’ rights in the US is to be honoured in a special festival in her native city next month.

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones rose to prominence as a fiery orator and fearless organiser for mine workers in the US during the first two decades of the 20th century.

Her campaigning spirit is to be recalled in the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which will be launched in Cork on Wednesday. The midweek festival will run in Shandon from Jul 30 to Aug 1.

It is a follow-on from a 2012 event which celebrated her achievements and saw a commemorative plaque unveiled on John Redmond St in Cork.

“We decided to design a unique festival, event around the issues to which Mother Jones dedicated her life,” said festival committee member Ger O’Mahony.

“We wanted to continue her spirit by having talks with inspirational people and discussions about inspirational events.”

This year, the festival features Margaret Aspinall, chairperson of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Among the highlights are a detailed account of the notorious Dublin Lockout, a discussion of the little- known Cork Lockout of 1909, and the Mother Jones 2013 Lecture which will this year be given by Professor Simon Cordery of Western Illinois University.

The festival will also feature a number of films — including one on the Vita Cortex sit-in. Along with lots of music including an Andy Irvine concert at the Firkin Crane, Hank Wedel, Jimmy Crowley and a tribute concert organised by Richard T Cooke. The Cork Singers Club will also feature in the three-day celebration.

The event will be held in co-operation with the Shandon Street Festival as part of a series of events in the area over the summer. There will be other music sessions such as lunch time concerts, workshops, speakers and additional events added to the final programme.

All events are free with the exception of the Andy Irvine concert (€15).

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