Sheehy Skeffington for Mother Jones Festival
The grand-daughter of famous suffragette leader Hanna Sheehy Skeffington will address the seventh Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork this summer.
Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington will speak about her renowned grandmother at the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School to be held in the Shandon Historic Quarter from August 1-4.
The festival will be officially launched tomorrow. Another venue has been added to its traditional centres at the Firkin Theatre and the Maldron Hotel, with talks planned at the Cathedral Visitor Centre to the North Cathedral.
The Cathedral has a strong link to Cork-born union organiser and human rights campaigner, Mary Harris, who later became known across the US as Mother Jones.
She had been baptised on August 1, some 181 years ago, at the North Cathedral.
Among the highlights of this year’s festival will be the premiere of a new documentary, Fords — Memories of the Line, about the assembly line at Ford’s car manufacturing plant in Cork, which operated on the Marina from 1917 to 1984. The documentary covers the closure of the factory in 1984 and the impact it had on the men, their families and the city of Cork.
The festival also celebrates the achievements of the suffragette movement featuring Dr Sheehy Skeffington, a descendant of suffragette leader Hanna Sheehy Skeffington who spent her life fighting for women’s’ rights, including the right to vote until her death on April 20, 1946. Hanna’s husband Francis Sheehy Skeffington was murdered during the 1916 Rising.
In an extraordinary coincidence, during a visit to America in 1918, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington shared a speaking platform in San Francisco with Mother Jones. Hanna’s American visit and her meetattached ing with Mother Jones will be described by Micheline at the summer school.
The festival will also feature Professor Louise Ryan of the University of Sheffield who has published extensively on the suffragette movement and Cork historian Anne Twomey.
University College Cork historian Luke Dineen will lecture on Cork born Thomas “Corkie” Walsh, a member of the Irish Citizen Army, who fired the first shot of the 1916 Rising; Mary Manning who, in July 1984, refused to register the sale of two Outspan South African grapefruits at the Dunnes Stores Henry Street branch and set off a chain of events which captured the world’s attention, and also the story of the Dunnes Stores strikers and their historic fight against apartheid.
This year saw the erection of a road marker commemorating Mother Jones on Route 66 in Illinois and an exhibition at the new museum near Mount Olive, her final resting place.
The Irish Ambassador to America, Mr Dan Mulhall, recently paid a visit to the grave and monument to Mother Jones at Mount Olive Miners cemetery accompanied by Rosemary Feurer of the American Mother Jones Heritage Project.