Arches and railings, a feisty woman, plus some nice views from the top of a bus, all come to you this week from Thursday Doors in Cork City. The Gaelic word for Cork (Corcaigh) means marshy place and all of Cork’s main thoroughfares were built on covered up river channels. The city itself sits on the banks of the River Lee and the motto on its coat of arms translates to English as A Safe Harbor for Ships. In fact, Cork is said to have the second largest natural harbour in the world, after Sydney Harbour in Australia.
The first photograph on this post (the arches and railings) is of the main entrance to Bishop Lucey Park in the center of the city, which The Workers’ Party (Cork region) symbolically renamed Mother Jones Park, in honour of a woman who was a hero of the working class. Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones) was born in Shandon, Cork City, in 1837. Having survived the starvation years in Ireland of the mid 1800’s she emigrated as a teenager with her family, first to Canada and then to the United States, where she became a teacher. She married and had four children but tragically, all four of them, including their father, succumbed to yellow fever in 1867. Mary Jones also suffered the loss of a dressmaking business she had built up, in the great Chicago fire of 1871. She was involved in the American labour movement and rose to national prominence. Known for her fiery speeches and determination, she became a leading campaigner and organizer for the rights of children and workers.
Mother Jones was a champion of the American mine workers of her day and because of that, and her very outspoken opposition to child labour, in 1902 she was labelled The most dangerous woman in America. This was due to her success in organizing campaigns against the mine owners, which led to the improvement of working conditions. In 1903, protesting the lax enforcement of child labour laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, Mother Jones organized a children’s march from Philadelphia to the home of President Theodore Roosevelt in New York. She died in 1930 at the age of 93. In 2012, on the 175th anniversary of her birth, a plaque on John Redmond Street was unveiled in her honour, as part of the first Spirit of Mother Jones annual festival. Mother Jones Festival
The following slideshow contains some nice views of the city that can be seen from the open top deck of a tour bus. This was the first time I had taken this tour and it was well worth it, being able to see Cork city from a very different angle than usual.
Saint Anne’s Church, Shandon
As it was in this area that Mother Jones was born, I thought I would end my post with this door. St. Anne’s Church is where you’ll find the Shandon Bells. If you have the energy and the legs to climb the steeple you can pick a tune and play it on the bells. If you would like to see more Thursday Doors from around the world you’ll find links to them on Norm’s blog. Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by.