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Athy’s May Day Festival 2010 April 11, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, The Left.

This is the first May Day festival in living memory in the welcoming
and historic town of Athy, Co. Kildare. It is taking place at a time
of great uncertainty within our country and where a biased media whips
up anti-trade union sentiment almost on a daily basis.
Our inaugural May Day festival in Athy is a celebration of labour. It
links the origins of Irish Trade unionism to its historic forerunners
of land based agitators such as the ‘Ribbon Men’ and the ‘Knights of
the Plough’. The festival is a multi-cultural event and will feature a
colourful display of Trade Union Banners and Posters over the last
century. There will be a series of papers presented tracing the
development of agrarian labour organisations and discussions on two
major rural labour disputes in south Kildare in 1922/23 and 1947.
The day will culminate in a music and multi-media performance by Will
Kaufman, the famous Woody Guthrie biographer.

The event is being sponsored by the Athy and Kildare/Leixlip Branches
of SIPTU. All events during the day are free; there is a small fee for
the evening performance by Will Kaufman. Tickets are available from
SIPTU for €5. Contact No. 045 432318 (office Hours Monday to Friday)
or Adrian Kane on 0876784736.

Saturday MAY DAY 2010.

Display of Trade Union Banners Posters from…..11am-6pm
Papers and Discussion….. 2.00pm-5.30pm
The Woody Guthrie Story, Tales and Ballads from the Dustbowl….8.30pm

2.00- 2.10pm….Opening of Festivities by the Mayor of Athy.
2.10-2.20pm…. An Introduction to May Day by SIPTU’s Kildare
Organiser Adrian Kane.

2.20-3.00pm….. ‘The Whitefeet’, a story of a radical movement of
miners and farm labourers in the 1820s and 1830s in the midlands by
Terry Dunne a graduate of NUI Galway and native of Athy.
3.00-3.40pm….. The ‘Knights of the Plough’, early farm labourers’
organisations in South Kildare by local historian Frank Taaffe.
3.40-4.00pm …… Tea/Coffee Break

4.00-4.40pm ….. ‘Not Organisable; The Autonomous Worker and The Farm
Labourers’ Strike of 1922/23’ by Doctor Noel Kavanagh, Philosophy
Lecturer Carlow.
4.40-5.10pm …..The Kilkea lock out of 1947, the struggle for the
shorter working week by John McKenna, local novelist and playwright.

8.30pm…. Will Kaufman, The Woody Guthrie Story, ‘Tales and Ballads
from the Dust Bowl’, an evening of song and celebration of Woody
Guthrie’s life.

Please note that all events will take place in the Methodist Hall,
Woodstock Street, Athy Co. Kildare on Saturday the 1st of May 2010.

Tickets available from SIPTU contact 045 432318 office hours Monday to
Friday or Adrian Kane 0876784736.


1. dotski - April 11, 2010

Sounds like fun – I wonder if Adrian Kane will play any Guthrie himself – knew him years ago and he was a pretty good musician and singer.

Seriously, well done to all involved – good to see Mayday programmes that actually look like they’ll be good crack while still political.


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2010

A very good programme of events. Should be excellent.


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