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Eight Annual

George Brown Commemoration



One Hundred years ago this year

They shot the brave Joe Hill

Whose rebel songs roused working men,

They rouse those same men still

They rouse those same men still


Your name it still inspires us, Joe

Inspires us worldwide

One hundred years from now your song

Will still be sung with pride

Will still be sung with pride.


The life, times and legacy of Swedish-American labour activist, Joe Hill, executed in 1915, was central to proceedings at this year’s George Brown commemoration in Inistioge. Conor McCabe spoke eloquently on the legacy of Joe Hill in the context of the gains made by the trade union movement and the challenges which they still face. This talk was followed by an audio visual presentation on the life of Joe Hill. But what will probably live longest in the popular memory of the event will be the winning entry in the Joe Hill Song Writing Competition. Members of the public were invited to submit two new verses to the ‘Ballad of Joe Hill’ The winning entry was by Gerry Moran from Kilkenny and was sung by him, accompanied by Terry Bannon on banjo, at The Olive Grove in Woodstock Gardens on Saturday afternoon.


Another highlight of a very successful weekend was the tribute on Friday evening to Pádraig Ó Murchú. Paddy was the person who kept the memory of George Brown alive in the Inistioge/Tullogher area over the years and it was he who founded the George Brown Memorial Committee in 2007. The tribute, as an audio-visual presentation, covered all aspects of Paddy’s long life – his political commitment, his love of the Irish language and traditional music, his attachment to his community, and his dedication to his family. A presentation to Paddy from the George Brown Committee included a bound copy of the images used in the tribute.


As ever, an examination of aspects of the Spanish Civil War formed a prominent part of the commemoration. On Friday proceedings began with the laying of a wreath at the George Brown plaque in St Colmcille Graveyard by the rector, Rev. Martin Hilliard, a nephew of Rev. Robert Hilliard, who died after the Battle of Jarama.. This was followed by a talk in St Mary’s Church of Ireland which dealt with the role of foreigners who fought on the side of the Franco rebels, and in Woodstock on Saturday there was a reading of excerpts from the newspaper reports of Louis Delaprée on the aerial and artillery bombardment of Madrid in November 1936, concentrating on the suffering of the civilian population. (Click for full transcript)


The papers delivered on current affairs explored the issues of the Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, and Austerity – the winners and the losers. The Friday evening session was chaired by Jack O’Connor, President of SIPTU, while that on Saturday was chaired by John Halligan T.D.

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