Journal’s Praise of Irish Jews

The role which the Jews play in Ireland is highly praised in the Irish Times, published in Dublin. Criticizing Hitler’s anti – Jewish policy, the paper says:

It is surely one of the ironies of history that the Jewish race should have reason to flee from the wrath of a dictator, seeing that it was another dictator, Oliver Cromwell who was the first to encourage Jews to settle in England and Ireland, as he considered that their wealth and industry would set a good example to the native population. It is said that the first Hebrews to arrive in Dublin, on his invitation, came from Portugal, and established a synagogue in Crane Lane. In 1746 they had increased to about 200, but by 1800 the number had declined so much that there were not enough to form a synagogue.

Thirty years later, however, there was a synagogue in Mary’s Abbey and a Jewish burial ground at Fairview. This cemetery was insufficiently protected, and it is recorded that many of the tombstones mysteriously disappeared. One chronicler, indeed, tells a story of a Jew who went to visit a Christian friend in Ballybough in a newly built house which the latter had just bought from a building contractor in that neighborhood. The guest was sitting by the dining room fire taking some refreshment, when he noticed to his astonishment a Hebrew inscription on a portion of the fireplace which seemed to indicate that his father was buried in the chimney!

In recent years the Jewish community in Ireland has considerably increased, but the number is still much smaller than the ordinary Gentile is inclined to estimate. According to the census of 1926, the number of Jews in Irish Free State was 3,686, and of these about 3,200 were living in Dublin.

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