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Jewish Ireland

Last updated: 2005-03-17

inside Irish Jewish Museum

Inside the Irish Jewish museum

Jews have lived in Ireland for centuries. The earliest reference is in the Annals of Innisfallen in the year 1079 which records the arrival of five Jews from over the sea. It is probable that they came as merchants from Rouen in France.

There is little doubt that following the expulsion of the Jews from Portugal in 1496 that some arrived on the South coast. The honour of having the first Jewish Mayor in Ireland goes to the town of Youghal in Co. Cork, where a Mr. William Annyas was elected to that position in 1555. Since then Mr. Robert Briscoe was Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1956 and 1961, his son Mr. Ben Briscoe was Lord Mayor in 1988, and Mr. Gerald Goldberg was Lord Mayor of Cork in 1977.

The earliest record of a Synagogue in Ireland dates from 1660 with the establishment of a prayer room in Crane Lane, opposite Dublin Castle. The oldest Jewish cemetery dates from the early 1700's and is situated near Ballybough Bridge, Clontarf, Dublin 3. 

Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, there was some Jewish immigration from Central Europe, but the main influx came between 1880 and 1910 when approx. 2,000 Jews came from Eastern Europe and settled in Belfast, Cork, Derry, Drogheda, Dublin, Limerick, Lurgan, and Waterford. They participated fully in all walks of life, in the professions, trades, and manufacturing. Only a handful of Jews came during the Nazi period and shortly after the end of World War II.

The Jewish population peaked at approx. 5,500 in the late 1940's. The numbers have now declined to approx. 1,700.

The following is a list of Synagogues and other communal groups and organisations in the Ireland as well as local kosher information. If you group is not listed, send an e-mail to: with your details.

Synagogues / Jewish Museum

Dublin Terenure Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox)
Tel: 353-1-4923751

Dublin Knesset Orach Chayim (Progressive/Liberal)
Tel: 353-1-4907605

Belfast Synagogue (Orthodox)
Tel: 44-2890-775013

Cork Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox)
Tel: 353-21-4870413
Dublin Jewish Home of Ireland (Orthodox)
Tel: 353 1 4972004

Dublin Machzikei Hadass Congregation (Orthodox)
Tel: 353 1 4938991

For more information on Jewish life in Irela nd visit: Jewish Ireland

The Irish Jewish Museum / Synagogues
3/4 Walworth Road, (Off Victoria Street), South Circular Road, Dublin 8
Tel: 01-4901857 or 01-4531797