Limerick (Ireland)

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LIMERICK , seaport in southwestern Ireland. Jews began to settle there after the beginning of the Russian persecutions at the close of the 19th century. The attitude of the townspeople was hostile, and attacks on the Jews occurred in 1884. Nevertheless, immigration continued and a synagogue was established in 1889. The majority of the newcomers engaged in the drapery business; others in grocery and furnishing, trading partly on the "hire-purchase" system. In 1904, owing to the preaching of Father Creagh of the Redemptorist Order, an anti-Jewish riot broke out, followed by a boycott, and many Jews left. (The most complete account of the "Limerick pogrom," as it was sometimes called, may be found in Dermot Keogh's Jews in Twentieth-Century Ireland (1998), 26–53.) The community is now extinct.


B. Shillman, Short History of the Jews in Ireland (1945), 136f.; C.H.L. Emanuel, Century and a Half of Jewish History (1910), 119, 160, 164; jc (Jan. 15, 1904). Add. Bibliography: L. Hyman, The Jews of Ireland (1972), index.

[Cecil Roth]

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Limerick City on the Shannon estuary, sw Republic of Ireland; capital of Limerick county, Munster province. Norse invaders sacked the city in the 9th century. At the beginning of the 11th century, Brian Boru made Limerick the capital of Munster. In the 17th century, the armies of Oliver Cromwell and William III besieged the city. Industries: lacemaking, salmon fishing. Pop. (1996) 79,137.

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lim·er·ick / ˈlim(ə)rik/ • n. a humorous, frequently bawdy, verse of three long and two short lines rhyming aabba, popularized by Edward Lear.

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limerick a humorous five-line poem with a rhyme scheme aabba, popularized by the English humorist Edward Lear (1812–88) and closely associated with him. It is said to be named from the chorus ‘will you come up to Limerick?’, sung between improvised verses at a gathering.

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limerick XIX. Said to be derived from a custom of singing ‘Will you come up to Limerick?’ at parties at which verses were extemporized.

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