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The world over visits Dublin’s Jewish Museum

The Jewish community in Dublin is not big. Nevertheless, they manage to maintain their heritage in a small but interesting venue: the Jewish Museum in Walworth Road. The former synagogue in the heart of the former centre of Jewish life in Dublin was turned into a museum 25 years ago. In June 1985 the president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, visited Dublin for the inauguration.

People from all over the world visit the museum for several purposes. Australian Alan Watchman tries to follow the traces of his family’s history. His Jewish ancestors might have lived in Ireland three generations ago. He hopes for answers hidden somewhere in the countless documents, newspaper articles and other evidence of Jewish life assembled in the exhibition. “It’s important to have those museums to trace family roots,” he says.

“Destiny played its part”

Other reasons for a visit might be research for documentaries, historical studies or just personal interest. “School classes are regular visitors,” Asher Siev says. He was a member of the museum’s Founding Committee and is now vice-chairman.

The birth of the museum benefited from coincidence. Having been closed in the seventies due to the decline of the Jewish population, the building fell into disuse. An exhibition about Jewish life in Dublin was held in another synagogue. And when this exhibition was about to end, the community proposed to take over the artefacts and set up a museum themselves. Asher Siev has his own explanation for that coincidence: “Destiny played its part.”

Info:

The Jewish Museum in Walworth Road consists of an exhibition and the former synagogue. The material roughly covers the last 150 years of Irish life in Ireland. It is open from May to September on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.). From October to April, the museum is only open on Sunday from 10.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Admission is free.

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