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The earliest evidence of Jewish settlement in Ireland is a grant made in 1232 to a certain Peter de Rivall, giving him “custody of the King’s Jews in Ireland.” In 1290, Irish Jews, like their English brethren, were expelled from Ireland and did not return until around 1655, the days of Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth. It was then that the first Sephardic community was founded in Dublin; Jewish settlement in Ireland has been small but continuous ever since.

In 2006, most of Ireland’s 1,200 Jews live in Dublin, the capital city. They are mostly shopkeepers and tradesmen. The clothing and furniture industries were introduced into Ireland by Lithuanian immigrants. Dublin, with its two large and four small synagogues, its charitable organizations, and Talmud Torah, is the center of religious and cultural life of Irish Jewry. More than half of Northern Ireland’s Jews live in the capital city of Belfast, whose present Jewish community was founded in 1870. An earlier Jewish community was founded there a century before, but later dissolved.

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