Myer Lovitz

Most of my research into Jewtown came from the 1901 and 1911 census. While sparse, some of the information was fascinating to me and gave me a spark of an idea to write a poem to reimagine what life must have been like for the people living in the various houses. One man that jumped out to me was a guy called Myer Lovitz, who lived in number 88 Hibernian Buildings. While almost all the other houses contained families, borders, servants and so on, Myer lived alone. Also, while most of the other Jewish families in Jewtown were Russian, Myer was Polish.  The only other information I could gather from the records was the fact that Myer was illiterate. I wonder why Myer Lovitz lived on his own and how he ended up in the middle of a predominantly Lithuanian neighbourhood. Perhaps, his family were away that night. I checked out the census records...

Deconsecration of South Terrace Synagogue

The Jewish Community reported on the deconsecration of the South Terrace Synagogue in Cork. They reported that about 85 people gathered at the Cork Hebrew Congregation on Sunday 7th February to mark the deconsecration of the 110-year old building, prior to the completion of its sale. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="1222,1223"] According to the article, it was a "bittersweet service" which featured the removal of the Torah scrolls from the synagogue's Holy Ark. Carl Nelkin concluded the service with a rendition of "Adon Olam" set to the tune of The Banks of my own Lovely Lee, which was a poignant touch, remarked upon by poets Patrick Cotter and Thomas McCarthy who both attended the service.

The Last Sabbath at South Terrace

I attended the final Friday night service at South Terrace synagogue. I took a few photos of the place before the service began. My lasting memory was seeing Freddie Rosehill digging his crutch into the carpet before having to sit down. [gallery size="medium" ids="1196,1199,1200,1201,1204,1206,1210,1212,1215"]  

South Terrace Synagogue is Closing

I received the sad news that the last remaining synagogue in Cork is to close its doors for the last time on the 7th February. South Terrace features in some of the poems in Jewtown. The synagogue was built at number 10 South Terrace in 1896 when the growing Jewish community of Cork needed a bigger premises for prayer services. After the Second World War, the community gradually declined where today there are probably less than five Jewish families in the city. Up until recently, services were held every few weeks and for the High Holy Days, the synagogue was alive with Jewish people from around Munster and beyond. However, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time and as Thomas McCarthy, the well-known Irish poet, said in his poem, The Dying Synagogue at South Terrace, "more than time has abandoned this" - emigration,...

Upcoming Reading: Cork

I'm delighted to be one of the selected poets to read at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival during the O'Donoghue Prizewinner ceremony in the Cork Arts Theatre. It's all happening on Saturday, 13th February from 2:45pm. I'll be reading a few poems from Jewtown, including my shortlisted poem, Mary Daly.

Book Launch

I'm delighted to announce that my book, Jewtown, is due for publication in May, this year. I'm hoping to have the official launch in early to mid-May and travel around the country after that at different events. It's getting very exciting!

Doire Press

I am also delighted and excited to read this announcement from Doire Press! I'm lucky to be one of five writers to be published in 2016 by this fantastic publishing house. I shall write more about this when I have calmed down!

Mary and Joseph living in Jewtown?

When you hear the names, Mary and Joseph, they aren’t names you’d probably associate with a Jewish couple. However, according to the 1901 census, there were 6 Jewish women called Mary in Cork. Joseph is a more common Hebrew name (Yosef) so it isn’t that surprising to find 18 of them in Cork. Mary and Joseph Spiro lived in number 74 Hibernia Buildings. Both of them came from Russia and it’s unlikely either used these names back there. They had seven children according to the 1901 census. For the record, none of them were called Jesus.

Reading in Irish Jewish Museum

[gallery size="medium" ids="125,126,127,123,124"] I had a wonderful time reading some of my poems in the Irish Jewish Museum over the weekend. I read 9 of my poems from Jewtown. The poems were preceded by the showing of an RTE interview on Gerald Goldberg. After my reading David Goldberg, (Gerald’s son), and two other Jewish men from Cork reminisced about their childhoods in Cork, though by their stage most Jewish people had left the area known as Jewtown. It was a packed room with members of the Jewish Community, fellow poets and friends. I celebrated in the most Unjewish way possible with a cheeseburger at a local restaurant.