The richly decorated interior of a mosque (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)
On Monday next [12 February 2018], the CME group in the Diocese of Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert, is organising an interfaith walking tour of Limerick.
We have been invited to begin this tour at the Limerick Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque at Old Dooradoyle Road, and other visits include the former heart of Limerick’s Jewish community on Wolfe Tone Street, and the Jewish Cemetery at Castletroy.
These notes should help people who are joining this interfaith walking tour:
The Limerick Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque is at Old Dooradoyle Road. It was established by local Muslims in Limerick. Jumu’ah (congregational) prayers are performed at this mosque each Friday and members can also receive Quran (or Koran) lessons.
The centre is a converted detached, single-storey bungalow on the Dooradoyle Road, across from the Crescent College Comprehensive. The building is fronted by gates and pleasant railings and there is plenty of room for car parking. The centre is open to non-members to visit.
The other mosques and Islamic centres in Limerick include: Limerick City Centre Masjid, 76 O’Connell Street, Limerick; Al Noor Mosque, 18A John’s Street, Limerick; and Al Furqan Muslim Community Centre, 1-43 Windmill Street, Limerick.
My earlier notes on Islamic beliefs, prayer and spirituality are available HERE.
The Jewish Community in Limerick was once centred on the Wolfe Tone Street area. There has been an established Jewish presence in Ireland for centuries. Ireland had Jewish residents as far back as 1079, according to the Annals of Inisfallen.
Although there is no formal Jewish community centre in the Mid-West region today, a number of Jewish families and individuals are living in the area.
Jews began to settle in Limerick in about 1881, and for a period in the 1890s there were two congregations. Members of the Jewish Community would meet in Nos. 63 and 72 Wolfe Tone Street, once known as Collooney Street. Before that, Limerick’s Jews met in an ale house in the city.
On 11 January 1904, Father James Creagh of the Redemptorists preached a violent sermon against the Jews, accusing them of ritual murder, of blaspheming Jesus, and of robbing the people of Limerick. The next day there was a riot in which the Jews were attacked by mobs, and this was followed by a general boycott. It would appear that the principal ground for complaint against the Jews related to allegations about money lending and a ‘weekly-instalment plan’ for buying goods.
The boycott caused serious suffering and hardship among the Jews of Limerick.
The Jewish Cemetery in Castletroy which is maintained voluntarily by Limerick Civic Trust.
The story of Limerick’s Jewish Community and the Jewish cemetery is available HERE.
The Bahá‘í faith has had a strong presence in Limerick since the late 1960s or early 1970s. This is one of the youngest of the world’s monotheistic religions, and the number of members of the Bahá‘í faith is estimated at between 5.5 and 8 million people.
The Bahá‘í faith has no clergy but the spiritual and administrative affairs of the entire Bahá‘í community are directed by a nine-member body, elected at five-year intervals, called the Universal House of Justice, located on Mount Carmel in Haifa.
The activities of the Bahá‘í community generally take place in the homes of the Bahá‘ís or in hired venues. The Bahá‘í faith was established in Limerick in the late 1960s. Limerick has its own spiritual assembly which is elected annually. The Limerick Bahá‘í community became the largest in Ireland and many Bahá‘ís from Limerick helped to establish the religion in other parts of Ireland.
There is a Rigpa Ireland Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre at 28 Henry Street, Limerick.
Tibetan Buddhism is one of the three principal divisions of Buddhism, the other two being Theraveda and Mahayana, and its most famous leader is the Dalai Lama.
Rigpa is an international Tibetan Buddhist organisation established in 1979 and has more than 130 centres in 41 countries, including four centres in Ireland: Limerick, Athlone, Dublin and Cork. The Limerick centre promotes Buddhist teaching but also meditation.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormons has a centre and temple on Dooradoyle Road, where weekly services are held. It is also one of the three Family History Centres for the Mormon community in Ireland which holds census records and registers of births, deaths and marriages.
The Limerick branch was founded in 1964 and the Munster, later Cork, District was formed in 1980. The congregation recently completed a second extension to its chapel.
Mid-West Interfaith Network
It is also worth knowing about the work of the Mid-West Interfaith Network, a community of diversity and mutual understanding that endeavours to mirror the change we want to see in the world.
The vision of the network is to promote social justice, equality, diversity and understanding through respectful and informed dialogue, sharing ritual, education and social action.