5 MAY 2023
I am somewhat confused by the reference to ‘River Walk’ as the waterway is a canal rather than a river.
The Portobello area was was referred to as Little Jerusalem because in the first half of the twentieth century it was at the heart of the Jewish community in Dublin. The first Jews fleeing conditions in Lithuania (then part of the Russian Empire) arrived in the early 1870s and eventually settled off Lower Clanbrassil Street.
Over the next few decades as they became more prosperous many moved to the South Circular Road, Longwood Avenue, Bloomfield Avenue (where a Jewish school was opened) and other parts of Portobello. The shopping area of Little Jerusalem stretched along Lower Clanbrassil Street where there were many Jewish shops and businesses, mixed with local Irish, for example Eastman butchers, who carried out the ritual slaughtering until a Jewish slaughterhouse was established in Vincent Street. For a long time local (non-Jewish) children earned their pocket money by lighting fires and doing odd-jobs (the Shabbat goy) for the Jews on their Sabbath.
During the 1916 Easter Rising, several Jewish women from the community smuggled ammunition from Portobello to the then named Sackville Street, where the rebels occupied the General Post Office and other strategic buildings. Most notable of these women was the artist Estella Solomons, who used to hide ammunition under a vegetable patch at the back of her family home. The Cumann na mBan women worked as agents transferring ammunition, able to avoid detection at that time precisely because they were women.