13 March 2018

Continuing Ministerial Education

An Inter-Faith Walking Tour of Limerick

The Limerick Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque is at Old Dooradoyle Road (photo: Patrick Comerford)

The mosque in Dooradoyle, the site of former synagogues on Wolfe Tone Street, and the old Jewish cemetery in Castletroy were all visiting points during an Interfaith Walking Tour in Limerick organised as part of the diocesan Ministry Training and Education programme on 12th February.

The group of clergy and readers met at the Limerick Islamic Cultural Centre and Mosque at Old Dooradoyle Road, established by local Muslims in Limerick. The centre is a converted detached, single-storey bungalow on the Dooradoyle Road, across from the Crescent College Comprehensive. Jumu’ah (congregational) prayers are performed at this mosque each Friday and members also receive Quran lessons.

The group then visited places associated with Limerick’s Jewish Community in Limerick, which was once centred on the Wolfe Tone Street area. 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.

The former synagogue at Hillview on Wolfe Tone Street, Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Jews began to settle in Limerick in about 1881, and for a period in the 1890s there were two congregations at Nos. 63 and 72 Wolfe Tone Street, then known as Collooney Street. The sites visited included No 18 Wolfe Tone Street, where Limerick’s rabbi lived from 1889, and the former Model School where the Jaffe and Stein families were beaten up in 1892, the former synagogue at Hillview on Wolfe Tone Street, and the site of the former Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogue at 63 Wolfe Tone Street.

From the former Model School on O’Connell Avenue, the group visited the Redemptorist Church at Mount Saint Alphonsus, where Father James Creagh of the Redemptorists preached his violent anti-Semitic sermons in 1904. The boycott that followed caused serious suffering and hardship among the Jews of Limerick.

A group from the Diocese of Limerick, Ardfert and Killaloe visits the Jewish Cemetery in Castletroy (photo: Joc Sanders)

After lunch in Annacotty, the group visited the Jewish Cemetery in Castletroy which is maintained voluntarily by Limerick Civic Trust. The graves visited include the grave of Limerick’s last rabbi, Simon Gewurtz from Bratislava and the grave of Stuart Clein, who died on 5 March 2012 and who was the last person buried in the cemetery.
At the end of the day, the group also visited Kilmurry, a closed Church of Ireland parish church in the Castletroy area.

The next training day is on Monday 12 March 2018, in the Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick, on the topic ‘Maintaining a sustaining a life of prayer.’ Two sessions are offered: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Patrick Comerford

This full-page news report is published in the March 2018 edition of ‘Newslink,’ the magazine of the Church of Ireland United Dioceses of Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert (p. 12)

Following the Stations
of the Cross in Lent 28:
Millstreet 11: Jesus
is nailed to the cross

Station 11 at Saint John’s Well, Millstreet, Co Cork … Jesus is nailed to the cross (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In my meditations and reflections in Lent this year, I am being guided by the Stations of the Cross from three locations. The idea for this series of morning Lenten meditations came from reading about Peter Walker’s new exhibition, ‘Imagining the Crucifixion,’ inspired by the Stations of the Cross, which opened in Lichfield Cathedral last month and continues throughout Lent.

Throughout Lent, my meditations each morning are inspired by three sets of Stations of the Cross that I have found either inspiring or unusual. They are the stations in Saint Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, at Saint John’s Well on a mountainside near Millstreet, Co Cork, and in the Chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield.

In my meditations, I am drawing on portions of the Stabat Mater, the 12th century hymn of the Crucifixion (‘At the cross her station keeping’) attributed to the Franciscan poet Jacopone da Todi. Some prayers are traditional, some are from the Book of Common Prayer, and other meditations and prayers are by Canon Frank Logue and the Revd Victoria Logue of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.

For these two weeks, I am looking at the 14 Stations of the Cross at Saint John’s Well in a forested area on the slopes of Mushera, outside Millstreet in north Co Cork and close to the Cork/Kerry border.

Saint John’s Well is 8 or 9 km south-east of Millstreet, on the slopes of Mushera, on the Aubane side of the mountain, opposite the entrance to Millstreet Country Park. The Stations date from 1984 and were designed by Liam Cosgrave and Sons, Sculptors, of Blackpool, Cork.

Millstreet 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross

In the eleventh station by Liam Cosgrave in Millstreet, one man alone nails Christ to the Cross.

There is one last hand to nail to the arm of the cross.

It is almost done.

They are alone on the top of the hill, outside the city.

Two trees on the hill are a hint that soon two thieves will also be nailed to two crosses on the hilltop.

One will ask for mercy and forgiveness and he will receive the promise he seeks from Christ.

Below, there is a cluster of trees.

Is this the Garden of Gethsemane?

Is this the vineyard that inspired the image of the True Vine?

Above, there are clouds of doom as darkness prepares to descend.

Or do I see a dove of peace, the Holy Spirit?

From Stabat Mater:

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!
Holy Mother, pierce me through!
In my heart, each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.


Cold steel. Warm flesh
Nails rip through tendon and muscle.
Blood soaks into splintered wood.
Jesus responds:
‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’


Merciful Redeemer, you declared your forgiveness from the cross, showing love to those who killed you and to the thief dying alongside you. Help us to know and count the cost of our forgiveness, bought at so great a price. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our crucified Lord, the King of Glory, the King of Peace. Amen.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

You are stretched out on the cross you have carried so far. The soldiers take big nails and drive them into your hands and feet. You feel abandoned by the people you loved so much. People seem to have gone mad. You have done nothing but good, yet they drive nails through your hands and feet.

A prayer before walking to the next station:

Holy God,
Holy and mighty Holy immortal one,
Have mercy on us.

Tomorrow: Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross.

Yesterday’s reflection

Saint John’s Well on the slopes of Mushera, outside Millstreet, Co Cork (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)