Just some random pictures of Limerick through the years

Who is an immigrant? I am one.

The buzzword nowadays is “immigrants” and in hardly any context it is used in a positive way. Here is the thing though, who is an immigrant?

This is just a micro snapshot in history. It is basically a background of my family well at least from my Mother’s side.

The picture at the start of the blog is a picture of the marriage certificate of my maternal grandparents. They got married on December 28,1915.

The groom Durk Jager, the bride Tetje Hoekstra. They lived and were married in a small village in Friesland, in the Northwest of the Netherlands. The village Harkema-opeinde was part of the wider municipality of Achtkarspelen.

It was a rural place and there was not much work to be got. In Limburg, in the Southeast of the Netherlands, there was plenty  of work though. This was because of the ‘black gold’, coal . In the early part of the 20th century. Between 1906 and 1926 coal mines were opened in the most southern province bringing with it job opportunities, not just only in the coal industry but also in the wider economy.

The biggest and the last one to be opened was States mine Maurits in Geleen, which opened in 1926.

That was the call for my grand parents to pack up things and uproot the family for a journey southward to Geleen. Even though the Netherlands is just a small country, in the 1920s a journey like that was the equivalent of emigrating to the US or Canada nowadays.

I used the term emigrating because that is what they were doing. The place they were going to was alien to them. Coming from Friesland they had their own language, a different culture and also a different religion, Friesland being a predominantly Protestant province where Limburg was a predominantly Catholic province. Even the landscape was different.

The new immigrants arrived in Limburg and had to adapt to a new way of life.My Grandparents weren’t the only ones to leave Friesland, because of the lack of work in Friesland a great number of Frisians chanced their luck in the hilly area of the Southern part of Limburg.

I am an immigrant too, because I left that same hilly area of southern Limburg for the emerald isle, Ireland. I emigrated because of my wife, who had emigrated from Ireland to the Netherlands 6 years prior.

In 1997 we decided to move to Limerick in Ireland.

So many people have immigrated over the centuries, when you go back far enough in history you will discover that most of us come from an immigrant background.

So next time someone talks in a disparaging manner about immigrants , just remember they maybe talking about you or your family.

(originally posted on January 15, 2019. Reposted with minor amendments January 10,2022)

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1.5 Million Children

1,500,000 children by Amelia Stein

I like to visit the Limerick Gallery of Art from time to time. It is nice relaxing place.

Today I noticed this picture which was taken by Amelia Stein a Dublin born photographer and artist. The picture is a memorial to the 1.5 million children murdered during the Holocaust.

It brought these thoughts to my mind.

1.5 Million stars in the sky

1.5 million first kisses denied.

1.5 million potential geniuses discarded

1.5 million innocent souls victimized by hate and ignorance

1.5 million products of love

1.5 million futures destroyed.

1.5 million reasons to never forget

1.5 million children

ROCKTOBER-Zombie

When the Cranberry Saw Us were formed in 1989, they did not know that the changing of the name and lead singer would have such an impact on the band.

When the lead singer Niall Quinn was replaced by Dolores O’Riordan, and the name was changed to The Cranberries, the path was open to global success for this Limerick band.

Their 1st album “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” with the hit singles ‘Dreams’ and ‘Linger’ did get the attention of many music fans.

But it was with the song “Zombie” taken from their second album “No need to argue” that the band established themselves as a genuine, bonafide rock band.

It is a protest song written by Dolores O’Riordan in memory of the two young victims who were killed in the 1993 Warrington bombings, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry. Three-year-old Johnathan Ball was killed when two bombs hidden in litter bins detonated on a busy shopping street in March 1993. Tim Parry, aged 12, died five days later.

O’Riordan, who was on tour at the time, found herself deeply affected by the tragedy.

“I remember seeing one of the mothers on television, just devastated,” she told Vox magazine in 1994.

“I felt so sad for her, that she’d carried him for nine months, been through all the morning sickness, the whole thing and some… prick, some airhead who thought he was making a point, did that.” The singer was particularly offended that terrorists claimed to have carried out these acts in the name of Ireland.

“The IRA are not me. I’m not the IRA,” she said. “The Cranberries are not the IRA. My family are not. “When it says in the song, ‘It’s not me, it’s not my family,’ that’s what I’m saying. It’s not Ireland, it’s some idiots living in the past.”

Unfortunately Dolores died on January 15.2018. But she left behind a legacy for generations to come.

The American heavy metal band Bad Wolves recorded a cover of “Zombie” in 2017 while they were working on their debut album Disobey. The band’s singer Tommy Vext slightly altered the lyrics, inserting a reference to drones and replacing

The band also added two extra stanzas to the end of the song which were not present in the original. However, Vext said that “we weren’t sure it if was going to make it onto the record. The song is a masterpiece and a massive hit. Some art is sacred — you become afraid to do a rendition of it”.

On Christmas Eve 2017, Waite, the manager of Bad Wolves sent a text message to Vext that said O’Riordan had offered to “sing on it”. Vext described the situation: “it was a dream come true”,[166] while the others musicians “almost didn’t believe it

Bad Wolves released the cover on 18 January 2018, 3 days after Dolores’s death, without Dolores’s voice as a tribute to her.

sources

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-42702781

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_(The_Cranberries_song)

Happy 50th Birthday Dolores

A swan flies over the Shannon while a Limerick Rose fades

A tormented but beautiful soul

I remember seeing you for the first time, no it was not in concert but in a shopping mall

You looked so fragile next to the man who towered over you,your husband.

Small and fragile but yet so tall and powerful.

Your voice mesmerized me, so sad and full of hope at the same time.

Non assuming and humble and yet a genuine rock star.

Your earthly shell has gone but your legacy will linger

A Limerick Rose fades away as a Swan flies over the Shannon.

Happy 50th Birthday Dolores up there at the big gig in the sky

MacArthur Park

Today is Jimmy Webb’s 75th birthday. Rather then going into Jimmy’s life, I will focus on one of his many songs, ‘MacArthur Park’ .One of my favourite songs.

It doesn’t happen that often the 2 versions of a song are equally as good. The 1st version was by fellow Limerick man(although I am just a blow in) Richard Harris, the 2nd version by Disco Diva Donna Summer.

The song was released in the month I was born ,April 1968.

In an interview with Newsday in October 2014, Jimmy Webb explained:

“Everything in the song was visible. There’s nothing in it that’s fabricated. The old men playing checkers by the trees, the cake that was left out in the rain, all of the things that are talked about in the song are things I actually saw. And so it’s a kind of musical collage of this whole love affair that kind of went down in MacArthur Park. … Back then, I was kind of like an emotional machine, like whatever was going on inside me would bubble out of the piano and onto paper.”

So without any further ado the 2 versions of the song.(For those who want to bake a cake, please make sure you keep the recipe and please don’t let out in the rain)

A River Runs Deep-A poem about the Shannon

Nothing can stop you, no matter what. Your beauty is breathtaking, but there is a dark side too.

Some are in awe, when they look at your majestic flow towards the ocean. They try to comprehend the power you possess.

Other realize that power and know that it can bring life and also end it. It is an option so often contemplated. Just one jump and that’s it, never to be seen alive again.

A river runs deep and has many secrets to keep.

I choose to only see the beauty. Your lush green river banks, the reflection of the trees and the fading sunlight. A swan just lands as if it was an airplane landing on a runway, but with so much grace. Indifferent to the sounds around her, focused on one thing, landing safely in the water.

The swan too knows of the power of the water beneath her.

A river runs deep and has many secrets to keep

From the dawn of time you were here, just waiting to be explored. You determine your own direction. You determine who your own destiny, A freedom so much desired by so many.

A river runs deep and has many secrets to keep.

The Suicide of Elsa Reininger- A forgotten Holocaust victim.

A few weeks ago I discovered a Jewish Cemetery in Limerick. It was across from a landmark pub in the city called ‘the Hurlers’. There was small laneway across from the Hurlers leading to the small Cemetery.

One of the graves was of Simon Gewurz. He was originally from Bratislava in Slovakia. But he moved to Limerick where he died in 1944. I recently found out that he was the last Rabbi in Limerick.

In 1938 he had to conduct the funeral service of Elsa Reininger.

Elsa’s story was a tragic one. She had fled Austria after Hitler annexed the country. Reininger was her maiden name, she was married to Berisch Hofler. a Polish Jew. The couple had one daughter, Margarete.

Austria was annexed into the Third Reich on March 13, 1938, the day after German troops entered Austrian territory, the so called Anschluss. The Nazis were greeted by cheering Austrians with Nazi salutes and Nazi flags. A law was published, declaring Austria “one of the lands of the German Empire” under the name “Ostmark”. On April 10, an Anschluss referendum was held in Austria. According to official Reich data, with 99.08% of the population voting, the Anschluss was approved by 99.75%.

Almost immediately attacks were carried out on the Austrian Jewish community in an attempt to get them to leave the country. They were beaten up and forced to sell their businesses, scrub footpaths and clean public toilets on their hands and knees.

Shortly after the ‘Anschluss’ the Hoflers left Austria. It is not clear how the the Hoflers left Austria, but both Elsa and her Husband ended up in Limerick city, Ireland. Their Daughter, Margarete, had married a widower, Gaskel Kaitcer, in the UK. Gaskel had family in Limerick, the Tobin family, so the couple decided to move to Limerick. Margarete soon got a job working as a violinist in one of Limerick’s cinemas.

In September 1938 Berisch visited his daughter, and stayed as a lodger with Gaskel’s cousin, Annie Tobin and her Husband at 18 Newenham Street. Elsa followed in October 1938. Elsa had arrived in Limerick from England, where her passport was stamped for a 48 hours stay, basically a short term visa.

The experiences of what she witnessed in Austria had really disturbed Elsa. Her nerves were shattered from what she had seen and experienced in Vienna and the possibility that she might have to return there. She spoke continuously to the Tobins about Hitler. She suffered from depression. On October 27, 1938 she booked a room at the Crescent Hotel, she took a
gun from her handbag and as she lay on the bed, she put it to her head and pulled the trigger, killing herself, aged 57. No one heard the shot. Around 8 o’ clock Berish Hofler went to his daughters house and was distressed he didn’t find his wife. At 23.30 Margarete went to the Garda(Police) station and reported her mother missing. The body was found shortly after midnight. The Gardai(Irish Police) notified the family. In the early hours of Friday morning the 28th, the Fire Brigade ambulance arrived and removed the body to the morgue at Barrington’s Hospital on Georges Quay. As it was the eve of the Jewish Sabbath the family were anxious have the remains buried. Mr Nathaniel Fine made arrangements for the burial with Griffins funeral home on Lr. Gerald Griffin Street. As the body was about to be
removed the Gardai intervened and had the deceased returned to the morgue, but after a post-mortem examination had been made on Saturday, permission for the burial was
given again . On Sunday morning 30 October, a Griffins’ motor hearse went to Barrington’s Hospital, collected the coffin and drove to the Jewish Cemetery in Kilmurry where, in the presence of Berisch Hofler, Margarete Kaitcer and her husband Gaskel and the last serving Jewish Rabbi of Limerick, Simon Gewurz, the remains of Elsa Reininger were laid to rest in an unmarked grave.

Elsa was just one of the thousands that were so overwhelmed by the evil they had witnessed, that they felt they could not continue to live. These are often the forgotten Holocaust victims because they are not registered as such.

sources

file:///C:/Users/Dirk/Downloads/Elsa_Reininger_A_Forgotten_Victim_of_Ado.pdf

https://www.geni.com/people/Simon-Gewurtz/6000000003823159033

Click to access ct046.pdf

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Art from a Limerick Artist.

2020-08-08

Wild swans at Castle Oaks’ Oil on canvas. Scenes from Ireland. By Louise Harrison.

 

Sources

https://www.facebook.com/ArtistLouiseHarrison/?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBsHB0Om-VVO1Wy_WowAkJCoO7vmcZebM9cPwJqmEhze7Ju0XctDOeTrXK8in_H9dB8okjFXhKOqEEol_CPGKijdNnSUnupbwkXaAmVKv5spaNYhw8FbYmLVuZQq_bDfioPB08cb9-vNtb4-kaUvFWrxrGJXBvd3U6BV4010PVV6e3sE-_XICqFYHdxANVSa6I7XFG1-udGCyBHWxChsu4D7jMu0_9LQXqMHwLYPmoZH6yiUEh4UocIJwGPSBl3prqC30LcmmnqWQxcS-qBpCU5qj8INOn_hZ1a_zQtWeAlakXAAQwLO0CG7OJwNwCNPKwaO1SxiomMj3ccf-0

 

https://www.saatchiart.com/account/profile/1620991?fbclid=IwAR2szPS9uKSqG9PsyDZ-FBXFXfAduFY3coPTEIQjFMGa2G3_4cPXGfCGFik

 

 

 

Richard Hayes AKA Captain Gray-Ireland’s WWII code breaker.

Doertz

Although Ireland was neutral during WWII it didn’t stay completely out of the war.There were even some famous Irish war heroes like the Beamish brothers from Cork who became RAF flying aces.

beamish

On the other hand there were less conspicuous heroes, unlikely heroes even like Limerick man Richard Hayes.

He was born in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick and grew up in in Claremorris, Co. Mayo. He was educated in Clongowes Wood College in Klidare and in Trinity College in Dublin.

trinity

Richard Hayes was no soldier ,he was a librarian, in fact in he was the director of the National Library in Dublin. It is nor clear how Colonel Dan Bryan, head of Ireland’s G2 intelligence service identified Hayes as a code breaker, but he did, probably because Hayes,was highly regarded for his mathematical and linguistic expertise.

Great  Britain had complained of radio transmissions from a house in north Dublin owned by the German Embassy.ciphers had been found on another captured spy here. So with the support of Eamon de Valera, who always had a big interest in maths, Hayes was given an office and staff to go to work on the German codes.The coded messages were a substantial  threat to Irish national security and the wider war effort.

Hayes’s biggest  nemesis was Dr. Herman Görtz,

Gortz

In the summer of 1940, Görtz had parachuted into Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland uis goal was  to gather information. He moved in with former IRA leader Jim O’Donovan. His mission was to act as a liaison officer with the IRA to get their their assistance in case of potential German occupation of Britain. However, he quickly decided that the IRA was not reliable enough. On landing, he had lost the ‘Ufa’ transmitter he had parachuted with. Goertz, attired in a Luftwaffe uniform, then walked to Dublin. He was not arresested despite calling into a Garda barracks(police barracks) in Co Wicklow, asking for directions to Dublin.

Goertz’s  was eventually arrested in Dublin in November 1941, he was carrying a code later described by MI5 as “one of the best three or four in the war”.

The “Görtz Cipher” – which was a complex substitution of figures for letters had puzzled many of the greatest code-breaking minds at Bletchley Park, but the mild mannered librarian from Co.Limerick had cracked the code. The first of the Goertz messages to be successfully decoded was unlocked with the key ‘Cathleen Ni Houlihan’. Informed of the breakthrough by Hayes, Cecil Liddell of MI5 visited Dublin in 1943 and the Irish and British secret services continued to share intelligence information until the end of the war.

Another German spy in Ireland , Günther Schultz, had used an un-coded system of “microdots”, allowing tiny messages to be contained within the letter “O” in newspaper cuttings, which had baffled the American OSS. Hayes cracked that too , as well as enciphering system used by the  Sicherheitsdienst

The captured Germans only knew their quiet-spoken and polite interrogator as “Captain Gray”, only a few at the G2 secret service knew that Captain Gray was Richard Hayes.

Hayes

Hermann Goertz was released from jail in Athlone in August 1946, but was arrested again in 1947. Friday May 23, 1947 he arrived at the Aliens’ Office in Dublin Castle at 9.50 am and was told he was being deported to Germany . Goertz was afraid he would be handed to the Soviets ,he opted to take his own life.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Irish Times

RTE Radio

Wikipedia