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Gerald & Sheila Goldberg of Cork: A Son's Perspective

Gerald & Sheila Goldberg of Cork: A Son's Perspective
Our Price:  €19.95(VAT Free)

ISBNs:  9781781195949 (PB) / 5956 (PDF) / 5963 9ePub)
Year Published:  2023
Author:  David Goldberg
Paperback:  €19.95
ePub ebook:  €10.00
PDF ebook:  €10.00

Born in 1945, David Goldberg was educated at Christian Brothers College in Cork, Trinity College and the King’s Inns, Dublin. His love of painting was often at war with his profession as a barrister and he practiced both at different stages of his life. While he grew up in Cork, and lived mostly thereafter in Dublin, he travelled extensively in Europe and the USA and later in South Africa.

"Gerald and Sheila were my parents. I set out to record their public lives, to tell their story, neither as a eulogy nor as a detraction. They were important people in Cork, not only because they were the first Jewish Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, but because of the significant contributions they made to the city’s cultural life over more than 40 years and how much the city and its people meant to them.
Gerald and Sheila were two very different people who were married for nearly 60 years in a close, loving relationship, and who, at times, worked together but, at others, independently. Trying to describe Gerald without including Sheila would give an incomplete picture. They grew together for more than 60 years; facing all the joys and tribulations that such a lengthy marriage brings: a remarkable relationship in every sense.
This is the story of their lives, work and achievements as best I can tell it. It was a voyage of discovery, a tumultuous and fascinating journey which I pray has done them justice. It is about my parents, my own memories and those friends, and relations who have shared theirs with me.”


“A great record of the lives of Gerald and Sheila Goldberg.

While living and rearing their family in Cork City, they were hugely involved in all aspects of the cultural, artistic, and political life of the city.

It is an easy and enjoyable read, which benefits from very thorough research by the author. It also has an excellent index.”

Harvey Kenny, Retired Circuit Court Judge


David Goldberg’s book is an engrossing story about the family of a Jewish immigrant who, at the age of 14, fled the poverty of his small Lithuanian village, landed in Dublin in the early 1880s, and walked to Limerick to join cousins eking out a living as pedlars. David has meticulously researched the life of that small Jewish community around 1900. A central theme is the persecution in 1904 of these people at the instigation of the Redemptorist Fr. John Creagh. David insists that the term ‘pogrom’ is more appropriate than that of ‘boycott’ to describe the shameful campaign. The latter term has only positive connotations in Ireland, having been devised during the Land War and effectively used by impoverished tenant-farmers in their struggle against rack-renting absentee landlords. No member of the Catholic hierarchy condemned Fr. Creagh’s tirades; it took the Redemptorists 99 years to apologize. 

The second part of the book presents the Goldbergs’ lives and causes. David highlights those legal cases illustrating his father’s determination that the rights of defendants be assured and his willingness to take on police, clergy or judicial system itself if necessary. The Goldbergs’ patronage of the arts is presented, with Sheila’s support for the Cork Orchestral Society, Cork Ballet Company and the Lunchtime Concerts she initiated. Quite extraordinary is the range and significance of her projects for the old, the poor and the handicapped: her Meals on Wheels campaign, the life-changing facilities she set up for children with cerebral palsy, and her ABODE scheme to provide accommodation for the disabled. All continue to this day. 

This book, a lasting monument to the memory of Gerald and Sheila Goldberg, is a timely reminder of what an enormous and rich contribution immigrants can, even within a generation, contribute to the life of their host communities.

Dr Ruth Fleischmann

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