History of the Cork Hebrew Congregation and the Jews of Cork.

History of the Cork Hebrew Congregation and the Jews of Cork. 
The first wave of Jewish emigration to Cork was in 1772 with the influx of a small community of Sephardic Jews from Portugal.
Relatively little is known about this first community. Although they didn’t have a synagogue, a burial ground was discovered at Kemp Street, to the back of the present synagogue on number 10, South Terrace.
The community didn’t exceed about 40 in number, and disappeared through intermarriage with local Protestant families.
Written records from 1891 point to the emergence of a second Jewish community in Cork, following the assimilation of the previous Sephardic community. This community, by contrast, were Ashkenazi, coming (mostly) from a town called Yakmyan in Kovno (former White Russia).
It is very unlikely that Cork, Ireland, was the intended destination of these Eastern European émigrés. They had fled persecution (pogroms) in a staunchly Catholic Country.

Many among their ranks were also very religious. That they would willingly come to another stronghold of Catholicism, such as Ireland, with no traditional ties to Judaism, seems mostly unlikely. Among various explanations proposed, it may have been the case that an unscrupulous ship-captain advised the Jews to disembark and row to America to save money.
Possibly they confused ‘Cork’ for New York (the Jews spoke only Yiddish, and the words are – slighly – cognate). From Cobh (then Queenstown), where they disembarked, the Jews made their way into Cork City, and specifically settled in an area known as Hibernian Buildings, in the City Centre, soon to be known as ‘Jewtown’ by the locals.
This initial crop of Jews worked mostly as peddlers, selling door-to-door. They were known, amongst each other, as the vicklemen (vickle means weekly in Yiddish, and their door-to-door rounds took roughly a week). They would travel around Cork City and its hinterland knocking on doors and selling various things to the local Catholic farming community.

The community reached its peak in the early 20th Century. Family of the first arrivals soon followed when they found out that Cork, and Ireland in general, was tolerant, even friendly, towards the Jews. The community first prayed in a small room in Eastville before renting a room in Marlboro Street, and finally building the present synagogue at 10, South Terrace.

A Jewish cemetery – Beit Olam in Hebrew – was acquired at Curraghkippane, on the outskirts of the cities, and some Jewish victims of the Lusitania disaster (a ship that sank in 1912 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Cork) are buried there.

At its peak of about 450-500 congregants, the community was very active.
Before the decline in numbers, there were two football clubs, a table tennis clubs, a debating club, a branch of the Bnei Akiva, as well as, of course, an officiating ‘Reverend’, a butcher, a doctor and a Chevre Kedushsa (burial society).

By 1939 the community had reached its peak. The sons and the grandsons of the peddlers and vicklemen had qualified as professionals in University College Cork and wanted to leave for a place with greater Jewish life and professional opportunities. There was also emigration to the State of Israel, established in 1948. The combination of emigration to Israel and the U.S. (among other destinations) resulted in a steady decline in number which persisted from the late 1930s until the 1980s, by which stage only 15 to 20 Jews remained in Cork, Ireland.
At present there are only two families left, as well as a scattering of Jews in the surrounding country, as well as transient visitors and businessmen who may come to pray at the shul.

Because of the decline in numbers, services are now only conducted every fourth Friday night, and during the High Holidays. Even during the High Holidays extras, in the form of Chabad-Lubavitch trainee Rabbis, have to be ‘imported’ from the U.K. to make a Jewish religious quorum (a ‘minyan’).

The Cork shul and the Jewish congregation have been featured in a number of online articles, some or all of which may be of interest if you are looking to know more about Jewish life in Cork.

The first wave of Jewish emigration to Cork was in 1772 with the influx of a small community of Sephardic Jews from Portugal.

Relatively little is known about this first community. Although they didn’t have a synagogue, a burial ground was discovered at Kemp Street, to the back of the present synagogue on number 10, South Terrace.

The community didn’t exceed about 40 in number, and disappeared through intermarriage with local Protestant families.
Written records from 1891 point to the emergence of a second Jewish community in Cork, following the assimilation of the previous Sephardic community. This community, by contrast, were Ashkenazi, coming (mostly) from a town called Yakmyan in Kovno (former White Russia).
It is very unlikely that Cork, Ireland, was the intended destination of these Eastern European émigrés. They had fled persecution (pogroms) in a staunchly Catholic Country.

Many among their ranks were also very religious. That they would willingly come to another stronghold of Catholicism, such as Ireland, with no traditional ties to Judaism, seems mostly unlikely. Among various explanations proposed, it may have been the case that an unscrupulous ship-captain advised the Jews to disembark and row to America to save money.
Possibly they confused ‘Cork’ for New York (the Jews spoke only Yiddish, and the words are – slighly – cognate). From Cobh (then Queenstown), where they disembarked, the Jews made their way into Cork City, and specifically settled in an area known as Hibernian Buildings, in the City Centre, soon to be known as ‘Jewtown’ by the locals.
This initial crop of Jews worked mostly as peddlers, selling door-to-door. They were known, amongst each other, as the vicklemen (vickle means weekly in Yiddish, and their door-to-door rounds took roughly a week). They would travel around Cork City and its hinterland knocking on doors and selling various things to the local Catholic farming community.

The community reached its peak in the early 20th Century. Family of the first arrivals soon followed when they found out that Cork, and Ireland in general, was tolerant, even friendly, towards the Jews. The community first prayed in a small room in Eastville before renting a room in Marlboro Street, and finally building the present synagogue at 10, South Terrace.

A Jewish cemetery – Beit Olam in Hebrew – was acquired at Curraghkippane, on the outskirts of the cities, and some Jewish victims of the Lusitania disaster (a ship that sank in 1912 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Cork) are buried there.

At its peak of about 450-500 congregants, the community was very active.
Before the decline in numbers, there were two football clubs, a table tennis clubs, a debating club, a branch of the Bnei Akiva, as well as, of course, an officiating ‘Reverend’, a butcher, a doctor and a Chevre Kedushsa (burial society).

By 1939 the community had reached its peak. The sons and the grandsons of the peddlers and vicklemen had qualified as professionals in University College Cork and wanted to leave for a place with greater Jewish life and professional opportunities.

At present there are only two families left, as well as a scattering of Jews in the surrounding country, as well as transient visitors and businessmen who may come to pray at the shul.

Because of the decline in numbers, services are now only conducted every fourth Friday night, and during the High Holidays. Even during the High Holidays extras, in the form of Chabad-Lubavitch trainee Rabbis, have to be ‘imported’ from the U.K. to make a Jewish religious quorum (a ‘minyan’).

The Cork synagoguge and the Jewish congregation have been featured in a number of online articles, some or all of which may be of interest if you are looking to know more about Jewish life in Cork.

Go > to > Sourcehttp://www.corkhebrewcongregation.com/history

Cork’s Jewish Community — Small in Size, Grand in Spirit (Marlena Thompson)

Gerald Goldberg (Wikipedia)

Cork Festival of Jewish Culture (Held in UCC, 2008)

Kosherme.net Entry

Folklore CD Series: Fred Rosehill

Cork’s Oldest Jew Reflect’s In Sadness [Article, Irish Times]

Vibrant Jewish Community in Irish City of Cork has Dwindled Away [Article, Seattle Times]

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrews

Resources

Zmanim (halachic prayer times) for Cork.

Latest kosher product list (2012-2013) 

Google Maps listing

Websites

Irish Jewish Genealogical Society

Irish Jewish Museum

Articles, Media

A Place in Time, Ep. 5

History of the Jews in Ireland (Wikipedia)

Cork’s Jewish Community — Small in Size, Grand in Spirit (Marlena Thompson)

Gerald Goldberg (Wikipedia)

Cork Festival of Jewish Culture (Held in UCC, 2008)

Kosherme.net Entry

Folklore CD Series: Fred Rosehill

Cork’s Oldest Jew Reflect’s In Sadness [Article, Irish Times]

Vibrant Jewish Community in Irish City of Cork has Dwindled Away [Article, Seattle Times]

IRA Formally Deny They Still Exist

Breaking news: IRA Formally Deny They Still Exist

BALLYDEHOB – LEADING spokesmen for the Irish Republican Army have today formally denied that they still exist in a brief press conference at a secret location in Antrim known as Ballycastle pier.

Slamming a damning joint PSNI-MI5 report claiming that IRA members are still operating, a spokesman flanked by four masked members said the accusations were false and politically motivated and not to trust everything you see, hear or read.

“It’s all lies,” the uniformed IRA member explained. “There’s no paramilitaries here anymore. Everyone has moved on with their lives and have proper jobs, paying tax to the Queen and all hi!”

During the 8 minute address, the speaker picked up a handgun from the table and shot it in the air, sending plaster down on their heads, claiming it was the last bullet the group had left and not to worry anymore about violence, drug running, racketeering or fuel laundering.

“See, that here was our last lucky bullet which we kept off chance for the craic hi,” he added, now emptying the shell from the chamber and dusting off his shoulders. “Now we’re defenceless altogether, see? Those days are gone. No need to panic.

“This whole PSNI-MI5 report is a bunch of old wives tales to make children go asleep. If you could smell the mold from these uniforms you’d believe us. The stink of them. Haven’t been worn in years.”

The IRA’s confirmation that they don’t exist anymore appears to have temporarily defused a political crisis at Stormont, alleviating many fears DUP members had over the peace process.

“We’re glad the IRA finally came out of the woodwork to deny they still exist,” a DUP statement reads today. “Hopefully we can all go back to normal; until the next Irish general election, when they need us again to prove more links between Sinn Féin and the IRA.”

Preview of Ireland v France by WWN

Ireland’s biggest test in this World Cup so far comes in the form of France. Our rugby correspondent Vaughan Hickey Horgan O’Donnell Cumisky gives you the low down:

FRANCE

france crest

Team nicknames: The Baguette Eaters, Garlic Tossers, Les Blew A Decent Lead

Biggest club names: Racing Money, The Je Joue Au Rugbys, The Parisian Cheese Smellers RFC

Strengths: In enviable physical condition, a gloriously entertaining rugby tradition, ample supply of alluring women dispatched within the stadium to beguile and distract Irish fans and players alike.

Weaknesses: World wars, a comically over the top accent that just begs to be imitated in a derogatory fashion, such is their mercurial nature they may decide to give up 80 point lead for no particular reason, and overtly obtuse arthouse film offerings that we’re forced to pretend to understand.

Star Player: Mathieu Bastareaud

bastareaud

Special Moves: Has the strength of seven Irish-sized men, thanks to being built in a specially designed rugby laboratory by insane scientists. Will make orphans of several Irish children today by mowing down players. Name can be shortened to ‘Bastard’ by panicked Irish fans at any time, but such utterances only make him stronger.

WWN score prediction: 19-15 to Ireland

What to look out for: French players will blatantly handle to ball with their hands, as a way to goad the Irish players over Thierry Henry’s famous handball. TV3 ad breaks will be extended by 12 minutes each, meaning fans will miss out much of the coverage of the actual match.

An Ghaeilge A stirring and long-forgotten poem by Roger Casement

An Ghaeilge

A stirring and long-forgotten poem by Roger Casement, newly translated into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock

The Irish language
It is gone from the hill and the glen—
The strong speech of our sires;
It is sunk in the mire and the fen
Of our nameless desires:
We have bartered the speech of the Gael
For a tongue that would pay,
And we stand with the lips of us pale
And all bloodless today;
We have bartered the birthright of men
That our sons should be liars.
It is gone from the hill and the glen
The strong speech of our sires.
Like the flicker of gold on the whin
That the Spring breath unites,
It is deep in our hearts and shall win
Into flame where it smites:
It is there with the blood in our veins,
With the stream in the glen,
With the hill and the heath and the weans
They shall think it again;
It shall surge to their lips and shall win
The high road to our rights—
Like the flicker of gold on the whin
That the sun-burst unites.
An teanga Ghaeilge
Do thréig sí an cnoc is an gleann
teanga thréan na sean;
Sa láib di seachas ar an mbeann—
is balbh é ár ngean:
Do dhíolamar teanga na nGael
ar scilling gheal an Rí,
Nach mílítheach é ár mbéal—
is ár mbeola ar easpa brí;
Do dhíolamar ár ndúchas is ár ngreann—
an chonair cham do lean.
Do thréig sí an cnoc is an gleann
teanga thréan na sean.
Mar ór ar an aiteann faoi bhláth
san Earrach mar aon bhladhm amháin
Go domhain inár gcroíthe atá—
lasair an bhua gan cháim:
Sa ghleann ina ritheann sruthán
sa smior is sa smúsach, sa chroí,
In intinn bhíogúil an ógáin
tabharfar beocht do na seansiollaí
A fhógróidh ár gcearta don lá
in aon gheal-ghaisce amháin:
Mar ór ar an aiteann faoi bhláth
faoin ngal gréine gan cháim.

All gardens will grow, a poem by Eoghan O’Neill

All gardens will grow

Eoghan O’Neill

This landslide keeps on falling
The abyss keeps on opening
The rain falls to nowhere
Who is left to listen?

Why do we do it?
Who will pay for it?
’Cause it won’t be long now
Till all gardens grow

The sun casts no shadows
Of silhouettes by the sea
The wind causes no damage
There’s no more property

Why do we do it?
Who will pay for it?
’Cause it won’t be long now
Till all gardens grow

Now the cards are on the table
Are we willing and are we able?
Why do we do it?
Who will pay for it?
’Cause it won’t be long now
Till all gardens grow
All gardens will grow

What faith and art can do when the world is dark

by ANDREW O’HAGAN

THE BOOK OF KELLS: In the contemporary world the illuminated manuscript on display at Trinity College Dublin now stands as a founding classic, as ripe to nonreligious readers as it is to people of faith.

The Isle of Iona is close to Ireland, and it has always mattered to me, a Scot with an Irish name, that our common literature begins in that fertile place. This summer I took Seamus Heaney and some other friends to visit Iona, and we agreed that the atmosphere on the island is unmistakable. Dr Johnson and James Boswell felt the same way when they stepped off the boat in the autumn of 1773 and spontaneously hugged one another. “It’s some place,” said Heaney as we walked through the renovated cloisters of the abbey by the sea. “Can you hear the wind?”

The Book of Kells symbolises, says Bernard Meehan, “the power of learning, the impact of Christianity on the life of the country, and the spirit of artistic imagination”.

Meehan’s book is for me the book of the year, a deeply beautiful and essential guide to what the great Celtic text is all about. An ancient sense of wonder can be found in the Book of Kells, and spores of the old illuminating art can still be felt in the air at Iona as you pass through the cells where Columba once presided and where folios of the famous book were made.

I grew up dreaming about the Book of Kells, its dashing hares, its serpents, its round-eyed monks beyond ecstasy and sleep, its golds and its greens, and a decade ago I got finally to slumber alongside it. I was a visiting fellow at Trinity and had rooms on Parliament Square. Drinks were had and poetry was discussed, pees were taken in foreign sinks. But half my mind was drunk on the Book of Kells. It was just over the way and told the story of our founding spirit.

Edna Longley, in her fine Introduction to Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry, a recent and rich book on the subject, calls Columba the patron saint of Irish/Scottish poetry. “Poetic contact between Ireland and Scotland begins with an island,” she writes, “Iona.”

For me, Columba was the skilled believer, the potent leader, the miracle worker, the magic realist that Scotland needed. We needed him before John Knox and we needed him after. Or maybe I just mean that I needed him. After belief was gone, I needed the lasting power of devotion, a deep source of exultation and fiction that would allow me to be more than just a poor audience to my own memory.

Resplendent hope

John McGahern once wrote a paragraph that captures that resplendent hope in the gravity of past faith. “I have nothing but gratitude for the spiritual remnants of that upbringing,” he wrote, “the sense of our origins beyond the bounds of sense, an awareness of mystery and wonderment, grace and sacrament, and the absolute equality of all men and women underneath the sun of heaven.” That is the Book of Kells for me. Some people turn to nationalism when God is dead. Some to drink. But I wanted the vital spark of the old illuminations, evidence of what faith and art can do together when the world is dark.

Iona was attacked by the Vikings and Colum Cille’s abbots ended up in Kells, according to the Annals of Ulster, in 804. This place was to be a refuge and a place where the work continued. The Book of Kells has a Columban provenance that I feel I recognise and love, for it marks an otherworldly collaboration between the kingdoms of Ireland and Scotland and a beautiful insight into our national mysteries. Not only those we enjoy individually but those we enjoy together, face to face, as nations across the water.

Uncertainty is part of the enjoyment. Was the book started at Iona and finished at Kells? Was the work begun by Columba himself and then spirited away by later loyal abbots in the face of the Viking raiders? The existing book in Dublin has evidence for a great deal and certainty about very little: areas of decoration are unfinished, suggesting the initial book was rescued in a hurry. The original scribes must have died during the raids or soon after the transition to Kells, or they would have finished what they started, no? I recently took Meehan’s wonderful book on a trip to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and compared a number of the plates he reproduces to stone carvings held in the collection.

The illustrations in the Book of Kells show the influence of the Mediterranean style that we can see in coins, jewellery and textiles. But the Pictish element has been underplayed somewhat: if you look at surviving stones and graves from the northeast of Scotland or from St Ninian’s early settlement at Whithorn, you see elements – three dots representing the Trinity, for example – that are everywhere in the Book of Kells.

The book is a terrific gathering place of style: you see darkest, unknown Scotland, the country before Macbeth, but also an Ireland establishing a sense of Christ and beauty that is different from the one carried in from Rome. The book is complex, but it also underscores the way simple foreign design codes were already present in Ireland and were newly manipulated by Kells’s scribes. Look at the business of the red dots. “Red dots highlighting the shape of a letter,” writes Meehan, “which are such a striking feature of the Book of Kells, form the major decorative device of a Gospel book known as Codex Usserianus Primus, conventionally regarded as dating from the early 7th century and so the earliest surviving Irish manuscript . . . Similar dots placed around letters for emphasis can be seen in an early 6th-century Greek manuscript from Constantinople.”

Patron saint of storytellers

St Columba commanded the fishes of the sea to rise out of the water and find their tongues. I think of him as a patron saint of storytellers and fiction-makers, an Irishman on the shore at Iona commanding the world into magic. The fish, the lions, the peacocks and hares, the cats, the panthers, the stags and the doves: the book is replete with gorgeous life, danger, faith and symbol. (And such freshness: on folio 84V, one page, there’s a thrilling drawing of a fat, blue-and-yellow-striped cat pursuing a white-faced rat that is running away with a communion host. At the bottom we run into a blue-legged greyhound that has just caught a hare clambering up the page. This is an ancient text, but these images are more alive than anything in Tate Modern.)

The book contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but I believe it is Colum Cille’s gospel of earthly plenitude and everyday natural sanctity we are looking at. For what we see in the Book of Kells is the insular world bursting into colour. It would be another millennium and a half before we heard that “the medium is the message”, but, oddly, we first see it with the Book of Kells. Essentially a showcase for the message of the evangelists, it becomes, by its strange stylistic pedigree, and by its amazing provenance as an Irish-Scots masterpiece, a work of western art that holds in itself the imagination’s first principles.

Of course, being a writer, I think of the scribes. Who were they and how did they come to make this? In a way, they must represent the perfect form of TS Eliot’s impersonal artists, not only unknown and uncredited but completely subsumed by the symbolic enormity of the work they undertook and by a division of labour. Yet each of the writers has his own style: Scribe A, sober and spare, no-nonsense, with a turgid N; Scribe B writes small and decorates largely in red and yellow and purple; Scribe C, perhaps more improvisational yet more hesitant; and Scribe D, more expansive than C and given to sudden brilliant decorative flights in his large hand, using darker inks. We don’t know who these men were, and each must have had a tale behind him. It was Nabokov, that later keeper of his own scriptorium, who said that the only biography of an artist that matters is the biography of his style.

And that is what we see in the Book of Kells, the proteins of many cultures going towards the DNA of Ireland.

The book now stands as a founding classic, as ripe to pagans as to people of faith, a locus of dark materials, a beautiful marker to people who read and a life force and progenitor to people who write. Sitting up late in my rooms at Trinity 10 years ago, I know my thoughts moved over the square to interlace with the patterns in that old book. My own people had travelled like the word itself, and God only knows what part of their vivid colours hadn’t drained into the grave. My guess is that Colum Cille has symbolic power for each of us, Irish and Scots alike, separated by that short and rowdy sea. The book is evidence of what we were like, trying to imagine our way into majesty in the face of something savage. And what is that if not the project of civilisation? We would have our reformations to face, and will again, but the Book of Kells reveals to us our origins beyond the bounds of sense.

Gearing up for the World Cup

Fixtures

1430 Saturday 19 September: Ireland v Canada, Millennium Stadium

  • TV: TV3+ITV | Radio 1: Michael Corcoran + Tony Ward |
    Online: Brendan Cole in Cardiff + Analysis from Bernard Jackman and Conor O’Shea

1645 Sunday 27 September: Ireland v Romania, Wembley Stadium

  • TV: TV3+ITV | Radio 1: Michael Corcoran + Donal Lenihan |
    Online: Tadhg Peavoy in London + Analysis from Bernard Jackman and Conor O’Shea

1645 Sunday 4 October: Ireland v Italy, Olympic Stadium

  • TV: TV3+ITV | Radio 1: Michael Corcoran + Tony Ward |
    Online: Tadhg Peavoy in London + Analysis from Bernard Jackman and Conor O’Shea

1645 Sunday 11 October: France v Ireland, Millennium Stadium

  • TV: TV3+ITV | Radio 1: Michael Corcoran + Donal Lenihan |
    Online: Brendan Cole in Cardiff + Analysis from Bernard Jackman and Conor O’Shea

Knockout fixtures:

Quarter-finals: Saturday 17 + Sunday 18 October at Millennium Stadium.
Semi-finals: Saturday 24 + Sunday 25 October at Twickenham.
Final: Saturday 31 October at Twickenham.

Pool D

Ireland open their account against Canada, before taking on the pool’s other less-fancied nation Romania in round two. Following those two clashes, against teams ranked 18th and 17th in the world, Ireland will go on to face Italy in London.

In round four they will take on France in what is billed as a pool decider between the two most highly-rated sides of the group. Ireland are ranked sixth in the world. France are ranked seventh.

Pool D qualifiers will face sides from Pool C in the last eight.

If Ireland win their pool they will likely face Argentina in the last eight. If they finish runners-up in their pool they will likely face the daunting prospect of defending champions New Zealand.

Venues

Ireland will open their campaign at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, where Ireland won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2009.

Their second clash against Romania will be at the home of the FA – Wembley.

The squad remain in London for their third pool clash against Italy – moving to the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. They travel back across to the Millennium Stadium for the final pool clash against France.

Ireland’s previous record in Rugby World Cups: Ireland have never reached the last four, only managing to make the quarter-finals in 1987, 1991, 1995, 2003 and 2011. They were knocked out in the quarter-final play-offs by Argentina in 1999 and in the pool stages in 2007 with France and Argentina advancing to the last eight from Ireland’s pool.

Of the big ten only Italy have a worse RWC record. The Azzurri have never reached the knock-out stages despite having qualified for every World Cup.

How are they expected to do: For the first time in history Ireland go into a Rugby World Cup as Six Nations champions – to boot they are back-to-back Six Nations champions.

Add to that a coach who has also won the European Cup twice with Leinster, as well as arguably the best ever Ireland squad and – understandably – expectations are very high indeed.

There can be no escaping the fact that Ireland have previously been regarded as Rugby World Cup flops, with a string of near misses to their name in the quarter-finals and two horrendous failures in failing to make the last eight in 1999 and 2007; the latter a tournament at which Ireland were rated as potential winners.

The 2015 Six Nations win has once again raised expectations, while warm-up wins over Wales and Scotland had the team purring along nicely with Ireland ranked as number two in the world. However, poor performances and defeats to Wales and England have left Ireland ranked sixth in the world heading into their first pool match and looking far less assured than they did at the end of August.

That may be no bad thing though as Schmidt looks to keep his charges wrapped up in cotton wool, as well as keeping expectations from the public at an acceptable level. There is a plausible, if hopeful, argument that Schmidt’s attacking playbook has been kept under wraps in Ireland’s four warm-up games as he looks to hold back the big tricks for Pool D clashes with Italy and France and whatever the group may hold.

One would have to surmise that Ireland will do away with the Canada and Romania in games one and two and then have too much firepower for an Italy side that are lacking an edge in attack and have a pack that tend to cough up too many penalties in kickable areas.

If France also win their three opening ties it leaves a Franco-Irish clash to decide who tops the table. For the first time in history, Les Bleus have failed to beat Ireland in a World Cup cycle with Ireland chalking up home and away wins, and the sides also sharing a draw each in Dublin and Paris.

This game is shaping up to be one of the best of the tournament and it would take a hardy or foolish soul – take your pick – to bet on either side.

If Ireland lose they are almost certain to face New Zealand in the quarter-finals, who are sure to top a Pool C also containing Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia.

With zero victories against the All Blacks in the record books the odds are massively stacked against Ireland beating their illustrious opponents. And if they do manage to overcome the Kiwis they could then face the equally daunting task of taking on, most likely, the Springboks in the semis. One would have to imagine taking on the most physically powerful side in world rugby the week after tackling the game’s number one side would surely be too much too handle.

However, if Ireland account for France, then the path is far more appealing. A last-eight tie with Argentina, who Ireland have a five-match winning run against, would be followed by a potential clash with England or Australia in the semis.

The final permutations are always very hard to decipher and dark horses France or Australia could both upset all apple carts in their paths, but Ireland will know that this is their best ever chance.