Bethel Solomons

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Bethel Solomons
Birth nameBethel Albert Herbert Solomons
Date of birth(1885-02-27)27 February 1885
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
Date of death11 September 1965(1965-09-11) (aged 80)
Place of deathWandsworth, England
SchoolSt. Andrews College, Dublin
UniversityTrinity College, Dublin
Rugby union career
Position(s) Forward
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Dublin University
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1908–10 Ireland 10 (0)

Bethel Albert Herbert Solomons (27 February 1885 – 11 September 1965),[1][2] born into a prominent Jewish family, was an Irish medical doctor and an international rugby player for Ireland and supporter of the 1916 Rising.

Early life[edit]

Bethel Albert Herbert Solomons born in Dublin, Ireland, to a prominent Jewish family, one of the oldest continuous Jewish families in Ireland. The Solomons came over to Ireland from England in 1824. Bethel Solomons was the son of Maurice Solomons (1832–1922), an optician whose practice is mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses.[nb 1] His grandmother Rosa Jacobs Solomons (1833–1926) was born in Hull in England.

Bethel's elder brother Edwin (1879–1964) was a stockbroker and prominent member of the Dublin Jewish community. His sister Estella Solomons (1882–1968) was a leading artist, and a member of Cumann na mBan during the 1916 rising; she married poet and publisher Seamus O'Sullivan.[4] His younger sister Sophie was a trained opera singer.


Solomons attended St. Andrews School in Dublin where he was very interested in rugby; He earned 10 international rugby caps for Ireland (1908–1910).[5]

He studied medicine in Trinity College, Dublin,[2] became a medical doctor, and was Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin from 1926 to 1933. He served as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) in the late 1940s and he practiced from No. 30 Lr. Baggot Street.

In a biography of Solomons he was described as "World famous obstetrician & gynaecologist, Rugby international, horseman, leader of Liberal Jewry & of Irish literary & artistic renaissance."[6]

Personal life[edit]

He married Gertrude Levy in the liberal synagogue in London in 1916.[citation needed] His second son, Dr Michael Solomons (1919–2007) was a distinguished gynaecologist, a pioneer of family planning in Ireland, and a veteran of the bitter and divisive 1983 constitutional amendment campaign.[7]

He was a friend of the founder of Sinn Féin and TD, Arthur Griffith.[citation needed] Solomons contributed to the purchase of a house for Griffith. Solomons was a founding member and the first president of the Liberal Synagogue in Dublin.[citation needed]

Solomon was an art collector, including the works of Jean Cooke.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maurice Solomons (1832–1922), an optician whose practice in 19 Nassau Street in Dublin is mentioned in James Joyce's Ulysses: "Striding past Finn's hotel Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell stared through a fierce eyeglass across the carriages at the head of Mr M. E. Solomons in the window of the Austro-Hungarian viceconsulate."[3]


  • Encyclopedia Judaica, Second Edition, volume 19, p146
  • Goodwin, Terry The Complete Who's Who of International Rugby (Blandford Press, England, 1987, ISBN 0-7137-1838-2)
  1. ^ Bethel Solomons player profile
  2. ^ a b Goodwin, p377
  3. ^ "ulys10.htm". Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  4. ^ Jews in Twentieth-century Ireland, by Dermot Keogh
  5. ^ Edmund van Esbeck: The Story of Irish Rugby, Stanly Paul, 1986. p. 253
  6. ^ Bethal Solomons One Doctor in His Time, by Christopher Johnson, Marion Pitman Books (London 1956)
  7. ^ Dr. Michael Solomons, Obituary, Irish Times, December 1, 2007
  8. ^ "Jean Cooke: Painter of wit and subtlety". The Independent. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2014.