Apart from some efforts to convert the Jews to Christianity, their small community was left in peace. Daniel O'Connell, the great Irish political leader of the first half of the nineteenth century, was able to say of the Jews: 'Ireland has claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by any one act of persecution of the Jews'. He supported with enthusiasm the efforts of the Jews to attain full civil rights within the United Kingdom. In 1846 an obsolete statute which prescribed a special dress for Jews was formally repealed by the British Parliament on the insistence of O'Connell.
For their part, the Jews in Ireland and internationally played a part out of proportion to their numbers in helping to relieve the general distress during the Great Famine. In the original subscription list of the British Association for the Relief of Famine, preserved in the National Library in Dublin, Queen Victoria heads the list with a gift of Â£2,000 followed by the Jewish financier Baron Lionel de Rothschild's Â£1,000. A Dublin newspaper, commenting in 1850 on the Baron's generosity, made the point that he and his family had contributed during the Irish famine of 1847 ... a sum far beyond the joint contributions of the Devonshires, and Herefords, Lansdownes, Fitzwilliams and Herberts, who annually drew so many times that amount from their Irish estates.' In 1880 when a new appeal for help for Ireland was directed at America, the Irish Relief Fund and the Irish Famine Fund was liberally supported by American Jews.