An Irish Limerick

An Irish Limerick

On any tours of Ireland you may hear of a Limerick or actually listen to one. Some of the books of Limericks are real hidden gems and great fun.

A Limerick is a  short, humorous, often nonsensical verse of five lines that have a particular pattern of rhyme (aabba) and a rhythm.

Lines 1, 2, and 5 are of three feet and ryhme , and lines 3 and 4 are of two feet and rhyme.

The rhythm is anapestic.

Generally , a person or situation is being lampooned , often in a bawdy or irreverent way. 

How this poetic originated and how it came to be named after Limerick , the city and county in Ireland , remains a mystery.

Local lore has it that the 18th century Irish poet and Limerick native Andreas McGrath composed in this five-line meter , which was based on an ancient Irish verse form.

Another theory is that the limerick was first invented in the 18th century by a Limerick student at Trinity College who composed witty ditties in classical Greek and Latin to poke fun at his fellow students and teachers. The practice became a fad on campus and eventually limericks were being composed in English also.

The limerick is also said to have originated from a folk song in which the refrain is “Will you come up to Limerick?” as each listener contributed an impromptu verse. Supposedly , in the 18th century , a member of the Irish Brigade returning from France brought back this song.

Edward Lear popularized this form of light verse with the publication of his “Book of Nonsense” in 1846

Great fun to listen to , or even write  !!!!, on any Ireland tours.