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International Poetry Day – Is a limerick from Limerick?

Poetry is something which is embedded in Irish history.

W.B. Yeats, Eavan Boland, Patrick Kavanagh are just some Irish poets who are world-renowned for their writing skills.

On the 21st of March every year, people around the world celebrate poetry and its ability to captivate minds, convey emotions and tell stories.

A prominent type of poem is a ‘Limerick’; this article will investigate and try to find out whether or not it has any significance with the county.

What is a limerick and is it from Limerick?

The ‘limerick’ is the most popular form of poetry in the English language.

It is a poem consisting of five lines and is usually of a humorous nature, with some even being quite crude.

They share a name, but is there any connection with this type of poetry and the treaty county?

Prior to the 2013 publication of ‘The Curious Story of Limerick’ by Matthew Potter, the link between Limerick the county and limerick the poem had never been properly explored.

Dr. Matthew Potter is Curator of Limerick Museum and one of his main aims when writing the book was to ‘create an awareness of the connection between the place and the poem so that Limerick could establish itself internationally as one of the few places that gave its name to a literary form.’

So while there are major speculations that indeed the limerick takes its name from the county it is almost impossible to be certain.

However, with that being said there is no shortage of ideas with how it got his name.

Poetry in Limerick

There is no shortage of creative writing talent in Limerick and a fine example of that is the talent which comes from the members of the Limerick Writing Centre.

As it says on their website the Limerick Writing Centre ‘aims to provide the highest caliber of artistic development, support, and community for writers in the Limerick region and beyond.’

The Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition, which is facilitated by the Limerick Writing Centre is currently open for applications until the 24th of March.

The competition is in honour of Limerick poet Desmond O’Grady and was first made in 2012 but was brought back by The Limerick Writers’ Centre as part of the April is Poetry Month in Limerick 2019 festival.

The first prize is 200 euro with a runner up prize of 50 euro.

The winner of the 2021 competition will be announced in April of this year and will be invited to give a reading of his/her work during the 2022 festival.

Also during the ‘April is Poetry Month in Limerick 2019’ festival, the Limerick Writing Centre received over 10 A4 pages of submissions which where then compiled and turned into one poem titled: Limerick Is.

The poem that aimed to encapsulate the culture of the county is currently on display in the Mayor’s office.

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