Book examining the history of ‘limericks’ is launched

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Dr Michael Potter, author of the book The Curious Story of the Limerick and Mayor Kathleen Leddin who officially launched the book in the Pavilion Club at the University of Limerick. Picture: Dave Gaynor
A NEW book focusing on the history of the five-line limerick poem has been launched at the University of Limerick.

A NEW book focusing on the history of the five-line limerick poem has been launched at the University of Limerick.

Respected local historian Dr Matthew Potter has produced the book - named ‘The Curious Story of the Limerick’.

Its launch at the Pavilion in UL formed the centrepiece of the Tailteann Nua Festival.

The book looks at the history of the five-line poem, and those who have written them, from its origins in England to the present day.

It also examines where the name ‘limerick’ for the poem comes from.

Addressing an audience of more than 100 people, Dr Potter paid tribute to French poet Rolland Pauzin, who helped him create a link with W.B. Yeats and the Limerick.

“It was he who drew my attention to the possibility that W.B. Yeats might have been involved in coining the term ‘limerick’, and I would hope to expand on this. By next year, I would hope to establish beyond doubt how the limerick got its name,” he said.

The most surprising thing about the research project, Dr Potter said, was that William Shakespeare, James Joyce and Rudyard Kipling all used the limerick in their time.

Officially launching the collection, Mayor Kathleen Leddin penned her own limerick, which she read:

“Limericks have brought us together today,

Their curious story and the tales they convey,

Researched by an academic named Potter,

And compiled so neatly on a jotter,

This final line is typically cliché.”

The mayor added: “Dr Potter has set out to associate an established literary form with Limerick in the same way as Shakespeare is associated with Stratford, Joyce is linked with Dublin and satirical comedy is occasionally coupled with Irish politics.”

Following the book launch, there was an international limericks competition, which attracted 620 entries from 16 countries.

The winner was British poet Christina Robinson, who told the story of a wood whittling woman from Worksop in Nottinghamshire.