If you have spent any time with us, you already know that famous limericks date back to the 14th century, were passed down by word of mouth, were a source of merriment in drinking establishments in Ireland and other parts of Europe, etc. etc.
As with many other Irish sayings, limericks were frequently used to shine a humorous light on difficult or uncomfortable topics.
If you would like to know more about these witty little poems and where they came from, visit our section on Irish limericks.
In the meantime, let's have a look at some of the most famous of them!
Many of the older limericks are very simple and straightforward with the subject of the first line basically repeated in the last line. While they aren't necessarily the most creative examples, they are easy to remember (and easy to create!)
There was an Old Man of Kilkenny
Who never had more than a penny
He spent all that money
In onions and honey
That wayward old man of Kilkenny.
There was an old person of Down
Whose face was adorned with a frown
When he opened the door, for one minute or more
He alarmed all the people of Down.
There was an Old Derry down Derry
Who loved to see little folks merry
So he made them a book
And with laughter they shook
At the fun of that Derry down Derry.
There was an old person of Dundalk
Who tried to teach fishes to walk
When they tumbled down dead, he grew weary, and said
“I had better go back to Dundalk!”
There was a young man of Killarney
Who was chock full of what is called blarney
He would sit on a stile
And tell lies by the mile
Would this dreadful young man of Killarney.
The next level of quality in a limerick (in our humble opinion) is the one where the subject of the first and the last line are DIFFERENT, but related in a clever way. Here are a few examples:
There once was a young man named Sean
Whose wish came from a sly leprechaun
To be surrounded by dough
Was what he wanted so
In six months he was born as a fawn.
A man while drinking Light Bud
Crashed his car with a sickening thud
The car that he hit
Had a warlock in it
Now he lives as a frog in the mud.
Finally, our favorite famous limericks combine the core structure of these little poems, with a creative approach and an irreverent attitude. Have a look a these:
You’ve conquered the aging disease
That brings lesser men to their knees
You’re a vigorous man
And you’ve proved you still can
Blow your candles with only one wheeze.
I am sorry to hear, Smiling Jill,
That your birthday’s no longer a thrill
All your friends think you’re great
And should still celebrate-
You’re not old, you’re just over the hill.
You've come to the right place!
We have many, many more examples - and you can gain access to all of them in our section on Irish Limerick Poems.
There you will find hundreds of examples of limericks organized into useful categories, making it simple to find what you are looking for.
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