Irish Limericks are a form of simple poetry with a long, proud history. While the basic form dates far back as far the 12th century in other European countries, the Irish version found its stride in drinking establishments in the late 18th century.
Today we use Limericks to spice up a variety of occasions including birthdays, holiday parties, weddings, retirement parties, and yes - the basic pub crawl.
Check out some of our favorite Limericks below, and don't miss the links at the bottom of this page for many fun variations of this popular poetry.
Answer: They are short, bright, typically humorous poems, presumably named after the Irish town by the same name.
Every limerick poem contains five lines. The first, second and fifth line all have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.
The third and fourth lines contain five to seven syllables and rhyme with each other. Since limericks are short and simple, they are easy to make up, and easy to remember!
While it is possible to find much funnier limericks out there (and we have many of them at Irish-Expressions.com!), these give good idea of what a classic Irish limerick sounds like:
“There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'
There was an Old Man of
Who lived upon Tincture of Senna;
When that did not agree,
He took Camomile Tea,
That nasty Old Man of Vienna.
These can be written in customized greeting cards, or read for entertainment during your next St Patricks Day party!
There once was a young man
Whose wish of a sly leprechaun,
Was to be surrounded by dough,
And thus it was so,
In six months he was born as a fawn.
A man, while drinking Light
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.
Limericks are a great way to entertain at a birthday party, because they can put the idea of aging in a more humorous light:
You've conquered the aging disease
that brings lesser folk 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.
... and yes, we have a whole section on Funny Birthday Limericks. Have a look!
While getting married is a
wonderful and joyous occasion, it can be nerve-wracking as well!
Limerick poems can lighten the mood during wedding showers, rehearsal dinners and receptions:
The bride gave the answer: "I do!
he's lovable, handsome and true!"
Six girls in the pews
all yelled out "I do's"
and the flower girl cried: "I do too!"
A terrible grimace of doom
was there on the face of the groom
"I'm feeling quite miffed -
for my wedding gift
she gave me a mop and a broom!"
An Irish limerick doesn't have to be perfect to be funny!. Try writing your own or find several examples on the Internet to use for different types of occasions. Perhaps at your next party, try reciting a limerick or two, make it into a contest or tradition.
And if you would like to know more about limerick poems and where they came from, check out our bonus article on how to write a limerick here!
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