Rhyming Like an Irishman (An Introduction to Limericks)


A limerick is a quintessentially Irish poem with five lines and strict rhyming rules. Named for the Irish town of Limerick, this centuries’ old art form was probably first practiced in the 1700s by Irish soldiers on their return home to Limerick.

Each limerick must contain one couplet – a two-line rhyme – and one triplet – a three-lined rhyme. The first, second and fifth lines of a limerick must have three rhyming beats each, while the third and forth lines utilize two rhyming beats. Limericks are also intended to be humorous, featuring plays on word, hyperbole, puns and onomatopoeia. The last line of a limerick is the “punch line”.

Do you fancy yourself a funny man (or woman)? Then try your hand at writing and reciting your own limerick.

If originality isn’t your strong suit, you can recite one of thelimericks below .

Either way, the perfect time to try out a limerick is St. Patty’s Day, the March holiday that has come to be a celebration of everything Irish – including the limerick.

Here are some examples of limericks:

Said an ape as he swung by his tail,
To his offspring both female and male;
“From your offspring, my dears,
In a couple of years,
May evolve a professor at Yale.”
There was an old dame from Peru,
And she dreamt she was chewing her shoe.
She woke up in the night
in a terrible fright
when she found it was perfectly true.