There was an old man from Peru,The most famous collection of limericks is Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense (1846).
Who dreamed he was eating his shoe.
He woke in a fright
In the middle of the night
And found it was perfectly true.
See L. Reed, The Complete Limerick Book (1925); C. P. Aiken, A Seizure of Limericks (1964); V. B. Holland, An Explosion of Limericks (1967); W. S. Baring-Gould, The Lure of the Limerick (1967).
Popular form of short, humorous verse, often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, and the dominant metre is anapestic, with two feet in the third and fourth lines and three feet in the others. The origin of the term is obscure, but a group of poets in County Limerick, Ire., wrote limericks in Irish in the 18th century. The first collections in English date from circa 1820. Among the most famous are those in Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense (1846).
Learn more about limerick with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Luimneach originally referred to the general area along the banks of the Shannon Estuary, which was known as Loch Luimnigh. The earliest settlement in the city Inis Sibhtonn was the original name in the annals for King's Island during the pre-Viking and Viking eras. This island was also called Inis an Ghaill Duibh.
The city itself dates from at least the Viking settlement in 812. The Normans redesigned the city in the 12th century and added much of the most notable architecture, such as King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral. During the civil wars of the 17th century, the city played a pivotal role, besieged by Oliver Cromwell in 1651 and twice by the Williamites in the 1690s. Limerick grew rich through trade in the late 18th century, but the Act of Union in 1800, and the famine caused a crippling economic decline broken only by the so-called Celtic Tiger in the 1990s.
The Waterford and Limerick Railway linked the city to the Dublin-Cork main line in 1848 and to Waterford in 1853. The opening of a number of secondary railways in the 1850s and 1860s developed Limerick as a regional centre of communications.
Limerick is at the centre of the Midwest region which contributes €8.224 billion (2002) towards Irish GDP. It is situated 195 km west of Dublin and is equidistant at 105 km from the cities of Cork to the south and Galway to the north.
Limerick is the fourth most populous city in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin, Cork and Galway (though its urban area population is greater than Galway's) and the city including suburbs is the fifth largest urban area on the island of Ireland (after Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry Respectively).
The boundaries of the city were extended on March 1, 2008, when the Limerick City Boundary Alteration Order 2008 came into effect. This followed demands from city councillors for a redrawing of the boundary, which was deemed antiquated and inaccurate for modern-day Limerick. The order added an area of approximately 1,020 hectares from County Limerick, increasing the city's area by almost 50% and increasing the population by an estimated 7,000 persons. The added area comprises the townlands of Clonmacken, Caherdavin, Knock, Shanabooley, Ballygrennan, Clonconane, Clondrinagh, Coonagh East and Coonagh West. The previous boundary, encompassing 2,086 hectares, was delineated in 1950.
A large proportion of what is considered as the population of Limerick City now live in suburbs built after the 1960s which remain in the Limerick County Council administrative area. These include Dooradoyle, Castletroy — including the University, Gouldavoher, and Raheen.
For national Dáil elections Limerick City is included in the Limerick East constituency which elects five members on a Proportional Representation (PR) system. For European parliament elections Limerick is included in the South Ireland constituency which elects three representatives.
Two of Limerick East's TDs are members of the current Irish Government. Willie O'Dea is the Minister for Defence and Peter Power is the Minster of State for Overseas Aid. Both are members of the Fianna Fail party.
Limerick is at the heart of the region dubbed "the Midwest". Also known as the "Shannon Region", this is primarily an economic and social concept. The region encompasses County Limerick, County Clare, North County Tipperary and Northwest County Kerry, with its focal point centred on Limerick and its environs within an eight kilometre (5 mile) radius.
The area is possibly the main economic region outside of Dublin and Cork. Its economic success has been driven in part by the University of Limerick, Shannon Airport in Co. Clare and Shannon Development (an economic development agency), whose precursor was SFADCO (Shannon Free Airport Development Company), an economic agency that provided tax incentives to companies locating in the area surrounding Shannon Airport. As of 2006 Shannon Development are mostly concerned with disposing of valuable industrial park properties.
Historically Limerick was an agricultural commodity-driven economy, due to its position as the first major port along the River Shannon. The city was one of the main meat processing areas in Ireland, and industry included confectionery and flour production. In line with the changing economic landscape in Ireland, many multinational companies are now based in Limerick. Dell have their main European Manufacturing Facility in Raheen Business Park, and are one of the largest employers in the midwest region. The facility is the largest Dell manufacturing plant outside the United States and currently produces 30,000-60,000 units per day for export to the EMEA - contributing 5.8% of Irish GDP (2002). Analog Devices have their European manufacturing base also in Raheen, 3 km south-west of the city centre. The site employs more than 1,000 people. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Vistakon (the world's largest manufacturer of contact lenses) also have a large facility in Castletroy in the National Technology Park. It is Vistakon's only production facility outside the United States and one of the largest contact lens manufacturing plants in the world.
Tourist attractions in the city centre include King John's Castle (1212), St. Mary's Cathedral, Limerick (1168), Hunt Museum, several (seasonal) tours (Angela's Ashes walking tour of Limerick City, The historical walking tour of Limerick and Boat tours along the River Shannon), the University of Limerick, Georgian house and gardens, Treaty Stone, and more. Adare village and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum (all on the outskirts of the city) are also popular attractions.
The Jim Kemmy Municipal Museum, also known as Limerick Museum, is to be found next to King John's Castle. It contains displays on Limerick's history and manufactures.
The service industry is an important employer in the city. The city centre is one of the main shopping areas, with the pedestrianised Cruises Street being one of the main shopping streets and the soon to be finished Bedford Row. New on the agenda is the proposed predestranisation of O'Connell Street up to Roches St near the Oriental Foodstore and a new look for William St, the heart of Limerick City. Each side of the city has outlying shopping areas. Crescent Shopping Centre is located in Dooradoyle, not far from the city centre. It features over 90 shopping outlets along with various restaurants and the 12 screen Omniplex Cinema. Regular bus services run from the city centre to the Crescent Shopping Centre. The Jetland Shopping Centre, is located in Caherdavin. It opened in 2005. Its main anchor is Dunnes Stores, with many other shops and services available including Golden Discs and Costa Coffee
In late 2007/early 2008, Coonagh Cross Shopping Centre will be opened. It will be the biggest shopping centre in the Mid-West region. A city-centre shopping centre of a similar scale (billed in some places as prospectively the biggest in Munster) is also planned. The Opera Centre would be located parallel to Rutland and Patrick Street, from the (Abbey River) quays to Ellen Street. This will be the first major leap of faith by external developers in Limerick City Centre as up to now the city has been all but passed over leaving the majority of development to locals. The proposed redevelopment of the entire Arthur's Quay Area, New Docklands twinned with a newly vibrant night economy helped in no small way by international tourists using Budget Flights from Shannon Airport.
Limerick City has a vibrant nightlife, with numerous nightclubs; Trinity Rooms probably being the best known nationally with acts like the Human League, The Blizzards Femi Kuti and Roger Sanchez having played there in the last year. Pubs such as Nancy Blakes, The Wicked Chicken, Mickey Martins and The Old Quarter give a range of drinking experiences from the warm and cosy to cutting edge. Traditional Irish Music is based around Dolans Warehouse which is firmly established on the national Trad circuit and also hosts many local, national and international folk, indie, jazz and rock acts.
The city centre is divided between the traditional areas of "English Town" on the southern end of King's Island, which includes the castle, "Irish Town" which includes the older streets on the south bank, and the current economic centre called "Newtown Pery". Newtown Pery was built in the late 18th century before the Act of Union and, unusually for an Irish city and unique in Limerick itself, this area is laid out on a grid plan. Limerick city centre is changing rapidly, with the construction of several modern high-rise buildings in the early-2000s. The suburban regions, where the majority of the population now live, have grown out from the centre along the main roads to Ennis (North Circular and Ennis Road areas/Caherdavin), Dublin (Castletroy and the University) and Cork (Ballinacurra/Dooradoyle/Raheen). Suburban houses are generally two floor semi-detached homes for single families. These were built from the 1960s onwards in large estates by government projects and commercial developments, although there are many examples of Edwardian and older 1930s suburban homes on the main suburban thoroughfares leading towards the city (North & South Circular, Ballinacurra Road, O'Connell Avenue).
Much Georgian architecture was evident in the city from about the 1800s onwards. Although some has since been demolished, much of the Newtown Pery area is built in the Georgian fashion. Other architectural buildings of note in the city are King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral in English Town and St John's Cathedral, designed by the notable Victorian architect, Philip Charles Hardwick. St Mary's Cathedral, at over 800 years old, is one of the oldest in Ireland. St John's Cathedral, whilst more modern, has one of the tallest steeples.
One of Ireland's most celebrated museums, the Hunt Museum, is based in the historic 18th-century former Custom House. The museum was established to house an internationally important collection of approximately 2000 works of art and antiquities formed by John and Gertrude Hunt during their lifetimes. On display are the 9th century Antrim Cross, a sketch by Picasso and a bronze sculpture of a horse, said to be from a design by Leonardo da Vinci.
Local public transport is provided by Bus Éireann, Ireland's national bus operator. City Service Routes are as follows (frequencies shown in brackets, in minutes):
Buses also run to towns and villages in the county and to Shannon Airport. Intercity and international buses leave from the Bus Éireann bus station adjoining the City's train station. These include hourly services to Dublin, Cork and Galway and other cities, as well as a daily service to London via ferry services from Rosslare Europort.
Limerick city is served by the Limerick Suburban Rail network, consisting of three suburban rail lines, servicing the towns of Sixmilebridge(1,500), Ennis(25,000), Castleconnell(4,000), Birdhill, Nenagh(9,000) and Tipperary town (5,000).
Iarnród Éireann's Colbert Station is the terminus for frequent services to Dublin and Cork (serving many intermediate stations), a frequent all-day commuter service to Ennis, as well as a three-times daily service to Waterford and stations in County Tipperary. Services to and from Nenagh on the Ballybrophy line will be expanded to include commuter service from 2007. There are also plans to reopen the Western Railway Corridor from Ennis to Galway and Sligo, closed in the 1970s. In February 2006 it was announced that regular services between Limerick and Galway will be restored in 2007. There are also plans to reopen Sixmilebridge station shortly after. Many rail services include a changeover at Limerick Junction. The Railway Procurement Agency has suggested that a tram system should be built in the city.
As part of their 2007 election manifesto (announced in April 2007), Fianna Fáil (currently the largest party in the Dáil and the Seanad) have announced they will conduct feasibility studies for bringing light rail systems to the Republic of Ireland's 'provincial cities' - Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.
Technical and continuation education within the City traces its beginning back to the formation of the Limerick Athenaeum Society in 1852. The Society's aims included "the promotion of Literature, Science, Art and Music".
The University of Limerick (UL), has a student population of over 13,000, and is situated about 5 km northeast of the city centre in the suburb of Castletroy. It was originally established as the National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) in 1972 and became the first University to be established since the foundation of the State in 1922. It is notable for its programs of engineering, information technology, materials science, sports science, humanities, social sciences and music. In 2007, the university opened a medical school. The Irish World Music Centre specialises in traditional music and dance, and UL is host to the Irish Chamber Orchestra. The campus includes a 50m Olympic-standard swimming complex, the first in Ireland.
Mary Immaculate College, Limerick (a constituent college of the University of Limerick), is an education and arts college situated just south-west of the city centre. Thomond College of Education, Limerick was a successful teacher training college (for secondary level) and was integrated into the university in 1991.
Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has a student population of 6,500 and is a centre for business, engineering, information technology, humanities, science and art education. The main campus is located at Moylish Park, about 3 kilometres north-west of the city centre, while the Limerick School of Art and Design is based in the city centre. The college was originally established as the Limerick College of Art, Commerce & Technology (CoACT) in the mid 1970s and was upgraded to a Regional Technical College (RTC) in 1993 and finally an Institute of Technology in 1997. LIT has a strong sporting ethos, which is not surprising given its location adjacent to Thomond Park and the Gaelic Grounds. It also houses the Millennium Theatre a popular northside venue for shows and concerts.
The Model School (An Mhodh Scoil) is one of the gaelscoils in Limerick. It is primary and has over 500 students. It is over 150 years old, and is the only school in Munster with the educlick education system.
Limerick's only student radio station, Wired FM, broadcasts on 96.8FM from Mary Immaculate College. Wired FM also has studios in the University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology.
Limerick Regional Hospital also has a radio station on 94.2FM but this can only be heard in the hospital and surrounding area.
The national broadcaster, RTE have radio studios in the City Centre, which are periodically used to broadcast programming from Limerick.
The Belltable Arts Centre on O'Connell Street is host for local playwriting and drama. Mike Finn's numerous plays have been successful, including Pigtown, set around a century of the city's history, and Shock and Awe, an energetic retelling of Homer's Iliad. The new University Concert Hall provides a large venue for national and international acts to visit the city.
The Limerick City Art Gallery on Pery Square is the city’s chief venue for contemporary art exhibitions. It also is home to a permanent collection of Irish art which shows works from the early 18th to 20th century. Limerick's major contemporary art event is EV+A (Exhibition of Visual+ Art) which invades the city annually, often in controversial ways. Established in 1977 EV+A has become one of Ireland's premier annual exhibitions of contemporary art. Selected each year by a new curator, it brings International artworks as well as art by Irish artists to Limerick. The centre of the exhibition is the Limerick City Art Gallery. However, EV+A generally uses numerous other venues throughout the city.
Other active Limerick arts groups include Contact Studios (who provide individual studio spaces for visual artists), the Daghdha Dance Company (a contemporary dance company who have adopted a renovated church in John's Square, adjacent to St. John's Cathedral, as a performance space), the Fresh Film Festival which is held each spring, includes films made by young people (7-18 years) from all over Ireland, Impact Theatre Company and Limerick Printmakers(who provide printmaking facilities and a venue for exhibitions and events).Also of note is the Limerick Youth Theatre which provides young people with an opening into acting and production. It received attention in the national media with its 2005 production of Romeo and Juliet which made comparisons between the ongoing feud in the city with that of the Montague's and the Capulet's in the play.
The city has an active music scene, which has produced bands such as The Cranberries (and guitarist Noel Hogans' MonoBand), The Hitchers and many more. Also of note is that world renowned electronic musician Richard D. James (more commonly known as Aphex Twin) was born in Limerick in 1971. More classically, The Limerick Art Gallery and the Art College cater for painting, sculpture and performance art of all styles. The Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Irish World Music Centre are both based in the University of Limerick. The University has a one-thousand seat state-of-the-art concert hall that frequently hosts visiting performers. Limerick is also home to comedians D'Unbelievables (Pat Shortt & Jon Kenny), Jimmy Carr , Karl Spain and The Rubberbandits. Dolans Warehouse on the Dock Road has two venues specialising in live music; an upstairs venue which tends to accommodate comedians and folk and jazz acts, and a much larger warehouse venue holding 400, which tends to stage more popular (usually rock) acts, both national and international. Dance music is catered for at Baker Place which holds mainly local underground nights and Trinity Rooms which has recently hosted Groove Armada, Dj Yoda and Jazzy Jeff.
The city served as the setting for Frank McCourt's memoir Angela's Ashes and for the film adaptation of the same name. It is also the setting for the contemporary coming-of-age drama, Cowboys & Angels, as well as Robert Cunningham's Somebody's Daughter - which was shot in various locations around the city and had its premiere in King Johns Castle in July 2004.
At schools level St. Munchin's College, Corbally, is one of the stronger schools for rugby in recent times. Winning its first title in the Munster Schools Senior Cup in 1968, it has won the Cup four times subsequently. It also has three titles at junior level. Munchin's has been particularly strong in recent years and many former pupils have gone on to play at international level, including Bill O'Connell, Bill Mulcahy, Larry Moloney, Colm Tucker (also a Lion), John Fitzgerald, Paul Hogan, Philip Danaher (also Irish captain), Anthony Foley (also Irish captain), Keith Wood (also a Lion and Irish captain) and current Irish internationals Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, Barry Murphy and Jeremy Staunton. Crescent College S.J. is another of Limerick's schools with a strong rugby tradition. This school has been run by the Jesuit order since 1859, and in common with its sister Colleges of Belvedere and Clongowes, Crescent has produced a number of Irish international rugby players including the Wallace brothers, Pat Whelan and Peter Clohessy. Crescent is one of the 'big five' rugby schools in Munster, winning the Munster Schools Senior Cup for the first time in 1947 and nine times subsequently, as well as five titles at junior level. The school is also affiliated to Old Crescent RFC. Other newer schools in Limerick which are at developmental stage include Ardscoil Rís, which produced the Ireland and Munster lock, Paul O'Connell. Ardscoil have reached the final at senior level in 1993 and 1996, and have won the Munster Junior Cup twice (in 2003 and 2005); meanwhile, Castletroy College reached their first Munster Junior Cup final in 2007 after only seven years being open. The following year they achieved the double with both Junior and Senior teams winning the respective tournaments for the first time in the school's history.
All Munster European Heineken Cup matches are now played at Thomond Park in Limerick, where the Munster team held a record of being unbeaten in the Heineken Cup for 26 consecutive games, until the 16-9 defeat by Leicester in January 2007. No other team in the competition has such a home record. Munster won the Heineken Cup in 2006, under the leadership of Limerickman Anthony Foley, who also played on the Irish international team. Munster also recorded a famous victory against the touring New Zealand All Blacks team in 1978 at Thomond Park.
Ireland's national sports of Hurling and Gaelic football are widely played in the city and its surrounding suburbs. Although Limerick has not won the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship since 1973, it reached the finals in 1974, 1980, 1994, 1996 and 2007 and is considered one of the top eight teams in the game. The county won successive All-Ireland Under-21 titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. City-based clubs Claughaun (Clochán) and Na Piarsaigh play at senior level, Monaleen (Móin a'Lín) and Mungret (Mungairit) at intermediate level and Old Christians (Sean-Chriostaithe), Milford (Áth an Mhuilinn), Saint Patrick's (Naomh Pádraig), Abbey Sarsfields (Sáirséalaigh na Mainstreach) and Crecora (Craobh Chumhra) at junior level.
Limerick won the first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1887 when represented by the city's Commercials club and repeated the feat in 1896. Since then, the game has lived mostly in the shadow of hurling but a resurgence in 2000 saw the county win its first Munster under-21 title and lose the 2004 Munster senior final after a replay. Monaleen (Móin a'Lín), Claughaun (Clochán) and Mungret (Mungairit) are senior clubs, Saint Patrick's (Naomh Pádraig) and Na Piarsaigh are intermediate and Milford (Áth an Mhuilinn), Abbey Sarsfields (Sáirséalaigh na Mainstreach) and Ballinacurra Gaels (Gaeil Bhaile na Cora) play at junior level.
Limerick's Gaelic Grounds (Pairc na nGael) on the Ennis Road is the county team's home venue for both sports and has a current capacity of 50,000 following its reconstruction in 2004. In 1961, it hosted Ireland's biggest ever crowd for a sporting event outside of Croke Park when over 61,000 paid in to see the Munster hurling final between Tipperary and Cork.
Limerick has a mild climate, with the average daily maximum in July at 20°C (68°F) and the average daily minimum in January at 4°C (39°F). The highest temperature recorded in the city was 31.6°C (88.88°F) in 1995, and the lowest was -11.2°C (11.84°F).
|Average daily maximum temperature (°C)||8||9||11||13||16||18||20||20||18||14||11||9||14|
|Average daily minimum temperature (°C)||4||4||5||6||8||11||13||13||11||9||6||5||8|
|Mean total rainfall (cm)||7.64||7.15||5.58||5.08||4.18||5.21||5.03||5.68||5.08||7.79||6.53||7.55||72.50|
|Source: MSN Weather|
A March 11th 2008 article in The Irish Times suggested that violent crime rates in Limerick are higher than elsewhere in the country.
Recent years have seen serious crimes in Limerick being linked with feuds between criminal gangs within certain areas of the city, mainly Moyross, Southill and St. Mary's Park. Arguably, this rivalry was precipitated by the murder of alleged gang member Eddie Ryan in November 2000, in a public house in the Johnsgate area of the city.
Despite a relative lull in gang violence between 2004 and the first half of 2006 in Limerick's housing estates, the problem seems to have escalated again in September 2006, with two children suffering extensive burns in the torching of their mother's car in early September, and a series of apparently retaliatory attacks including a drive-by shooting later that month.
Recently the government appointed Mr. John Fitzgerald (retired Dublin City Manager) to carry out a speedy and comprehensive investigation of issues prevailing in Moyross and other parts of Limerick City and to make recommendations directly to the Government's Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion. Mr. Fitzgerald reported back in early April 2007 and his recommendations were fully endorsed and approved by the Cabinet. A key element of the approved recommendations was the creation of two new special purpose Government Agencies for the Southside and Northside of Limerick City and these Agencies were established by Government Order dated 15th June 2007.