The People’s Poem for Limerick


IN THE footsteps of Frank McCourt, Limerick writers are known for the talents when putting pen to paper.

And this time, the city itself was the subject of inspiration in a poem written by Limerick people and made up of words, phrases and lines submitted during the Limerick Writers’ Centre’s recent poetry festival. The result was unveiled and presented to the Mayor of Limerick.

The poem called ‘Limerick Is’ was unveiled at a ceremony in City Hall by John W.  Sexton, an tOllamh (Poet Laureate) for Limerick during the festival, along with members of the Limerick Writers’ Centre. After the presentation of the framed poem Sexton recited it to those present.

John W. Sexton compiled the full-length poem from over 10 A4 pages of submissions received during April this year.

John admitted that it was much harder to compile than he first imagined but was at pains to point out that every word in the poem was written by the people of Limerick.

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As well as gracing the wall of the mayor’s office the poem has also been turned into a postcard, with the help of Limerick City and County Council’s tourism unit, and 5,000 postcards will now be distributed to hotels and tourist spots in the region, where visitors can pick them up free of charge and use to send greetings from Limerick all over the world.

The project is the brainchild of the Limerick Writers’ Centre, a voluntary not for profit organisation, dedicated to promoting the literary and artistic heritage of Limerick.

Speaking at the unveiling Mr Oran Ryan from the Centre, said that there were over 1000 words, lines and phrases sent in covering every aspect of Limerick from the Treaty of Limerick to Ronan O’Gara and everything in between.

He congratulated poet John W. Sexton on his fantastic achievement of compiling the poem into a coordinated whole that is both poetic and makes sense.

“There was something very moving about a poem written by so many people, as Limerick City is made up of so many voices with so many stories to tell, the poem reflects that diversity all within one memorable poem.”

In response, Mayor Sheahan said it was “a brilliant and original idea and something he had not seen anywhere before.” He praised the Limerick Writers’ Centre for their continuing contribution to the cultural life of the city.

Limerick Is

Limerick is its streets and its rain,  its bridges in sunshine,

its castles and churches,  its steeples and spires,

its poets and dreamers,  its strays and its chancers

Limerick is chips from Donkey Ford’s

and long-skirted school girl adolescents  and a piebald sulky illicit race

Limerick is concerts in the Lime Tree and novenas in the Redemptorist Church

Limerick is a strong cup of coffee, two sugars and a Hi how’s it going?

Limerick is a High Five every time

Limerick isn’t just a five-line poem, limestone and river

Limerick is a badly spelt mirickle, Limerick is pure rapid

Limerick is the embrace of grey days on skin,

watching the sun-fall among burgundy wings

Limerick is spring, when the white mantle is banished from the tough clod

Limerick is the endless twilight of a summer’s evening

Limerick is where the roots of rugby’s roars roost in rainbow roofs

Limerick is my destination when I am a buying a return ticket

Limerick is in my mind when I am coming back from my work

Limerick is in my heart when I am asked where I am from

Limerick is the stage in the theatre of my life

Limerick is who stole your hoody but not your heart

Limerick is the lingering light of drunkenness down by the Windmill

Limerick is sometimes hectic, always Celtic,

the clash of the ash and queen of the river

Limerick is a juxtaposed jurisdiction made up of light and dark, Limerick is worried nights turning into brighter days

Limerick is an adoptive mother, Limerick is a shout of Not a Bother

Limerick is all for one and second to none

Limerick is the lasting song when all is said and done

Limerick is a mighty roar, Limerick is belly laugh from a pure core

Limerick is a loyal friend, Limerick is just a God send

Limerick is skirts and kidneys, eye bones, packet and tripe

Limerick is the Past, Limerick is the Future, Limerick is Everything