/lim"euhr ik/, n.
a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.
[1895-1900; after LIMERICK; allegedly from social gatherings where the group sang "Will you come up to Limerick?" after each set of verses, extemporized in turn by the members of the party]

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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 с 1820. Among the most famous are those in Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense (1846).

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Irish  Luimneach (“Bare Land”) 
 county borough, port, and chief town of County Limerick, west-central Ireland, occupying both banks and King's Island of the River Shannon (Shannon, River) at the head of its estuary.

 Under the Local Government Act of 1888, Limerick became a county borough with a city council. The city is divided into English Town (on King's Island), Irish Town, and Newtown Pery (founded 1769), the first including the ancient nucleus of the city and the last, the principal modern streets. The main stream of the Shannon is crossed by the Thomond and the Sarsfield, or Wellesley, bridges. The now-Protestant cathedral of St. Mary was originally built in 1142–80. The modern Roman Catholic cathedral of St. John, built in the mid-19th century, is in Early Pointed style. Communication with the Atlantic Ocean is open, while inland navigation is facilitated by a canal. Quays extend on each side of the river, along which lie a graving (dry) dock and a wet dock.

 The Norse sacked an early settlement in the early 9th century. In 922 they established it as a principal town of their kingdom of Limerick, using the settlement to attack monasteries; they were expelled at the end of the 10th century by the Irish hero Brian Boru (Brian). From 1106 to 1174 it was the seat of the kings of Thomond, or North Munster. Richard I granted it a charter in 1197. King John (reigned 1199–1216) granted it to William de Burgh, who founded English Town and erected King John's Castle. In the 15th century its fortifications were extended to include Irish Town, and it became one of the strongest fortresses of the kingdom. In 1609 Limerick received a charter that made the city a county and also incorporated a society of merchants. After William III's unsuccessful siege in 1691, resistance was ended by the Treaty of Limerick. Perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Limerick is the limestone Treaty Stone, on which was signed the Treaty of Limerick (1691) between the supporters and opponents of William III. (Much of the stone is now spread throughout the world, particularly in Canada and the United States.) Fragments of the old walls remain.

      Agriculture and fishing have long thrived in Limerick and are among its chief exports. Limerick is the centre of the Shannon salmon fisheries. Other industries include electronics and computers. Limerick benefitted from the establishment of the nearby Shannon hydroelectric power station. From 1829 the city became known for the production of Limerick lace, an embroidered machine-made net that is similar in appearance to true lace. Tourism also provides an important source of revenue. The University of Limerick (originally the National Institute for Higher Education at Limerick) was founded in 1972. The Hunt Museum houses Christian art and archaeological artifacts and includes works by Leonardo da Vinci and Jean Renoir (Renoir, Jean), and the Limerick City Gallery of Art exhibits Irish art since the 18th century. The city has long been associated with the short, humorous verse form known as a limerick, whose name some have suggested derives from the chorus of the 18th-century Irish soldiers' song "Will You Come Up to Limerick?" Sports, particularly rugby (the city considers itself the rugby capital of Ireland), are popular. Pop. (2002) 54,023; (2006) 52,539.

Irish  Luimneach 
 county, southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster. Its northern boundary, with County Clare, is the River Shannon (Shannon, River) and its estuary. The River Maigue bisects the county and flows north into the Shannon. On the west the boundary with County Kerry runs through plateaus 1,000–2,000 feet high (300–600 metres). On the east the boundary with Tipperary runs from the Shannon to Slievefelim (1,524 feet [465 metres]), then across the Golden Vale southward to the Galtee mountains to the summit of Galtymore (3,018 feet [920 metres]). The southern boundary, with Cork, follows the Ballyhoura Hills, a continuation of the line of the Galtees. Lowland Limerick is mainly a rolling landscape with a variety of glacial drifts diversified by hills, including a number of isolated volcanic hills. The peat bog that formerly covered parts of the lowland has been largely removed, and pastoral farming dominates. The farms are about 50–80 acres (20–32 hectares) in size. There are remains of round towers at Ardpatrick and Dysert, of prehistoric monuments at Lough Gur, and of numerous monasteries in the city of Limerick and elsewhere.

 A county council meets at Limerick, and there is a county manager; administratively independent Limerick city is a county borough. Excluding the city of Limerick, about half of the county's population live in towns and villages. The largest town in the west of Ireland, Limerick is a distributing centre for an area far wider than the county, but the county's many villages are mainly shopping centres and have fairs. Much of Limerick lies within the Golden Vale, famed for its rich pastures and dairy products. In many areas almost all the land is under grass and hay, for the main wealth lies in the dairy herds. Pigs are raised, and bacon curing is an old industry of Limerick city. Manufacturing is important, with many multinational corporations located in the county. Manufactures include aluminum castings, automotive parts, concrete pipes, and office equipment. Although County Limerick was not a traditional tourist destination, because the county is served by the international airport in Shannon, tourism became increasingly important at the end of the 20th century.

      During the 9th century the area of the modern county was settled by the Norse. In the early 13th century, King John of England established Limerick as a county. The county is the site of various medieval churches, and the Hunt Museum exhibits a fine collection of European and Irish religious art. Area excluding Limerick county borough, 1,056 square miles (2,735 square km). Pop. (2002) excluding Limerick county borough, 121,281; (2006) excluding Limerick county borough, 131,516.

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Universalium. 2010.

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