kemmy's limerick miscellany

Kemmy's Limerick Miscellany is a 423 page anthology of writing published by The Limerick Writers' Centre and edited by Denis O'Shaughnessy.

Kemmyʼs Limerick Miscellany is a continuation of the late Jim Kemmyʼs highly successful Limerick Anthology (1996) and Limerick Compendium (1997).
Editor of the Miscellany is Denis OʼShaughnessy, who has written several successful and acclaimed books on Limerick. Denis and Jim were classmates in the years of deprivation of the early 1950s, and both left secondary school shortly after starting to pursue respective trades, stone masonry and printing compositing.

Miscellany is a fitting title for this new publication, as the book, likened to Kemmyʼs Anthology and Compendium, will encompass excerpts from the writing of many diverse writers, poets and historians, novelists and journalists, local and otherwise.

Their impressions down the years of Limerick and its people, its history and lore, culture and sport, is the essence of a publication that will open pages that have long remained dormant, alongside those published in the last decade or so. An attractive miscellany as the title suggests, with something for everyone.

Kemmy’s Limerick Miscellany is also a tribute to Jim Kemmy’s huge literary contribution to the city and recognition of his achievement in awakening interest in local history, the spark of which he and other local enthusiasts helped to ignite so many years ago.

Kemmy's Limerick Miscellany is available online at www.kemmyslimerickmiscellany.com

also available from usual outlets priced €20.00 - paperback. ISBN: 978-09562810-0-5

For further details contact: Dominic Taylor; Tel: 087 2996409; E: limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com
For trade orders or to request a copy for review, please email: limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com

Enquiries to: The Limerick Writers' Centre, 12 Barringtons Street, Limerick, Ireland.
Email: limerickwriterscentre@gmail.com



All the beer mats turned red in Limerick
the night that rebel Doctor Che Lynch took a wander
along Glentworth Street,
the jingling city
down his throat
on this island of his ancestors.
With a beard
as dark as the comforting Guinness,
he slaked his ruggerman’s thirst,
his well-shaken mix of Irish and Galician roots,
by the night-soaked Shannon.

Thirty months later, he was dead in Bolivia;
smashed bones,
splintered beads
of a revolutionary’s sweat
rolling down the guttter.

Now, I am sending this green poem
to your own heaven, old Che;
for your spirited lapel,
a singing sprig of shamrock
to light up the culture shock
of your long wild hair.

You chanced it in Hanratty’s ‘Gluepot’ bar,
you plunged from the leaden sky
to chat up all this local talent
in the eloquent lilt of a roaring evening.

Mighty ‘Red Bird’,
icon at the bar,
no better or worse
than the barman
who served you
a pint or two of Irish love,
to make your heart
grow even bigger;
to set you up
for your flight
from Limerick,
‘three sheets to the wind’,
rocking across the mighty expanse
of the rolling drunk Atlantic to Havana,
to a certain
martyr’s death.

And, amid the glorious beauty
of trees,
in the murderous jungle
of brutal dreams,
we soaks
will remember you
and celebrate the night
you fell in with us.



(in memory of Jim Kemmy 1936 -1997)

‘Old people mumbling
low in the night of change and of ageing
when they think you asleep and not listening -
and we wide awake in the dark,
as when we were children.’

(Desmond O’Grady)

'It was poignant,
when walking away from the graveyard
that very warm midday,
that the only sound which could be heard
after he was buried
was that of a member of his trade, a stonemason,
simply chipping away
at a monument.'

(Mary Jackman)

In this city, in every town, in every village,
there is this man
dusty with archives
and old snapshots;
this deep fellow
who digs out truths from scraps,
who drinks from a bowl of swirling voices
and makes sense of things,
makes sense
when all else
lies in chaos.

In his dreams,
wars are not dead.
They scream
from his books.
He will not let
the suffering go -
he owes the children that.
There is something noble
in his calling,
in his bearing.
His work is beautiful.

In this particular place,
you can call him 'Jim'.
You can see his face forever
in the autumn leaves,
the leaves of books,
and the dance of history,
a local historian
and carver of tales
so memorable
that every street must value his love:
the love of our people though the ages,
the love of learning,
the search for dignity
that underpins these lanes.

In Limerick,
Jim's imagination still blossoms
and keeps us rooted
in the drift of memory.
He teaches us lessons.
Listen to his spirit breathe
deep as the Shannon.
His voice forever flies
with the power of knowledge.

'Beautiful dreamer wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for Thee.'


the jingling geordie

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whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur