Stanzas: Nina O’Donovan

“Please give me the soft of you”

Nina O’Donovan is a fourth year student in Mary Immaculate College studying English and Philosophy. She is spending the summer in Italy.

Tell me a little bit about your relationship with Limerick and culture, does that inspire you?

I used to hate living here and I used to never identify that much with being Irish especially Limerick because there’s that sporting culture and I was never into sports. I thought “I want to move somewhere else as soon as I can and just get away from it.” When I was growing up my dad was into ancient Irish history, Celtic history and he would tell us stories about fairies and all the different characters and I really loved that. When I went to college I studied Léann Dúchais (Irish heritage studies) and I absolutely loved it and that was a huge thing to me. I really identified with that side of being Irish; that Celtic culture. There’s another side to being Irish, it’s not just sport.

Are there any other poets you like?

I don’t really read poets I more read random poems. There are a few by Yeats that I really love.

Your favourite thing about Limerick?

Having my friends here, because I missed that so much when I was living abroad. Being able to just meet people and know people on the street.

What is the strangest thing you have ever seen in Limerick?

I saw a clown coming out of the Cellar Door one day.

Tell me what your quote means or what it means to you.

What it came from was mostly just communication, knowing people for a long time but not knowing them at a deep enough level or feeling like you can’t get past that hard outer shell. It’s about that one relationship.

Getting to the gooey centre of that hard shell?

Yes, but I don’t really write with any intention of it having specific meaning.

Can you ever really know someone?

I think you can but I think it is very hard to get there if you don’t have an established relationship with someone. Right from the first point of knowing someone if they are really open and they tell you everything about themselves I tend to be really open back but if someone’s closed I can’t start it. I’ve known people who immediately tell you everything, tell you every little detail of their lives and you get to know them a lot better but when people are closed off…

It’s like Ironman you can’t get in there.

Yeah it’s like you can’t get to that point with some people but you can get to that point with others.

Chocolate or vanilla?


Night or Day?


What’s the weirdest thing you ever wrote?

I don’t know, I really don’t know.

Strangest thing you ever ate?

Nothing much comes to mind but I really love Asian food and make baozi (Chinese dumplings)!

Sweet or savoury?


What do you hope to do after college?

Just because I liked Sweden so much I was thinking of going back there and being an au pair for a while.

Can you speak Swedish?

Yes, I learned it while I was there. I can’t have a detailed conversation but I can get around.

Where is the best place in Sweden to go?

Uppsala was my favourite place. The place I lived was a tiny town, I didn’t really like Stockholm, but the town was the same size as Limerick and that’s why I really liked it there. 



opening your eyes feels more

like being ripped out of an envelope,

cracked out of an egg.



these thoughts spread like bruises —

pour ear to ear through your mind.


you were used to being reflective;

and now the sun attacks the sky

every night —


and now crawling with emotion;

please give me the soft of you.

anytime you have the chance


please stop the needle

before it bluntly dimples flesh,

just once —


what other way is there

to unlearn this silence?

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