The pig is taking over Limerick this autumn in an exciting celebration of Limerick’s Food Culture. Inspired by the history of Limerick’s famous bacon industry, the ‘Pigtown Culture and Food Series’ is an exciting programme of themed events starting in September in Limerick. Developed by the Limerick Food Group and supported by Limerick City & County Council, the series will focus on Limerick’s unique heritage as a way to showcase the great food available locally, building on our deep-rooted food heritage.

The 2017 series featured events such as the Culture Night Pig Parade; and ‘Beyond the Pig – veganism in a meat eaters world’ panel discussion; as well as Pigtown Tasting Menu an event produced by students of LIT’s Food and Tourism Department. Local historian and author Tom Toomey gave a lecture on the food history of the City: ‘Pigtown Roots, Ranks and Cleeves factories – their rise and downfall’, followed by a panel discussion with Joe Hayes of the Limerick Pork Butchers Society, and ‘A Pig’s Tale’ ceramic exhibition hosted by Limerick Ceramic Artists.

The popular Saturday Morning cookery demos in the Milk Market Kitchen had a pig and harvest flavour in butchery skills and cooking, with everything from Limerick-style pulled pork, to ‘The Pig from Nose to Tail’, Preserving the Harvest, and Sausage making. The demonstrations are given by a host of Limerick producers, chefs and food writers. Other events include historical talks and walks recounting the time when Limerick’s bacon factories fed Ireland and exported as far away as Russia.

Restaurants and hotels across Limerick embraced the theme featuring Pigtown specials and events including the Pig Celebration Gourmet Evening by Chef Tim Harris at No1 Pery Square, and ‘A Nose To Tail Tasting Dinner’ at The Limerick Strand Hotel by Chef Tom Flavin.

Taking place in partnership with Limerick’s Live 95FM and their ‘95 Stop Tour’ charity drive, the Limerick Pigtown Neighbourhood Pig-nic encourages street and neighbourhood pig-nics throughout the city and county.

Some of the cities attractions are hot to trot too with The Frank McCourt Museum incorporating a Limerick Ham tasting and pin-the-tail-on-the-pig children’s game. Primary schools are being urged to get involved with the aim of getting Limerick’s children interested in food heritage and culture with posters, colour-in pig masks for the Pig Parade and craft ideas all to be available.

Why Pigtown?

With four bacon factories operating at the heart of the city, the pig played a vital role in Limerick’s economic and social life. O’Mara’s, Matterson’s, Denny’s and Shaw’s (later Clover meats) built an international reputation for Limerick ham and bacon and provided employment for thousands of families linking the city and the surrounding county in the production of bacon products. Limerick’s bacon industry became almost like a family business, as many generations of families worked in these factories that were dotted around Limerick (Source:limerick.ie)

Advertisements & price lists reflecting Limerick’s historic bacon industry which earned the city its nickname ‘Pigtown’ (Source: Special Collections and Archives, University of Limerick)


There’s a book on the subject by Ruth Guiry available here, and an award-winning play with the same name by Mike Finn first produced in 1999 and performed many times since in Limerick and beyond.

Limerick Food Group

Pigtown Culture & Food Series is organised by the Limerick Food Group CLG.

Limerick Food Group is a voluntary non profit. We are a committed group of people in Limerick working in the food area who came together to promote the city and county as a food capital.

While growing our local industry network, we have been encouraging people to use the hashtag #bialuimní online to support Limerick food, and run Limerick food events in such as Urban Food Fest, the Limerick Food Producer’s Night in the Limerick Milk Market, and the Limerick Chowder Champion Cook-Off.

Join our Facebook Group here

We are on twitter too: @LimerickFoodGrp