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Pigtown Festival 2023 brings a celebration of Limerick food heritage Pigtown Festival 2023 brings a celebration of Limerick food heritage


PHOTOS Pigtown Festival returns for mouth-watering seventh consecutive year



Launching Pigtown Festival 2023, Culture and Food Series were, Steve Cunneen, Treaty City Brewery and Tom Flavin, Cook and Cleaver chasing down Charlie Choplin. Picture: Alan Place

Pigtown Festival 2023 offers a weekend of family fun, delicious dining, guided tours, expert demos, and cool collaborations in a celebration of Limerick’s food heritage

Michael McMahon, Limerick Whiskey Experience, Tom Flavin, Cook and Cleaver, Dee McMahon, Neighbour Food, Charlie Choplin, Steve Cunneen, Treaty City Brewery, Olivia OíSullivan, Limerick Food Tours and Cathy Tiernan, Art Limerick. Picture: Alan Place

Inspired by the city’s famous historic bacon industry and the county’s deep-rooted food heritage, the Pigtown Festival is developed by Limerick Food Group with the support of Limerick City and County Council and Failte Ireland. Every year it presents a unique food and culture festival showcasing the quality produce available locally as well as Limerick’s credentials as a food tourism destination.

Thursday 21st September


Starting Thursday 21st September, savour a Whiskey and Charcuterie Tasting Event by Limerick Whiskey Experience, or book your Pigtown Dinner at The French Table as chef/patron Thomas Fialon presents a food and wine evening.

Friday 22nd September

Pigtown always pinks up the streets of Limerick City on Culture Night, and this Friday September 22nd will do that and more! It all kicks off with ‘Grill at The Bedford’ outdoor grill event on Bedford Row discussing Limerick food history with Caroline Rigney. That’s before family fun takes over celebrating Limerick’s unique food heritage as the Pigtown Parade with marching band, characters, costumes, face-painters and porky antics, winds its way from Bedford Row to the Milk Market After-Party where the mobile farm and mask-making will keep little ones enthralled. 

Pigtown Festival 2023 brings a celebration of Limerick food heritage
Olivia O’Sullivan, Limerick Food Tours and Michael McMahon, Limerick Whiskey Experience. Picture: Alan Place

Grown-up festivities on Nicholas Street sees ‘Eat on Treaty Street’ take over, while Sean Nos with Hazey Haze happens in The Parlour at Mothermacs.

Alternatively, book your Pigtown Dinner at a custom menu by Chef Alex Timms for one night only at Sash Restaurant, No1 Pery Square.

Saturday 23rd September

Choose from demos to tours on Saturday 23rd September with Live Coffee Roasting Demos at GUJI coffeebar; live free Cooking Demos at the famous Milk Market with Chef Wade Murphy of 1826 Adare, and Chef Eithne Gavigan of TUS Culinary Arts; or book the Limerick City Food Tour by Olivia O’Sullivan of Limerick Food Tours to lap up Limerick’s food culture like a local in this 2.5hr guided walking tour including tastings; or leave the city behind to enjoy a Farm Tour at Rigney’s Farm including Curraghchase Special lunch. 

Demos continue in the afternoon with Live Butchery Demo by butcher Garrett Landers and chef Tom Flavin at Garrett’s Butchers with tastings from Garrett and Tom’s ‘Cook & Cleaver’ premium meals range. Round off the day with the Taste of Treaty Tour at Treaty City Brewery.

Pigtown Festival 2023 brings a celebration of Limerick food heritage
Launching Pigtown Festival 2023 were Steve Cunneen, Limerick City Brewery, Tom Flavin, Cook and Cleaver, Olivia OíSullivan, Limerick Food Tours, Michael McMahon, Limerick Whiskey Experience, Cathy Tiernan, Art Limerick and Dee McMahon, Neighbour Food with Charlie Choplin. Picture: Alan Place

Sunday 24th September

On Sunday 24th September, start the day with the Pigtown Brunch at No1 Pery Square, followed by ‘The Art of Pigtown’ art fair at the Milk Market with ArtLimerick, and ‘What’s on the Menu? Limerick Restaurants 1860-1960’ free guided walking tour by historian Dr Paul O’Brien. Meet the Maker features Chef Keith Pigott at Treaty City Brewery for ‘Fermentorium – The Culture of our Cultures’ where beer is food and food is beer, pairing fantastic fermented foods with fantastic fermented beer. Mother Macs Public House hosts the Porter & Pudding Open Event, or take a jaunt to beautiful Ballingarry and book the annual Pigtown Dinner at the Mustard Seed.

Developed by Limerick Food Group and supported by Limerick City & County Council, the festival focuses on Limerick’s unique heritage as a way to showcase the great food and food experiences available locally, building on Limerick’s deep-rooted food heritage. 

Each year since its inception, the festival also holds events such as cookery demonstrations in Limerick’s famous Milk Market led by a host of guest chefs and historical talks and walks, recounting the time when Limerick’s bacon factories fed Ireland and exported as far away as Russia.

Pigtown Festival 2023 brings a celebration of Limerick food heritage
Launching Pigtown Limerick 2023, Culture and Food Series were, Tom Flavin, Cook and Cleaver and Steve Cunneen, Treaty City Brewery chasing down Charlie Choplin. Picture: Alan Place

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. Throughout the county, many farms supplied pigs to the factories so the impact of ‘Pigtown’ was far-reaching and sustained families throughout the region.

Full listings and booking information is available here
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Pictures: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.