Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Animal and dairy science

Publication Details

Mac Con Iomaire, M. (2003) 'The Pig in Irish Cuisine past and present' in Walker, H. (ed) The Fat of the Land: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2002: Bristol: Footwork, pp. 207-215


The inspiration to research and present this paper came from a folklore tale about how Saint Martin created the pig from a piece of fat. The paper will explore the pig in Irish cuisine and culture from ancient times to the present. The paper will discuss the pig in Irish literature and mythology; outline the role the emergence of the potato had on domestic pig keeping, and trace the rise of commercial processing in the nineteenth century to the present day. It will highlight a number of traditional Irish dishes using pig meat and illustrate how today’s chefs have incorporated the pig into their menus. The paper will discuss how scientists have developed leaner, low-fat pigs that contain only half the salt compared to thirty years ago. The paper will also highlight the small breed of artisan pork butchers who are trying to re-create the taste of bygone days whilst keeping the quality of modern day standards.