Here is a Sunday afternoon jaunt with a difference. Pack the kids in the car. Drive to Kilcornan in west Limerick, with Curraghchase Forest Park as your general point of reference. From the N71, around Kildimo, look for signs that say "Farm Shop". Follow the signs.
These will take you to a tall, dark-red house, with a small stone shop just across from it. You have arrived at Caroline Rigney's Farm Shop, home of Curraghchase bacon and pork products.
Let the kids wander off to see the geese, the horses, the pigs and the cows and the chickens, whilst you get the cheque book out to splurge on superb bacon, Caroline's own hand-made sausages, and rarities such as the best pig's trotters you ever did see.
Admire the luscious creamy white fat on the superb rashers - Limerick Lardo. Pack a few roundels of the superb white pudding into your basket - this is one of the best puddings you can buy. Fill up the freezer bag with roast pork cuts. Round up the kids. Head back home. Get Fergus Henderson's new book, "Beyond Nose to Tail Cooking", and brew up some wicked Trotter Gear with your newly purchased trotters. Have a porky repast with all the Curraghchase pork and bacon. Now, wasn't that a grand excursion? Same again next Sunday afternoon, then?
Caroline's Curraghchase is just one of the many exciting things happening with Irish artisan pork. Not too far away, between Newmarket and Kanturk, John and Olive Forde are producing superb pork products that they sell at local markets. In Tipperary T.J. Crowe is processing the pigs of Tom and Sharyn Shore, as well as his own happy porkers. Pork and bacon, once the most tragic example of Irish low-quality commodity farming, is undergoing a welcome renaissance.
Once you eat these great products, there is no going back. Brilliant.
Tel: 061 393988