Culture & Chips for all as Limerick festival returns

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Fire-breathing, fantastical moustaches and brilliant music greeted guests as Jerry Fish opened the first Culture & Chips carnival in Limerick last year. It returns this June. Picture: Alan Place.

LIMERICK’S ‘quirky food festival’ Culture & Chips returns again this year but will be “bigger and better” according to organisers.

The event, again taking place in Arthur’s Quay Park on the June Bank Holiday weekend, has been boosted to six days this year, while the Spiegeltent venue at its heart will also be bigger.

Central to it is an emphasis on food and entertainment, with the world chip championship and a huge culinary banquet returning, while Bell X1’s Paul Noonan and Gemma Hayes will make an extremely rare outing under their Printer Clips moniker for the festival.

Hermitage Green, Mick Flannery and Eddie Reader will all also perform, while there will be a range of other events, including Cabaret des Frites and a host of family activities.

Patricia Roberts, one of the steering committee behind the festival that debuted for City of Culture, said the appeal of Culture & Chips lies in its “niche” status.

“What is different about it is that it is a niche festival, the world chip championship - there is no other such event but in Limerick and having it last year, it created such a buzz in foodie circles,” she said.

“Chips are for everybody, they are all inclusive, we all love them. Creating that was the niche, combined with a serious line-up of entertainment that will retain people in the city. It is coming back bigger and better.”

Given the various other events also taking place - including the Barbarians rugby match in Thomond Park, the TomCat Street Festival and the ICO’s Viennese Prom - it should mean a bumper weekend in the city.

“When we looked at this at the outset in the very early stages, it was one of my own personal agendas to retain local people first before we started looking at the national market,” said Patricia.

“Last year we did manage to retain a certain percentage, this year we have to double it and I think once we do that we will start to win people’s hearts over and they will stay in the city, because there is reason to, and it is a great reason to,” she added.

Culture & Chips: the making of a food carnival

CULTURE and Chips was one of the major events to take place during Limerick’s year as City of Culture in 2014.

Given substantial funding as a legacy project of the year of culture, it was intended by the steering committee behind it to provide a weekend of activity on the June Bank Holiday - traditionally one that, in the words of committee member Nigel Dugdale, “typically not much happens in Limerick”.

Settling on Arthur’s Quay Park because of its central location, choosing the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent was an inspired decision by the team because of its gorgeous red draped design and iconic feel.

See Cutlure & Chips for more.