Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival
Friday September 22 2017to Sunday September 24 2017
Whether you’ve sampled them in delicious restaurant dishes or you’ve cracked open the critters yourself, you’ll probably think that oysters are a wonderful thing. The people of Galway – who happen to be in a coastal spot that’s naturally perfect for oyster cultivation – especially think so, and regularly host a festival to attest to that feeling. In fact, the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival has been running on the last weekend of September since 1954, making 2017 its 63rd anniversary year.
Organisers have ensured that there will be some extra special surprises on the schedule. While not announced yet, 2015's event was an incredible affair. Proceedings began with the Food Village, where a plethora of top quality local restaurants put on special festival menus for visitors to enjoy. On the Saturday, the renowned Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship took place: a fiercely competitive contest which attracts the best oyster shuckers from across the globe, with 22 different countries being represented last year. The world record for most oysters shucked hasn’t been broken since 1977 – could 2017 be when it finally falls? Saturday evening meant time for fancy dress, as the Masquerade Mardi Gras Gala was in full swing. The carnival of colours kicked off with an oyster reception, followed by a parade, a banquet, and then traditional Irish music performed live for a party into the night.
Sunday is always a rambunctious affair – kids get free entry, and activities will be running for the whole family. You can learn from the pros with cookery demonstrations from top local chefs and guests, enjoy live music, sample special dishes on offer in the seafood trail restaurants, see the hot oyster cooking challenge and so much more.
The Sunday Times has previously called the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival ‘one of the 12 greatest shows on earth’, while the AA Travel Guide listed it as one of Europe’s seven best festivals. With credentials like that, this is surely one to visit.