Galway International Oyster Festival 2002
Galway International Oyster Festval 2002
The Galway International Oyster Festival was founded in 1954 and is now in it’s 48th year of unbroken sequence. It is Ireland’s longest running Festival and each year draws visitors from all over the world to Galway. It has been equated with the Munich Beer Festival, The Salzburg Spring Festival and has been listed by the Sunday Times as one of “The Twelve Greatest Shows on Earth”. Over 100,000 native oysters (Ostrea Edulis) will be consumed and in excess of €6.35 million will be spent by Galwegians and visitors to the city and county during this colourful week of gourmet food, good Guinness and great fun.
The Festival not only extends the local tourist season but also celebrates the native oyster, with the first oysters of the season being brought to Dublin to launch this years festival that takes place from 26th –29th September. Galway is lucky to have the best oyster beds in Ireland, in the unpolluted waters of Brady Bay and Clarenbridge, the native oyster lies in wait for the touring gourmet who know a thing or two about shellfish.
This aristocrat of the sea, generally three years old, has been maturing and fattening ready for it’s encounter with the delicious homemade brown bread and of course Guinness on the many tables of the pubs and restaurants in the surrounding area. The oyster season starts on 1st of September and continues right through the winter months, to finish on the last day of April. This is easily remembered by the old saying that you can eat an oyster in any month with the letter “r” in its name.
Galway International Oyster Festival Chairman John Holland said, “You need stamina and a good liver to enjoy all of the events. However for the festival wise, who know haw to pace themselves, it can be done, but nowhere else in the world do you et the unique combination of fun, friendly people, fine food and lively entertainment”.
The annual highlight of the action packed programme is the Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship, which takes place in the festival Marquee based at Nimmo’s Pier in Galway’s famous Claddagh village on Saturday 28th September. Competition coming from every continent to challenge for the World Title, are asked to open 30 oysters in the shortest time. This year entry’s are from Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the USA.
Other events include the magnificent ‘Mardi – Gras’ party, the Parade to the Marquee and the Oyster festival Gala Ball and the selection of the Oyster ‘Pearl’. All through the festival many of Galway’s bars enter into the spirit of the fun, the festivals principal element, by organising their own free entertainment during Friday and Saturday afternoon and night. Festival.