Stay on for the Oyster Festival!

We’ve written about how Arthur’s Day would be a special add-on for the lucky pub owners and managers attending the first annual Irish Pubs Global conference in Galway from 21 to 23rd September. But of course, this is Galway, where the festive fun never ends – so Arthur’s Day isn’t the only special event to enjoy while you’re at the conference.

Galway’s Oyster Festival will be on the weekend after the conference – the festival has been bringing oyster lovers to Galway since 1953, when the manager of the Great Southern Hotel (now The Meyrick) decided to liven up his post-summer tourist business by celebrating the opening of the oyster season. Today, the Galway Oyster Festival is one of the highlights of Galway’s crowded festival season. The festival this year starts on Thursday, 22 September with the Guinness Irish Oyster Opening Championships; on the Friday night there’s champagne, Guinness and oysters to open the Magnificent Mardi Gras Party. Saturday’s highlights include a colourful parade through the streets of Galway that will bring the oyster openers, vintage cars, musical bands and visiting dignitaries to the Oyster Festival Center at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Saturday afternoon brings an oyster-tasting lunch, the crowning of the Oyster Pearl. Then there’s the Guinness World Oyster-Opening Championships, with competitors from every continent competing for the world title.

Have you ever seen an oyster-shucking competition? It looks like this:

Enough oysters for you? Surely not! On Saturday night, there’s the black-tie Gala Ball, where the oyster-and-drinks reception will be followed by a six-course meal. On Sunday, say goodbye to all the fun at the Farewell Party. And of course there’ll be more than oysters – organisers say you can expect to find “creamy Guinness, chilled white wine, smoked salmon on homemade brown bread, steaming seafood chowder, crab claws and indulgent desserts” – as well as a whole lot of the craic that Galway is famous for.

For more information, visit the official Galway International Oyster Festival website.

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