Weekend at Galway Oyster – where the main verb is opening

GALWAY, IRELAND: Party and oysters, here is a travel advice for next year; Head to Ireland for a food festival. In September the island has its own dedicated oyster season celebrating the humble mollusc, and shucking – means opening – is the main verb.

Click big photos from Galway Oyster

Most people wouldn´t know how many oysters they can eat in a time limit. However, a world record was made in 2005 at a whopping 233 oysters in three minutes and ever since the slurping for new record has been on. If you visit Ireland in September, you will soon learn when there is a world title or record at stake, eating oysters gets serious.

Festival capital. Galway is a hot-spot for oyster and a west-coast city famous for being bohemian, a cultural tourist attraction with a long coastline as part of the Wild Atlantic Way – not to forget famous for being the festival capital of Ireland. The biggest tradition of them all is Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival celebrated 64 years of great food from the sea and still going strong attracting guests from all over the world.

Friday Party. Having fun and party is part of the Irish way of life. Last weekend of September every year the Opening Night Party take place with oysters, seafood and music in Festival Marquee near the Spanish Arch, where River Corrib meet Galway Bay and the crystal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It´s here the slurping begins and continue for three days.

Oyster Opening. In Galway oyster shucking gets serious at World Oyster Opening Championship. Last weekend of September this is an important event kicking off with a parade of competitors weaving through the city to the Marquee for an intense competition. This year all the men from 20 countries competed for the world title and Anti Lepic from Tallinn is the champ. He chucked 30 oysters in shortest space of time, just as Lepic did last year.
“I love Galway oysters so much I might move over here”, the Estonian head chef declared.

Mardi Gras. The festivities roll out into late Saturday night with the Masquerade Mardi Gras, starting with eating oysters around the city, before dinner and dancing “until the wee hours”. Galway is the perfect festival to make friends, throw caution to the wind and dress as extravagantly as you dare. This is a spot-on festival for slurping fresh Galway oyster and to come out of your shell – at least once a year.

Make it Happen!

Touch Down: By car from Dublin Airport: Follow the signs to the M50 Southbound. Take the M4 and M6 all the way to N6 in Galway. Take R339 to downtown Galway City. By rail: Irish Rail run regular daily train services to Dublin stopping off at major towns. Advance booking is recommended. By Coach: There are a number of good value bus services to/from Dublin, and other major towns. These include Bus Éireann which leave from Ceannt Station (also the railway station) just off Eyre Square. 

Stay: Forster Court Hotel has a great location on the edge of the city centre, extensive breakfast, a good bar and helpful people at the check-in. Great modern guest room.

Eat: Throughout the festival, attend food tasting events, Mardi Gras-gala and World Oyster Opening Championship. For more food; try some of the restaurants on the Seafood Trail, included traditional McDonaghs, 22 Quay Street, for tasty fish and seafood.

Play: Enjoy the many street performers playing for crowds. Buskers create atmosphere on the streets like no other city.

Mini Guide: Galway is a charming city with a vibrant atmosphere, the place to relax, explore and enjoy yourself. Galway Market. The popular weekend market surrounding St Nicholas’ Church in the centre of Galway is a colourful, aromatic and musical place to indulge your senses when visiting the city. Located by the church for hundreds of years, it promises wall to wall stalls of locally made food, art, crafts and unique bric-à-brac items you may not find anywhere else. It’s also the ideal meeting place to get to know locals and find out what happening in the city.