Friday, 12 September 2014

Galway Oyster Festival

After a busy summer of film, arts, music and horse racing, September is a lovely time in Galway city. We have two oyster festivals to look forward to, Clarenbridge Village festival 12th-14th and the larger Galway International Oyster Festival 25th - 28th September.

The festivals celebrate the native Galway oyster or ostrea edulis - also known as wild oysters. Ireland produces over 750 million tonnes of oysters each year and only a small percentage of these are the native oysters making them highly sought after across the globe. September is the start of the native oyster season as the warmer summer months are when they are reproducing and it is advised not to eat them 1. To allow them ensure a future and 2. they are not at their best in terms of flavour and meatiness. The larger, more widely know Rock oysters are available all year round. 

In 1953, Brian Collins, General Manager of the Great Southern Hotel (now Hotel Meyrick) came up with the idea to create a festival to highlight the new native oyster season each year and the very first Galway Oyster Festival took place in 1954. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, the Galway Oyster Festival has seen many guises during its time.     

The traditional highlight, the World Oyster Opening (shucking) Championship takes place on Saturday 27th September and will see oyster professionals from across the globe compete for the coveted title. Last years winner was from Denmark there will be entrants from Japan, China, Singapore, USA, Canada, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium, Italy and England taking on the 2014 challenge. Following the main event, a new favourite of the festival is the Masquerade through the streets of Galway - in it's third year, it embodies the fun and creative nature of Galway and definitely one to book. 

The world is your oyster and for September - Galway is the centre of the oyster world. 

No comments:

Post a Comment