Galway Oyster Festival 2012

| July 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Galway Oyster Festival 2012 

When: Last days of September

Where: Galway, Ireland


The Galway Oyster Festival 2012, or more formally the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, started in 1954 as a marketing gimmick to extend the tourist season.

Brian Collins, manager of Great Southern Hotel at the time, thought of how to fill his hotel’s occupancy rate at a time when reservations are dwindling. Because September is the first month of the oyster season, he and the hotel’s head chef decided to put oysters on the menu. He took the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival (10 miles south) idea and put a marketing spin on it.

That first festival was attended by 34 lucky guests who feasted on the oyster banquet. Since then, it has become a huge tourist draw as the biggest oyster festival in Ireland, attracting more than 10,000 visitors annually who consume tons of fresh Galway oysters (in season from September – April).

In 1984, the festival is moved to Galway as part of the quincentennial celebrations. This is why many tourists confuse the Clarinbridge Oyster Festival with that of Galway’s.


About the Event:

Fáilte go Féile Idirnáisiúnta Oisrí agus Bia Mara na Gaillimhe..!!

Dubbed by Sunday Times as “one of the 12 greatest shows on earth,” the Galway Oyster Festival 2012 indeed holds up to scrutiny. It is listed in the 1987 AA Travel Guide as one of Europe’s Seven Best Festivals. It is the longest-running food festival of its kind, and the most internationally recognized festival in Ireland.

On September 28-30, Galway City’s hotels and restaurants will form a seafood trail, not unlike a wine route. A Mardi Gras party will spice up Galway’s streets while contenders will battle it out in the Guinness Irish Oyster Opening Championship and the Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship. Galway seafood heroes are honored and celebrated in “Blas Na Mara” or the Taste of the Sea. There will be cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, Irish coffee-making, live music, costume parties for kids, jive and jazz.

The festivities are held in the Oyster Festival Marquee at Galway Harbor.

 Travel Tips:

The Irish understand English, but travelers who want to befriend locals fast (and perhaps get a second seafood helping) may want to learn to say ‘mas e do thoil e’ (moss-a-duh-hull-a) and ‘go raibh maith agat’ (guh-rev-oh-a-gut) while being served (please and thank you, respectively).

Lest travelers forget, being in Ireland means drinking the rich, creamy Guinness is a moral imperative. (similar to eating pizza in Naples, Italy). Say “Slainte!” (slawn-cha!) to fellow guests (cheers!).

Final Thoughts:

The AA Travel Guide compares the Galway Oyster Festival 2012 to Munich’s Oktoberfest, so there must be a marketing gimmick of some kind. The organizers promise “superb banquets, top class entertainment and flowing champagne and Guinness,” but they seem to be making good at their promise year after year. Perhaps this time, marketing gimmicks are a thing of the past.


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Category: Calendar, Calendar of events, International Festivals, Ireland Festivals

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