If you’re looking for an action packed weekend of non-stop entertainment, music, the most succulent oysters you’re ever likely to taste and plenty of creamy Guinness, then head for the beautiful city of Galway on the west coast of Ireland. For four days and nights you’ll be bowled over by one of the best food festivals in Europe, which draws people from all over the world. It was even titled ‘one of the best shows in the world’ by the Sunday Times. Read our article to find out what’s in store for this years festival.
This year’s festival starts on Thursday 27th September and runs until Sunday 30th September.
Thursday 27th September
With free entry, make sure you go to the Guinness Irish Oyster Opening Championship. In this competition you can watch in awe, as Irish oyster openers vie for a place in the World Oyster Opening Competition which takes place on the Saturday.
What you’ll see here is a number of contestants on stage, each is allocated a box with 30 oysters in it and basically whoever opens the oysters the quickest is the winner! Of course it’s a lot more technical than that and judges scrutinise every oyster to see, for example, if the oyster is damaged or it’s not presented properly etc.
Friday 28th of September
The main event on today is the Magnificent Mardi Gras Party. The evening starts with a superb champagne, oyster and Guinness reception while guests will be entertained by a Jazz band. After that guests can feast on a delicious hot and cold buffet with lots of seafood delicacies, while later, party the night away to top class entertainment. The ticket to this event cost €140. and the venue is the Oyster Festival Marquee at Nimmo’s Pier.
Saturday 29th September
The Official Opening of the Galway International Oyster Festival takes place today at 12 noon in Eyre Square. This is a fantastic day out for all the family as it’s a free public event so all are welcome.
Expect lots of live music, entertainment, performers and, of course, the opening ceremony itself, where traditionally since 1954 the newly crowned ‘Pearl’ will present the first oyster of the season to Galway’s mayor.
When the opening ceremony concludes, line the streets and watch a fun and colourful parade which include the Oyster Pearl herself, bands, vintage cars and the oysters openers which have come from all corners of the globe.
Of course, you can’t come to this festival without tasting a few mouth watering oysters, so make for the Festival Marquee at Nimmo’s Pier for around 1pm for an oyster tasting seafood lunch.
Afterwards the Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship kicks off (about 2pm) and watch contestants from all over the globe showcasing their oyster-opening skills.
At 3pm, there’s an elegant lady competition, which features a spectacular prize and at 3.30pm the winner of the Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship will be announced followed by an evening of great entertainment. For this evenings entertainment tickets cost €110.
If you’re looking for something more glamorous, then the Oyster Festival Gala Ball is for you! It takes place at the Radisson Hotel at 8pm and the dress code is black tie. For €170. you can enjoy an evening of fine food, champagne and excellent cabaret entertainment.
Sunday 30th September
Today the festival concludes with a Farewell Party at Nimmo’s Pier at 1pm. If you’ve attended Saturday afternoons activities you’ll receive a complimentary ticket to this party, if not you’ll only pay €20. so it’s well worth going along to enjoy this.
So if you’ve a passion for fresh oysters, Guinness, chilled white wine, gourmet food, great music, dance and parties into the early hours, make your way to Galway city.
If you happen to be holidaying in Ireland in late September, then do try to put this festival on your itinerary. If you’re landing at Shannon Airport and renting a car you can be in Galway city in about 1 and a half hours. From Dublin it’s just over 2 and a half hours drive.
It’s only weeks to the 53rd Galway International Oyster Festival, so now is the time to book your accommodation in Galway city. We’ve got hotels, guesthouses, B&B’s and self-catering options right throughout the city so book now.
Have you been to the Oyster Festival in Galway? We’d love to hear what you thought of it. If you’ve any questions or comments just pop them into the box below and we’ll get back to you!