Ah Galway! A bohemian beauty that sits like a jewel on Ireland's rugged west coast. This is a city with everything to offer. It LOVES a good party. It's got a fascinating history filled with intrigue and romance. It’s a gateway to the stunning beauty of Connemara, the legendary Aran Islands and the 2,5000km-long Wild Atlantic Way – a thrilling coastal touring route that takes you from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south.
Oh and it's got a calendar of amazing festivals and events that celebrate everything from film to food. But if you really want to get a feel for everything that's great about Galway, there's one festival you won't want to miss...
Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival (September 27-29)
It's the oldest oyster festival in the world, as well as being the most internationally recognised Irish festival – well, after Saint Patrick's Day of course! The 64th Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival takes place during the last weekend of September to celebrate Galway’s rich annual oyster harvest.
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What started out with just 34 guests in its first year, now sees more than 22,000 visitors descend on the city as one of Ireland’s biggest social events. During the weekend, the festival holds the Irish and World Oyster Opening Championships, which sees top class oyster shuckers (openers) go head to head for the titles of Irish and world champions. Watch the professionals in action as you sample succulent oysters and taste delicious seafood dishes. You can take your time, though, no need to rush when the flavours are this good!
The fun doesn't stop there...
As well as the oyster celebrations, you can expect street parades, seafood trails and even a Mardi Gras masquerade ball. In fact, the seafood around here is so good, it has two seafood trails dedicating to showing if off: the Bay Coast Seafood Trail, which visits the top seafood restaurants and producers along the Atlantic, and the Galway Oyster Festival Seafood Trail, which takes you to places around the city that bring you seafood so fresh it's almost straight from the sea.
Fabulous food, lots of fun and a warm welcome from the locals, the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival is definitely one for the bucket list.