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Galway International Oyster Festival

Listed under Festivals in Galway, Ireland.

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  • Photo of Galway International Oyster Festival
Photo of Galway International Oyster Festival
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Author Jonathan Swift once noted, "He was a bold man that did first eat an oyster". Since 1957, the Irish hometown of the world-famous Ostrea Edulis oyster has celebrated its delicious crop with the four-day Galway International Oyster Festival. The mainstay is Ireland's best-known beer, Guinness, paired with the plump, salty European flat oyster grown in the nearby bay. Locals ensure there are baskets full of crusty homemade brown bread to sop up the oyster juices with - all in all a combination that's hard to match. However festival organizers give the food a run for its money (and keep in mind the festival is free), by ensuring the entertainment appeals to all senses, not just your stomach. Enjoy live Irish music dedicated to the aphrodisiac qualities of the shellfish, comedy nights and oyster diving contests. The festivities set the stage for a worldwide gathering of expert oyster openers (shuckers) competing for a new Guinness World Record. Only one competitor can walk away with a world record, but there is plenty of Guinness to go around. Other highlights include the Oyster Festival Gala Ball, and an Elegant Lady competition. Of course, the juicy oyster is center stage through it all, yum.

Written by  Jared.

Other expert and press reviews


By Frank Partridge for The Independent First Published 6 September, 2008 This city in the west of Ireland has great seafood, ancient churches and pubs galore. Visit in September and it's also bursting with live music and art...Galway straddles the bank… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Independent, 6 September 2008

“Amy Lame on the trail of Galway Bay oysters”

By Amy Lame for The Times First Published 9th May 2009 Ugh! You either love ’em or hate ’em. Guinness and oysters are a food-and-drink combination that only their respective mothers could love. Get a bad oyster and you’re done in for days. And Guinness… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

When is this festival held???

1 Reply

This year (2011) it's on the 24th, 25th and 26th of September.

Galway International Oyster Festival

Oysters and Guiness make unlikely but delicious bedfellows, a fact which Galway has been celebrating since 1954, when the idea for an oyster festival was coined by a local hotel manager looking to extend the tourist season into September when the local oyster season starts.  The festival's headline events are the Irish Oyster Opening Championship and the International Oyster Opening Championship.  In 2007 Sweden took home the big prize and Ireland only came in 5th. For ladies who may not quite have the arm for shucking there is the Oyster Pearl beauty pageant and for everyone else there are parties and oyster heavy menus all around the town.  If oysters alone aren't exclusive enough you can attend a gala ball on the final night of the four day celebration. 

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