During our weekend in Galway, we were delighted to attend the Galway Oyster Festival & watch the World Oyster Opening Championship. The festival has been running since 1954. It is held on the last weekend in September in celebration of Galway’s annual oyster harvest.
There were different events running each day from Friday through Sunday. We attended the festival on Saturday which ran from 2 – 9pm. There was a parade through the streets out to the Galway Oyster Festival which was located on Nimmos Pier beyond Spanish Arch. It was a beautiful walk out to the festival marquee.
It was really lovely inside the tent. There were long tables along the edges of the tent & tall tables near the dance floor for people to eat on. We perused the oyster, wine, Guinness & seafood stands. A live band played until the Oyster Opening Championship began. The festival was very well-organized, clean & stylish.
We lucked out & nabbed the last free picnic table outside. It was the perfect location for the kids to have a little play & for us to enjoy an amazing selection of seafood. Happily, the weather cooperated & it stayed dry for the day.
Each ticket included 1 drink (wine or beer), a half dozen oysters, a seafood platter & a bowl of chowder. Each ticket had sub tickets so you handed in your drink ticket for a drink, oyster ticket for oysters & so on. This was our fabulous lunch…
Our kiddies ate seafood chowder & brown bread. My husband & I enjoyed everything. The seafood platter was absolutely gorgeous. The salmon was my favourite, it was seasoned to perfection. The Guinness was smooth & delicious. All of the flavours came together in the perfect combination.
That morning, I had proclaimed I would not eat a raw oyster. I have never eaten one before or any type of raw fish for that matter. I have even blogged about not eating raw foods! I just don’t do it. I love cooked oysters, mussels, scallops & every kind of seafood. Well, my husband convinced me to have one! Here is my big moment – trying my first raw oyster! The progression goes from left to right, then left to right again.
I did it!!! Honestly, I thought you would see me spitting an oyster across the table. The sauce on the oyster was a little spicy which helped a lot plus they were super fresh. I was surprised by how easily I ate the oysters – yes, I went back for a second! The texture wasn’t slimy (as I was expecting). I chewed them because I knew I couldn’t swallow them whole. I’m really glad that I ate my first raw oysters at the festival & could share my experience with you.
After enjoying our seafood & Guinness, it was time for the Oyster Opening Championship to begin. Everyone gathered in front of the stage. They had two big screens either side of the stage so everyone could see. There were several rounds of competition. Each competitor had a box of oysters to be opened. The fastest time went to Anti Lepik of Estonia.
Here is a short video I took on my iPhone of the oyster opening (please excuse the quality). It really was impressive how quickly they opened the oysters. I’d be doing well if I opened one in the same time frame!
It was a fabulous festival, very stylish & delicious. If you are in Galway in September, do visit the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival.
Disclosure: We were very kindly guests of the Galway Oyster Festival, however all thoughts & opinions expressed are 100% my own.