Galway International Oyster Festival

Galway International Oyster Festival – 2023

We all have a list of things that we should try out before dying. According to “The Rough Guide” visiting Galway International Oyster Festival is one of the 50 things you must try before your last day on Earth. Galway International Oyster Festival is the oldest oyster festival in the world. It is also remarked as the most internationally recognized Irish festival after St Patrick’s Day. Considered as one of Europe’s longest-running food extravaganzas, an oyster lover should definitely hit this grand event someday. If you are ready to dream about it till you make it to Galway one day, keep reading. 

1.    The history of Galway International Oyster Festival.

The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival had its first step in September 1954 with the immense support of Brian Collins, the manager of the Great Southern Hotel (now called Hotel Meyrick).

For the first event which was called the Oyster Festival Banquet at that time 34 guests attended and feasted on several dozen oysters each. At present, it has become one of the most celebrated events on Ireland’s social calendar. Thousands of visitors make this the opportunity to savor the famous native Galway Oysters at the end of September each year. After years from the beginning, now the Galway International Oyster Festival attracts more than 20 competitors, representing countries from all over the world to Galway to compete for the World Championship title.

During the past 64 years, Galway International Oyster Festival has featured in famous channels of the media including Bon Appétit Magazine, BBC Good Food, Food & Wine magazine, Easy Food Magazine, Time Magazine, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Conde Nast, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Image Magazine, Fodors, The Lonely Planet Guide, and The Rough Guide and many more.

2.    Date 

The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival is held on the final weekend in September to celebrate Galway’s rich annual oyster harvest. The next event is scheduled to be held starting from the 22-24 September 2023.

3.    Tickets

You can purchase the tickets from the official site 

  • OYSTER OPENING COMPETITION, September 22nd, 2023 – €80.00
  • MASQUERADE GALA DINNER, September 22th, 2023 – €120.00
Galway International Oyster Festival

4.    Events at Galway International Oyster Festival 


Seasoned oyster shuckers from many countries around the world to show off their skills. You will get a drink, an oyster serving of a dozen, and two seafood plates of fresh, locally sourced seafood from the West of Ireland, such as the Native Oysters, organic smoked salmon, or succulent lobster rolls to keep your company while you watch the competitors shuck oysters in a matter of seconds. Shout out loud your cheering to your favorite competitor or stare at how fast and carefully their fingers move while sipping your drink.  

Venue – Hardiman Hotel, Eyre Square Galway


The Mardi Gras Gala dinner is a fancy evening of the best locally sourced food and entertainment. Over the years, it has been a highlight in the Galway International Oyster Festival because of its luxury dining opportunity with fellow oyster lovers from different cultures. Dress as extravagant as you can and enjoy your three-course meal offered with a glass of bubbles and a serving of oysters. There will be live music to entertain you till you leave the hotel with both your heart and tummy full. 

 Venue: Hardiman Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway

5.    Accommodations

There are many places to stay close to the festival in a wide range of prices to match your budget. But all the places get booked out fast during the few days in which the Galway International Oyster Festival is held. If you book a place as earlier as possible, you can avoid the trouble. The official website  has a list of recommended places to stay. 

6. The Sea Food Trail

The seafood trail is a somewhat new event feature in the 2023’s Galway Oyster Festival since the event was introduced in the 2022s festival. The event includes selecting Galway’s best restaurant featuring locally sourced ingredients and seafood. Every restaurant in the area will have Galway Oysters during the festival so visitors can taste delicious oysters in many favors. One of the most significant and awaited events is expected to happen at Galway 2023 Oyster Festival. There will be 17 best restaurants in the city with their leading seafood recipes.

The trail will be located from the city to the West at the Twelve and then stretch all the way up to BIM. 

The seafood trail participants,

  • Tigh Neachtain
  • West @ The Twelve
  • Bay Brasserie at The Galway Bay Hotel
  • Brasserie on the Corner
  • Tartare
  • Rúibín
  • McDonagh’s
  • Marinas Restaurant @ The Galmont Hotel
  • Dillisk on the Docks @ the Harbour Hotel
  • Sonny Molloys
  • Cava Bodega
  • The Huntsman Inn
  • McSwiggans
  • Martine’s Wine Bar
  • Cava Bodega
  • The Front Door Pub
  • The Dáil Bar

You can taste the seafood from McDonagh’s, a world-renowned seafood restaurant located on Quay St; you can also meet chef JP McMahon at Tartare, one of the best-known chefs in the area.

Background and Highlight

Galway Oyster Festival expects over half s million Visitors annually and consumes more than 3 million oysters each year. Of course, with the best beers and wine in the local. Not only oysters but there will also be a lot of exciting events for you to enjoy at this world-renowned oyster festival. Walk down the street while enjoying oysters and wine from the tents around and join some food provenance tours, best-dressed lady competitions, oyster eating competitions and a variety of family activities, the “Hot Oyster Award” cooking challenge, and much more.

Over past years, during the three days of the festival, it is scheduled to host the World Oyster Opening Championship, the annual beauty contest to select the Festival Pearl, Mardi Gras Party with delicious Champagne, and the music of top class artists, Guinness, and Oyster reception and the grand finale “the Gala Ball.”

Galway Oyster Festival FAQs

Is the Galway Oyster Festival this year?

This year the Galway International Oyster Festival will be held from 22nd Sunday, September 24th, 2023. 

Where is the Galway Oyster Festival held?

From event to event, the venue will vary, and you can look at the map to get the location. And the main competition will be held in a large tent at Nimmo’s Pier near the River Corrib at the Claddagh Quay.

What is the oldest oyster festival in the world?

Galway Oyster Festival is the oldest Oyster Festival in the world. And the festival is scheduled to be held on the final weekend of September each year. The most interesting thing is that Galway is the only place in Ireland that harvest native flat oysters in natural wild oyster beds.

When was the first Galway Oyster Festival?

The first Galway Oyster Festival was held in September 1954, organized by the former manager of the Great Southern Hotel, Brian Collins.


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