Galway hosts the annual Galway International Oyster Festival. Galway, located in west Ireland, is known as ‘the festival capital of Ireland.’ Although the city hosts more than 100 festivals a year, the Galway International Oyster Festival remains its most loved and popular event. The Festival is held annually on the last weekend in September and includes a variety of events, including competitions, entertainment, and other activities. The Galway International Oyster Festival has the longest duration in the world. The Festival is one of Ireland’s most renowned and celebrated events. The Festival will take place from 22nd – 24th September 2023. What is the Oyster Festival all about?

The Oyster Festival doesn’t just revolve around drinking Guinness and eating salty oysters. The Galway International Oyster Festival has a lot to offer visitors, locals, and competitors. Two Oyster Opening Champions will compete at the Festival, which is also known as World Oyster Opening Championships or Oyster Olympics. The Mardi Gras, or Masquerade Gala, is also a stylish event with champagne, fine dining, and dance. Festival Pearl is crowned as the queen of the beauty pageant, and there’s also the fun fair Feile Bia on Salt Hill. There are also oyster hubs and food and talk events in leading restaurants. Other activities include oyster eating contests, cooking demonstrations, performances, and live music. Pubs are bursting with Guinness and music. The Seafood Trail, which is the latest edition of the Festival, is also a highlight. Restaurants that are the best serve seafood and other ingredients sourced locally. During the Festival, the restaurants will serve the Galway Oyster to all guests. History of the Galway Oyster Festival

In 1954, the first Galway International Oyster Festival took place. Brian Collins, manager of the Great Southern Hotel in Galway, was the one who came up with this idea to bring tourists to the city. Thirty-four people attended the first Galway Oyster Festival. The first Festival took place in Clarenbridge Village near Paddy Burke’s Bar. Later, it was moved to the center of Galway. The Festival has been a huge success over the years. It has attracted more than 500,000 people, and 3,000,000 oysters have been consumed. The Festival is attended by approximately 22,000 people each year.

Where is the Festival held?

The Galway International Oyster Festival takes place in one of the most beautiful parts of the city. The Festival’s main action takes place between Claddagh Hill and Nimmo’s Pier, which is located on the Wild Atlantic Way. The main festival site is situated next to South Hill Park.

The itinerary for the Galway Oyster Festival in 2023

The Festival starts on the last weekend in September. The schedule is almost the same every year. The official program of the Festival, which begins on September 22nd, 2023, is shown below.

Friday Night The Festival officially starts at 7:00 pm. The evening culminates with the crowning of the Seafood Queen, Festival Pearl, or Claddagh King. Festival Pearl, or Oyster Pearl, presents the first season’s oysters to the Mayor of Galway. The Festival begins once he has eaten the oyster. The qualifying rounds for the Oyster Open Cup begin as the participants show off their shucking abilities. The event features seafood, lively live music, and a full-service bar.

Venue: Galway City Centre

Time: 7:00 pm and up

Entry Ticket: 45 Euro


Saturday Afternoon It’s the big day! The World Oyster Opening Championship is underway. As competitors are judged based on their speed, technique, and presentation, as well as how quickly they shuck oysters, the competitive spirit is palpable. The atmosphere is filled with patriotic cheers, especially in the final stages. The excitement of the competition is matched by the delicious seafood in Ireland, which includes the native oyster. The cuisine consists of vegetarian and vegan options. Live music is played in the background of the competition. It’s continuous, infectious, and fantastic.

Venue: Galway City Centre

Time: 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Entry Ticket: 90 Euro

Saturday Night Saturday Night Fever is soon to catch on at the Galway International Oyster Festival. The Oysters Maskarade Party, one of the highlights of the Festival, is the perfect follow-up to the intense competition that took place in the afternoon. It’s time to show off your best style, dance all night, and take in the views of Galway’s iconic Long Walk. The party is also called the Mardi Gras Dinner. It features a band, audience competitions, and a delicious six-course dinner.

Venue: Festival Marquee at Nimmo’s Pier

Time: 8 pm and up

Entry Ticket: 120 Euros


Sunday The final day of the Festival will be relaxed but educational. The fun fair, also known as Feile Bia Na Mara, is open to all members of the family. The visitors can benefit from and participate in several workshops, lectures, cooking demonstrations, etc. Wild Atlantic Taste is a series of cooking demonstrations organized by the Festival that showcase the wonderful seafood of Ireland’s coast. Renowned local and international chefs conduct the Cooking Demos. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the local cuisine and other cuisines and get some tips for improving your culinary skills. Kids will also find plenty of things to do that will keep them occupied and entertained.

Venue: Galway City Centre

Time: 12 Noon – 7:00 pm

Entry Ticket for Free

Highlights of the Galway Oyster Festival

  • Seafood Trail

The Seafood Festival also forms part of the Galway Oyster Festival. A new event has been added to the Festival, The Seafood Trail. The Seafood Trail is a recent addition to the Festival. It features select Galway restaurants that serve seafood popular during festival days. Some of the city’s best restaurants serve some of the most popular and iconic dishes from Galway and Ireland. The dishes served include Galway native oysters and Galway Bay Prawns. They also feature Irish beef, mussels, and fish stew. In 2023, 17 restaurants will be included in the food trail. These include McDonagh and West @ The Twelve. Other restaurants include Tartare, Sonny Molloys Brasserie, and Ruibin at The Galway Bay Hotel.Dine & Wine


There are many highlights of the Galway Oyster Festival. The spread of food, however, is an important part of this extravaganza. Only native oysters from Galway are available, and they have their unique taste. It is best to eat the oysters with a Guinness. Both tourists and locals in the city enjoy this combination.

The Festival offers a variety of food and cuisine, including oysters. In the Latin Quarter (a prominent area of the city), you will find most of these authentic restaurants and food stands. It is the perfect place to sample the extravagant spreads of food and drinks during the Festival. Other local dishes that you can try during the Festival are scampi (sausage coddle), Irish stew, Shephard’s pie, Boxty pancake, Colcannons, and more. Drinks include Guinness, Irish wine, beer and more.