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Welcome to the oldest oyster festival in the world and the most internationally recognised Irish festival after St Patrick’s Day. Deemed one of Europe’s longest-running food extravaganzas, the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival was launched in September 1954. That year just 34 guests attended the first Oyster Festival Banquet and feasted on several dozen oysters each. These days, the event is one of the biggest on Ireland’s social calendar, drawing more than 22,000 visitors in 2012 who gleefully downed tons of the famous native Galway Oysters.

It has been described by the Sunday Times as “one of the 12 greatest shows on earth” and was listed in the AA Travel Guide one of Europe’s Seven Best Festivals.

The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival is held on the very last weekend in September to celebrate Galway’s rich annual oyster harvest (in season from September – April. Growing every year,  The Irish and World Oyster Opening or ‘shucking’ Championships are held during the Irish food festival, as well as top class entertainment, street parades, seafood trails, celebrated hospitality, the start of many new friendships, flowing champagne and of course, rich, creamy Irish stout.

“Irelands longest running and greatest gourmet extravaganza” – The Rough Guide, ’50 things to do before you die’

The World Oyster Opening Championships take place on Saturday 23rd September, the day begins with a lively ‘parade of competitors’ which weaves its way through the narrow medieval streets of the city down to the Festival Marquee on Nimmo’s Pier.  There will be plenty of noise, colour and excitement for all to enjoy. The highly competitive World Oyster Opening Championships is the highlight of the day. Oyster openers from all over the world will be vying for the title. There will be plenty of live music throughout the day.

Maldron Hotel Sandy Road is the ideal base for exploring Galway and enjoying the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival – after a busy day, why not relax and enjoy a pint of Guinness in our Point Bar or some delicious seafood in the Olive Tree Bistro.