SeaFest 2018 to showcase Galway gastronomy

Hugo and Ciara Johnston with a very old lobster at SeaFest 2017, the National Maritime Festival, in Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure.

Hugo and Ciara Johnston with a very old lobster at SeaFest 2017, the National Maritime Festival, in Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure.

As Galway is the European Region of Gastronomy 2018, this year’s SeaFest will also celebrate the city’s food heritage and culture. From farmer and fisherman to chef, restaurateur or consumer, food plays a critical role in all our lives in Galway. The European Region of Gastronomy 2018 designation will focus on the vital role of the food industry in the west of Ireland, and showcase the high quality and rich produce available in the region.

In the festival’s Food Village, the Gastronomy Showcase Van will host seafood cooking classes and demonstrations from Galway food producers and restaurateurs.

Galway Bay Seafoods and GMIT will offer some tips about preparing and preserving seafood, as well as some simple seafood recipes for children. In partnership with Udarás Na Gaeltachta, a cookery demonstration presented in Irish will also be held each day at the Gastronomy Showcase Van. The demonstration will use Gaeltachta ingredients from land and sea.

Elaine Donohue, programme lead for the European Region of Gastronomy said SeaFest 2018 offers a unique opportunity to celebrate the history and culture of seafood in this area.

“With 689 kilometres of coastline, many of Galway’s towns and villages have a history of fishing and eating fresh fish and shellfish,” Ms Donohue said. “From oysters to wild salmon, and even seaweed – Galway is well-known for its rich marine offerings, and this year’s festival will highlight the seafood that is an important part of the region’s identity.”

As well as sensational seafood, SeaFest will offer a packed programme of free, family-friendly events. Thrilling performances from world-champion Flyboarders, tours of ocean-going vessels, boat trips, kayaking and sailing sessions are just some of the activities on offer. The Atlantic Theatre will host inspiring talks and films, and children will be kept busy with a range of fun and educational marine-themed workshops running over the weekend.

Serving up a seafood experience at SeaFest 2018

Visitors to Seafest will also be able to see a display of a variety of live fish and shellfish species from Irish waters, such as lobsters, Dublin Bay prawns, spider crabs, oysters, scallops and other common seafood species. Other Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM ) highlights at the national maritime festival include an immersive virtual reality experience where visitors can plunge to the oceans’ depth and learn about fish that are sustainably caught and farmed around the coast in Ireland.

There will also be opportunities for visitors to climb on board a 45 metre super pelagic trawler ‘Girl Stephanie’ and to meet owner and retired fisherman Pauric Connelly, his daughter Stephanie, and son and captain Tomás and his crew of six to learn about fish stocks and the sustainable fishing practices of the Irish fishing fleet.

BIM’s Taste the Atlantic brand ambassador Joan Mulloy will be sailing to Seafest in her Figaro yacht which will be lifted out of the water and open to visitors to tour. Joan Mulloy is the daughter of Galway mussel farmer, Michael Mulloy of Blackshell Mussels, and the first Irish female to compete in the famous Solitaire du Figaro yacht race in France.

SeaFest 2018 will also have exhibits concerning the growing global issue of marine litter, and some of the initiatives, including Fishing for Litter, in which the fishing sector, and local community groups in Ireland are participating.

BIM will also promote the importance of safety at sea with live demonstrations of the latest compact personal flotation devices for fishermen in a custom made pool outside the exhibit.

Jim O’Toole, CEO at BIM, said; “Ireland is an island nation and we welcome the opportunity to make more people aware of what happens in our waters and of how Irish seafood is sustainably produced. Seafest is an important platform for us to showcase the great efforts the men and women in the industry are taking to protect Ireland’s marine environment and develop the industry as a global leader in sustainably sourced seafood.”

To view the full festival programme visit seafest.ie and follow SeaFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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