Galway Oyster Festival launches Gathering event in the Big Apple

The competition hots up at the launch in New York.

The competition hots up at the launch in New York.

This year, as part of The Gathering Ireland 2013, the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival is going tribal. Recognised as the most famous Oyster Festival in the world, it is reaching out, across the globe, to descendants of the 14 Tribes of Galway and encouraging them to come home to celebrate their ancestry at the 59th Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, September 27-29. The new Tribal Oyster Feast Off, as part of 'The Gathering Ireland 2013', will take place in Galway on Sunday September 29 2013.

In 1477 Christopher Columbus visited Galway and Galwegians have similarly travelled the globe. Descendants of the 14 Tribes have been traced to the wineries of France – Chateau Kirwan and Chateau Lynch Bages, throughout the UK, Australia and also as early settlers of several states in America.

Launching the new event in Fitzpatrick’s Hotel Grand Central, New York City, Chairman Cian O Broin confirmed there will be further promotional events in North America and the UK, ‘Bucking the trend and reaffirming the reputation of the festival overseas, our top attendees travel from the UK followed swiftly by North America and we are delighted to be working with The Gathering Ireland to increase visitors to Galway from these markets’ said O’Broin.

Galway is calling its tribes back home – To enter is simple; You must share a surname of one of the 14 Tribes of Galway – Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, Skerritt OR be able to prove a link in your heritage/by marriage to one of the Tribes, then email [email protected] to advise your interest in entering. There is no fee to enter the competition itself and tickets will also be provided for the competitor to give to family/friends. Entrants must be non-resident in Ireland and ideally an Oyster lover. Competition will be fierce as each contender will be asked to feast on a tray of oysters. The winner will be he/she that eats them the fastest watching out for penalties for sloppy savouring!

Established in 1954, The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival has welcomed over half a million visitors, consumed more than three million oysters – washed down with Bollinger champagne and Guinness whilst listening to some of the best musicians in Ireland. The festival has played host to over 300 international contenders vying for the World Oyster Opening title and are currently proud hosts of the Irish National Oyster Opening Champion, the European Oyster Opening Champion and the World Oyster Opening Champion – all in one man – Michael Moran of Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan, Co. Galway.

In addition to the Tribal Oyster Feast Off, there will be blind tastings, wine and beer pairings, cookery demonstrations, live music, family fun, the traditional National and World Oyster Opening (shucking ) Championships and the hugely successful Masquerade Mardi Gras style Gala event which will move through the streets of Galway. Check out www.galwayoysterfestival.com for more details or email the team on [email protected]

The Festival organisers would like to thank The Gathering Ireland, IPB Insurance, Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and General Manager, Patrick Leyden and his team in Fitzpatrick’s Hotel Grand Central, New York City for their support.

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