One of Ireland’s leading Michelin star chefs Kevin Thornton stepped out of the kitchen to launch the country’s longest running food festival, the 59th Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival.
Taking place from Thursday 26 to Sunday September 29, thirty thousand people are set to visit Galway with an expected €9 million economic injection generated from the four day event.
Established in 1954, The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival has welcomed more than half a million visitors and consumed more than three million oysters, while listening to some of the best musicians in Ireland. This year it is set to make festival history with a 50 per cent increase in international visitors.
“I am delighted to be involved in the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, as it is close to my own heart of celebrating our local Irish seafood and highlighting the importance of terroir or ‘merroir’ in the case of our Irish oysters,” said Thornton at the launch. He will judge the ‘Hot Oyster Awards’ at the festival marquee on Sunday September 29.
In the week leading up to the festival, there will be a number of fringe events to enjoy such as; the Seafood Trail of Galway’s restuarants; a sushi master-class in RAW at the Radisson and Oysters, Ulysses, and Joyce in Aniar Restaurant on Thursday September 26; food producer tours on Friday September 27; and the Tribes Alive tour of Galway on Saturday September 28.
Throughout the festival there will be the usual events to whet the appetite of oyster enthusiasts. The opening night begins at 7pm on Friday September 27 with the Laurent Perrier National Oyster Opening competition. On Saturday September 28 the Guinness World Oyster Opening Championship will take place from 2pm to 9pm, with some 20 countries competing, as well as the food village featuring the food of some of Galway’s top restuarants. On Saturday September 28 from 8pm the Masquerade ‘Mardi Gras’ Extravaganza is a moveable feast with a course in each venue.
Finally, on Sunday September 29, the Tribal Oyster Feast-Off is an event for all the family. Children go free and will enjoy fun and games as well as cooking demonstrations from Kevin Thornton. The LookWest.ie ‘Best of the West’ Cook-Off will see four budding chefs bring their favourite recipes to life using local west of Ireland products. Sunday will also feature the Tribal Oyster Feast-Off oyster eating competition.