When: September
Where: Galway, Ireland

The Galway International Oyster Festival is a food festival held annually in Galway during September, the first month of the oyster season. Inaugurated in 1954, it was begun by Great Southern Hotel manager, Brian Collins, and in 2000 was described by the Sunday Times as “one of the 12 greatest shows on earth”[1] and was listed in the 1987 AA Travel Guide one of Europe’s Seven Best Festivals.[2]

The reason why the International Oyster Festival began is all from the worries of a hotel manager. Brian Collins was the manager of the Great Southern Hotel, he was questioning himself about how he would be able to extend the tourist season through the month of September. The head chef of the hotel and Brian had discussed having oysters put into the menu since they were in season. Brian Collins realized that by not just adding oysters to the menu but having an oyster festival would surely increase tourists to their hotel. Therefore in September 1954, the first oyster festival was held, and still remains today as one of the longest running festivals of the world.

Galway International Oyster Festival website