Galway Oyster Festival

As Hector Hugh Munro once said, “You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.”

It was the first week of September in 1953 and the worried manager of the Great Southern Hotel, Brian Collins, was looking at his near empty hotel. How could he extend the tourist season into September?

Later that day, while discussing menus with the head chef, it was suggested that oysters should be on the menu as they had just come into season. An idea came into Brian's head -"why not celebrate the opening of the oyster season with a festival?" - "In September 1954 we will have an oyster festival!"

True to his word with help from local businessmen and Guinness, the first festival took place the following September with 34 guests attending the first Oyster Festival Banquet and from such humble beginnings grew what is now regarded as one of the most celebrated and longest running festivals in the world.