Ireland covers an area of 70,285 km² (of which 1390 km² as waters) and has 3.8 million inhabitants. The capital is Dublin. The average life expectancy is 73.5 years. The population consists of 93.1% Catholics and 2.4% Anglicans, Presbyterians and Jews.
It is spoken Gaelic and English (as a lingua franca). Ireland has a cool temperate climate. One-seventh of the country (about 10000km²) are covered with bogs. Large areas of coastal areas are covered with heath, swamp and marshes. Only 4.9% of the land is forested. The national drink is Guinnes.
We had the tip that every September in September in Galway on the west coast of Ireland an Oysterfestival takes place. We decided to book a flight to the island. With the pre-booked car we drove from the airport in a few minutes to the city of Galway. The hotel directly in the city center was also pre-booked, what the festival is absolutely necessary, since at this time everything is fully booked.
Galway is a vibrant city of 60,000 and is the gateway to Connemara. Downtown Galway is medieval-style with its winding cobblestone streets. It’s a colorful crowd of jugglers, artists, locals and tourists alike mixed into the city’s Oyster Festival. In addition, the city is full of young people because of the university located here. The cafes and pubs are crowded in the late afternoon. The Oyster Festival is “the attraction of the year”. Parades and vintage car parades take place during the festival.
It shows and wants to be seen, is hilarious and celebrates. Music bands move through the streets in colorful sequences, encouraging people to celebrate. The mayor has the honor to open the first oyster of the season.
After that, the festival is opened. Thousands of oysters are offered in a giant tent in front of the city. In addition, plenty of champagne and of course Guinness flows. The TV stations of the country are filming all activities and in the evening the spectacle will be broadcasted on national television. In all major hotels parties take place, but you have to sign up first. The festival starts on Fridays and ends on Sunday. On Saturday evening, an international competition will be launched to identify the participant who needs the shortest oyster opening time. In each case 100 oysters must be opened per participant.
The field of participants is international. The winner will be given a title and a lot of honor at the end of the event. The guests have the obligation to consume the opened oysters then, of course, against payment of an entrance fee. But so many oysters can be slurped as you can tolerate. Not infrequently, many have been spotted late in the evening with a protein shock. The event is accompanied by music and dance groups. The whole thing is a Riesespass and an experience of a special kind.