Galway – Ireland
Capital of Festivals, from the Arts to Oysters
Poised at the very edge of Europe and in the heart of one of Ireland’s most beautiful counties, the city of Galway is “the most Irish of all Irish cities.” The ancient Gaelic love for language and music flourishes here in Ireland’s unofficial arts capital, one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, its energy level kept vibrant by the local university.
The city can seem to be one big festival, particularly in the summer, emphasizing the people’s love for all things Irish. It is also the country’s most musical town, so those who come for the famous Oyster Festival (which launches the September— April season of the Galway Bay oyster, Ostrea edulis) will find the pubs and streets filled with the lilt of the Irish fiddle.
An “Oyster Pearl” beauty queen reigns over the festival, which has spawned similar events in the neighboring fishing villages of Clarenbridge and Kilcolgan (usually in early September). Many make the short trip to Kilcolgan just to experience a meal at Moran’s Oyster Cottage on the Weir, legendary oyster headquarters. Willie Moran is the sixth generation of his family to run this venerable thatched cottage pub serving award-winning oysters from the Morans’ own private oyster beds.