Music, Dancing and Lovely Fresh Oysters 3rd – 5th May 2019 < Back

Holiday Locations in Ireland




And we have a winner! Will it be you this year?

Carrigaholt Oyster and Trad Festival is a fabulous weekend of music, dancing and oysters and this is its 29th year. From Friday 3rd of May to Sunday 5th the whole of Carrigaholt will be in festival mode. There are 4 pubs in Carrigaholt. Carmodys, The Long Dock, Morriseys and Keanes. Each will have their own entertainments – all will be serving oysters every evening and there will be an oyster bar and oyster eating competition out side the The Long Dock on the Sunday.

How many oysters can you eat in one sitting?

There will be music in every pub.

Learn to play the bodhrán with Robbie and be part of the Bodhrán Buzz!

The Oyster and Trad Festival is one of the busiest weekends for Carrigaholt with visitors from all over the world traveling to sample the top quality food, music and of course, the party atmosphere.

Tony Lynch of the Long Dock showing Saoirse how to shuck an oyster.

Tony Lynch the chef/owner of The Long Dock serves oysters from Carrigaholt Bay. Oysters are one of the most popular delicacies on the menu. There will other delicious food on the menu at The Long Dock as well as oysters. For example you can enjoy Long Dock Surf and Turf night while enjoying a great music session with the Maguire Family.

The Long Dock will be hosting the competition to see who eat the most oysters in one sitting. Each of the 4 pubs in Carrigaholt will get through hundreds of oysters a day over the long weekend. That’s a lot of shucking!

Did you know each oyster shell makes a perfect stand for each oyster?


To see the full line of the Festival, have a look here –

Oyster cultivation in Ireland dates back to the 13th century but consumption of oysters in Ireland has been a tradition for over 4,000 years.

“At Dunloughan Bay, near Ballyconneely in County Galway, shell middens, dating from the early Bronze Age to the tenth century A.D., are being exposed by erosion and over-grazing. These sites give a wonderful snapshot of history and contain rich deposits of oysters, cockles, limpets, winkles, dog whelks and razorfish interspersed with burnt stones and wickerwork reduced to charcoal. Oysters seem to dominate the earlier Bronze Age sites, winkles and limpets the later ones.”

(M Mac Con Iomaire – ‎2006]

The Historyof Seafood in Irish Cuisine and Culture

Today, Irish oyster growers still use traditional methods to provide ideal conditions for their Irish rock oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and native flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) to grow. Oysters from the Shannon are rich and varied in taste with each bay, in which they are grown, contributing to this distinctive flavor – a combination of lingering sweet iodine flavours with a hint of nut to subtle citrus notes.

The unique blend of wild Atlantic waters, clean freshwater rivers and minerals from an unspoilt landscape makes each Shannon oyster a unique taste experience. Due to abundant plankton and the exceptional growing conditions around the Irish coast, oysters from the Shannon estuary have distinctively high meat content. The constant flow of the Atlantic around the estuary also helps shape each oyster into a perfect tear-drop shape with a very strong shell and a smooth pearly white enamel. Oysters from the Shannon are rich in protein and low in fat with exceptionally high levels of trace elements such as iodine, iron, selenium copper and zinc. Coupled with the unspoilt growing conditions available in the Shannon this is as natural and pure as food can be.

Oysters are generally graded from 4 being the smallest  to 00 being the largest. Number 4 oysters weigh 45 -65 g, number 3’s weigh 65- 85, number 2’s weigh 85 – 110 and number 1’s weigh 110-150g. Then you get into the big time, size 0 are 150 -200g and the 00 are 200+g

It is interesting to know which countries enjoy which size of oyster. France tends to buy the rather dainty number 4 oyster as an amuse-bouche and serve the slightly larger number  3’s and 2’s as appetisers.  Italy seems to prefer the number 2 size oyster. Ireland and the rest of Europe tend to enjoy more number 2’s and 1’s. Japan and china favour the the larger 0 and 00.


There are various oyster farms along the estuary. From Carrigaholt up to Poulnasherry Bay and Moyasta.  The oysters are grown in mesh bags strapped to trestles at the low water mark. Once the tide is out the oysters can be tended and collected.

Hugh Sheehy

Hugh Sheehy farms oysters at Poulnasherry Bay.  The name Poulnasherry means ‘Hole/Bay of the Oyster  Working in all weathers, but on a day like this – it is beautiful. With views up and down the Shannon and across to Scattery Island.

Beautiful views across the Shannon.

We hope to see you here in Carrigaholt for the Oyster & Traditional Music Festival.

It promises to be a great weekend of Food and Music in one of the most beautiful and unspoilt spots along the Wild Atlantic Way.


If you are longing for some Oysters right now here are a couple of recipes for you to enjoy at home.

Three ways to cook oysters.


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