Oysters & Guinness

24 Aug 2010

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter. “You’ve had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?” But answer came there none- And that was scarcely odd, because They’d eaten every one.’  –Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter.

The first time I had an oyster I wanted to try out the “aphrodisiac” quality. Not sure it worked on me, though I must say I did find the flavour and sense of gastronomic adventure very desirable. The native Irish oyster “Ostrea Edulis” can be found throughout the coastal regions of Ireland and would be considered traditional seafood fare dating back to the 13th Century. The best way to enjoy the full flavour of oysters is to eat them raw, served on the half shell to hold their succulent juices. Fresh lemon juice or a drop of Tabasco sauce are often used as condiments and a cold pint of Guinness served on the side makes for a wonderful Summer supper.

Oyster culture is probably one of the most environmentally friendly types of farming as it doesn’t require any entrants to be added from the exterior (neither feed nor medication). It has also an extremely low and often negative carbon footprint. Oysters feed themselves on elements which are naturally found in the seas where they grow. The oyster farmer’s task is to simply accompany the natural growth of oysters by managing stocking densities and thereby naturally influencing shell shape and growth rates.  Irish oysters are coveted and are exported to a huge demand in France as well as the UK, Belgium, Germany and more distant markets such as the Ukraine, China and Japan.

The Galway International Oyster Festival takes place each September and has evolved from very modest beginnings. In September 1954, 34 guests attended the very first “Oyster Festival Banquet”. Now, thousands of people from around the world gather together to eat oysters and drink Guinness each year. The festival takes place this year the 22-26th of September and promises to be filled with loads of fun and frolic.

Perhaps we shall see you there?

Slan Abhaile,


Photo by Imen McDonnell. Assisted by Master Geoffrey McDonnell.

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5 Responses to “Oysters & Guinness”

  1. There are some wonderful photographs on your site. Its left me pleasantly excited for the 20th anniversary of Hereford Photography Festival in the UK which I’m just heading off to. Thanks for sharing.

  2. josie says:

    oh yum! those look delicious! i’ll be in erie next week but sadly will be leaving right before the festival. i was hoping to enjoy some irsh oysters anyway.
    have a great day!
    great photo by the way 🙂

  3. Clare says:

    I adore oysters but I’m not a big fan of Guinness…however, I think I may have to try the combo! I have seen people here actually pour a little of the black stuff directly onto the oyster, so I imagine the combo must be quite good! Lovely photos as always 🙂

  4. Melinda says:

    Shame I don’t drink or eat oysters – you displayed those in a very appetizing way Imen. Nicely done (to Master Geoffrey too)!

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