Croí Cultúrtha na hÉireann – it means ‘Ireland’s Cultural Heart’, and it’s definitely the best way to sum up Galway. Yes, the weather is quite average, but we promise that there is nothing boring about the rest of the county. Why? There are countless events and festivals to discover all year round and here are some of our favourites…
1. Galway Comedy Festival
Russel Howard, Sean Lock, Jason Byrne and Lee Mack…these are just some of the big names that will be making an appearance this year at the Galway Comedy Festival – not to mention the chance to get a first look at many more up and comers who are set to break the world of stand-up.
Most of the shows you’ll see will be premieres – giving you an opportunity to sample fresh material from your favourite acts – as well as some of the biggest hits from the Edinburgh Fringe.
One such hit (and one of the highlights of the festival) is ‘Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience’, this is an interactive three course dinner where you’ll be served by the characters from the show, so naturally, anything that can go wrong probably will. There will also musical performances from Chic and Primal Scream.
The festival takes place for six days over the October bank holiday weekend (October 22nd – 28th) and a full line-up will be revealed on 11th September. Although ticket sales don’t go live until 9am on Friday 13th September, there are some events – including ‘Faulty Towers’ – that are available right now. Check out the site for more information.
2. Galway Oyster Festival
If you’re looking to get stuck in to traditional Irish Culture, the Galway party scene and of course, eating oysters, the Galway Oyster Festival is the perfect event. You can sample some local Irish stout, learn about ‘shucking’, and, if you happen to be connected to one of the 14 Galway’s tribes by name, compete in the ‘Tribal Oyster Feast Off’…
The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with a traditional ceremony where Galway’s mayor is served the first oyster of the festival. The evening promises the chance to witness the National Oyster Opening Championships, a global event in the world of ‘shucking’ – the technical term for opening oysters – which culminates in the World Oyster Olympics on the next day.
Saturday also promises Galway’s take on Mardi Gras with the ‘Oyster Masquerade Mardi Gras Extravaganza’: 3 venues, 5 bands, prosecco and plenty of oysters with a wild street party in between.
The festival takes place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th September. For more information visit the festival site.
3. The Galway Continental Christmas Market
The Galway Continental Christmas market has attracted over 400,000 visitors from around the world in previous years and this year promises to be the most exciting yet. You can sample food from both local and European traders and take in the quaint setting with a stroll along the River Corrib. The market is also traditionally a great way to check out Galway’s local bands and DJs.
The market runs throughout December (2013 dates and times TBC).