The Galway Oyster Festival has evolved from very modest beginnings. In September 1954, 34 guests attended the very first Oyster Festival Banquet. The idea presented itself when in 1953, Brian Collins, manager of the Great Southern Hotel was facing a bleak September with a deserted hotel.
Brian was mulling over the challenge of filling his hotel by extending the tourist season into September when the head chef recommended that oysters be included on their menu as they had just come into season. Eureka! Therein born the idea of celebrating the opening of the oyster season with a festival and the creation of what is now regarded as one of the most celebrated and longest running festivals in the world.