Connacht Abu! Connemara Mussel Festival

“Oh! my boat can swiftly float,
In the teeth of wind and weather.
And out-sail the fastest hooker,
Between Galway and Kinsale.
When the white rim of the ocean
And the wild waves rush together.”

The Queen of Connemara

We’re off to beautiful Connemara as Sea Food Festival season continues apace with the Connemara Mussel Festival on the May bank holiday weekend (29th April – 1st May). It takes place in Tully Cross, a small idyllic village located on the Renvyle Peninsula in West Connemara. Now in its 11th year, the festival began as a way to promote the superb mussels from Killary Harbour but over the years it has grown into a broader celebration of the best of Connemara’s food, culture and heritage.

web-Killary Harbour 03

Killary Harbour

The mussels of Killary Harbour are known for their high quality and excellence. The natural fjord is ideally suited to growing rope mussels with the tradition of farming mussels beginning in the 1980s. They are a valuable and sustainable natural marine resource that provides local employment with up to 2000 tonnes of rope mussels produced each year.

killary rope mussels

Rope Mussels As the name suggests, grown on rope

This year’s festival will be bigger than ever with an impressive programme of events to lure in the crowds. Here’s just some of the highlights not to be missed:

connemara mussels fest

The delicious sea food, naturally

Of course the festival’s main focus is on the food, and with exceptional local mussels and other produce they have much to celebrate. There will be a number of talks and demonstrations aimed at the exploration and demonstration of the wondeful range of foods produced locally. There’ll be competitions, cook offs, top tips, tastings and panels with experts chefs. 
Cyclist tully cross

The great outdoors

Connemara boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland so while you’re down there why not make the most of it.  Out and about you can participate in a 5km run, cyclings tours and an archaeological field trip to learn all about the fascinating history of the region.

kids entertainment

Entertainment for the kids

There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained. Let them be enchanted by theatrical storytelling, spellbound with Bernardo the magician and charmed by Ella the world’s smallest cow and her friends! Plus much more.

watercolour connemara

Interesting culture & insight

Between concerts, theatre, talks and exhibitions you will be spoiled for choice of what to do. Learn about life in Tully Cross and Connemara during the Rising at the 1916 exhibition, find out about the history of the area, an Oscar Wilde connection, life before the famine and talks from the RNLI. There will also be live music and theatre and a get few top tips by experts to keep the garden in check!  

The Connemara Mussel Festival is on 29th April to the 1st of May. It’s definitely worth a trip west!

For more info: Connemara Mussel Festival

Love seafood? Here’s the best Seafood festivals around Ireland

About the Author

Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22