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Connemara Mussel Festival launched

Wednesday, 8th March, 2017 1:01am

The 12th annual Connemara Mussel Festival will take place from 28-30 April, when 100,000 of Connemara’s finest mussels will be devoured in Tullycross.

The three-day event was officially launched on Saturday in Paddy Coynes Pub by team manager for the Wild Atlantic Way Brian Quinn, Jacinta Dalton of the faculty of The College of Tourism & Arts, GMIT and food ambassador for the Wild Atlantic Way, Sally and John McKenna of the acclaimed McKenna’s Guides, Galway County Council and Failte Ireland and the many sponsors who contribute financially to the Connemara Mussel Festival also attended.

Originally established to promote the excellence of the mussels of Killary Harbour, the Connemara Mussel Festival has grown from a small community event to a celebration of local people, food, culture and heritage and is recognised as the premier food event for Connemara, attracting visitors near and far.

Each year Killary Harbour produces up to 2,000 tonnes of ripe mussels, providing local employment that gives sustainable use of the natural marine resource. The Connemara Mussel Festival celebrates this high quality, local, natural food that is uniquely the Killary mussel. Killary Harbour’s exclusive mix of fresh and salt water is said to give the mussels their distinctive sweet flavour which visitors can enjoy over this unique weekend.

Some of the main culinary highlights include demonstrations from renowned chefs, a celebrity cook off, children’s cookery demonstrations with Jacinta Dalton and competitions with students from GMIT College of Tourism and Arts.

The festival will feature an exciting programme filled with leading chefs and cookery competitions, artists, theatre, music, concerts, children’s storytelling, face painting, guided walks and talks for the whole family. The children’s programme includes the ever popular ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ workshops, this year is entitled ‘Where’s Dory?’, and ‘Tegolin’s Tales’, a fun-filled children’s theatrical storytelling experience.

Along with a talk from gardener Klaus Laitenberg, who will concentrate on traditional methods of vegetable gardening, the 2017 Connemara Mussel Festival will share the stories of a community steeped in a rich and vibrant history with fascinating talks given by historians Joan Johnson and Cormac Ó Comhrai and archaeologist Michael Gibbons.

Returning this year will be the artisan market, running over the full weekend and showcasing the finest produce of the west of Ireland.

The Galway Gospel Choir will also make their first visit to the Mussel Festival and renowned Mayo singer James Kilbane will make his first visit to the festival performing a selection of Irish folk songs and ballads.

In the evenings there will be a variety of music and Killary mussels provided in the local pubs and restaurants.

For more information log onto www.connemaramusselfestival.com

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