The village of Tullycross once again pulled off an amazing feat – the Connemara Mussel Festival celebrated its 10th birthday in 2015 and it was undoubtedly the most successful mussel festival yet. Drawing people from all over the world as well as throngs of local people, the festival has grown year on year. With the involvement of the College of Tourism and Arts at GMIT, the food demonstration area once again became the epicentre of the very best that the west of Ireland has to offer in terms of seafood and culinary skills. But it would be very remiss to think that this festival is solely about food. Local culture, heritage and the arts were all catered for in what really was a most amazing programme of events.
Cooking up some mouth-watering dishes in the Festival Maquee were Michellan star chef JP McMahon (Aniar), Martin O’Donnel (12 Hotel) and Tim O’Sullivan Renvle House Hotel. Sean O’Rourke and Michael Lally vied for Celebrity Chef while Thomas Flaherty took the amateur title. Jacinta Dalton and Maria Conboy cooked for kids and GMIT students battled for the inaugural Student Chef Trophy. Outside in the sunshine people enjoyed street food, vintage motor bikes, RNLI boat (Charity Partner) and street entertainers. The Artisan Market was packed with fantastic local producers and fresh food. The Church was the venue for RTE ConTempo quartet with Joan McBreen, theatre and talks including Verena Roes history of Tullycross, Michael Gibbons on local archaeology and Sven Haberman (Conservation Letterfrack) on Conservation and Restoration of furniture objects. Local artists displayed their extraordinary talent in the Wild Atlantic Art Exhibition and Ella the smallest cow in the world even strolled into town for the weekend!
In the evenings there was country music dancing, a wine, beer and cheese tasting event and on the final night a 70’s Fancy Dress Disco, while the pubs in the village provided live music every evening and mussel dishes all day. All in all a fabulous weekend was had by all.
The first sign the visitor got of the festival was the “Viking” ship covered in shields displaying the logos of some of the many local and national sponsors. The committee particularly wish to thank all the festival’s sponsors as well as Failte Ireland and Galway County Council for their support, without which it would simply not be possible to stage the festival.
Roll on 2016 and the next Connemara Mussel Festival!