Clarinbridge is all about oysters! And lots of them! Oysters beautifully presented with garlic butter and a zesty lemon dressing! And generations of visitors have been stopping off in Clarinbridge to savour its signature dish, and wash it down with Arthur Guinness’s favourite medicine. Indeed, so important were oysters to Clarinbridge, that the world-famous Clarinbridge Oyster Festival was founded in 1954. Its Heineken-like catchphrase “probably the most succulent oysters in the world” is now relayed right across the globe. These days the festival is as much a social event as it is about food, and visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the colour and the fun. The rich oyster beds lie close by, caressed by the invigorating waters of Galway Bay.
The picturesque village of Clarinbridge lies at the head of beautiful Dunbulcaun Bay. The name of the town was derived from the ancient bridge which crossed the Clarin River. As the crossing point grew in importance the village formed around it, and it prospered to become the town we see today. On the banks of the river is an historic earthwork which is reputed to have been a medieval fortification. On the east coast close to the Ballynamanagh Bridge, is ancient Dunbulcaun, a ringfort with a motte-type, central mound. A visit to the local church will reveal an ancient stone tablet in its porch showing a rather fine carving of the Virgin Mary standing on a crescent moon and crowned with stars.
Just south of Clarinbridge is Kilcolgan Castle, located on the banks of the Kilcolgan river, and over-looking Galway Bay. This 11th Century castle was rebuilt by the St George Family in the late 18th Century. In more recent years it has been extensively and sensitively refurbished by the late Hon. W.N. Gustafson von Hillerstamm.
Moran’s Oyster Cottage, located in beautiful Kilcolgan, dates back almost three hundred years, and is now run by the seventh generation of the Moran family. It is famous for it’s wonderfully tasty oysters, and attracts enthusiastic patrons from all five continents.
Getting to Clarinbridge
By bus, or car. Bus Eireann provide regular services from Galway to Clarinbridge. Alternatively follow the N18 south from Galway to Clarinbridge.
Follow The coast
Clarinbridge is surrounded by beautiful coastal towns. Don't miss Galway and An Spidéal if you are travelling north, and don't miss Kinvara, and Ballyvaughan, if you are travelling south.
Where to Stay
Clarinbridge offers a whole range of accommodation types, from guesthouses, to holiday cottages, and home B&B's.
1. Set sail on beautiful Galway Bay, embarking at the Renville Sailing Club, which is conveniently located near Kilcolgan Castle.
2. Test the waters of the Dunkellin River, famous for it’s salmon and trout fishing. Kilcolgan Castle holds exclusive fishing rights on the stretch of the river flowing alongside it’s perimeter. Contact reception at the Castle. Enjoy.
3. Spend a day horseriding in the grounds of Kilcolgan Castle. The sand arena is used to train the show jumpers and lessons may be booked for all levels. There are several places in the area to go trekking.