Aisling Kelly, owner and manager of the Sligo Oyster Experience. Photo: Peter Grogan, Emagine

‘Oyster Experience’ added to Ireland's Atlantic trail

Ireland’s first dedicated oyster trail and interactive visitor centre has been officially opened in Sligo on the north west coast.

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"Wild Atlantic" oysters growing in bags at Sligo Bay. Photo: Peter Grogan, Emagine

Funding for Sligo Oyster Experience was secured under Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) administered Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) investment and it also received support from the BIM and Fáilte Ireland “Taste the Atlantic – a seafood journey” initiative.

Sligo Oyster Experience begins with a short walking tour, crossing the Garavogue river that runs through the town and out to Sligo Bay where oyster production has taken place for generations.

Shucking demonstrations

Owner and manager Aisling Kelly provides live oyster shucking demonstrations and tastings for visitors where she describes the sharp brine and rich finish of local “Wild Atlantic” oysters and highlights the shell’s distinctive purple hue from the minerals found in the surrounding Atlantic seabeds of Sligo Bay.

Jim O’Toole, CEO of BIM, welcomed the opening of the visitor centre and said: “The vision for Taste the Atlantic is to provide visitors the opportunity to explore, understand and get to know how the wild Atlantic waters influence the production and taste of some of Ireland’s seafood.”

To date, 21 producers form part of the Taste the Atlantic seafood trail that stretches from the Inishowen Peninsula at the top of Donegal to Oysterhaven Bay in Cork.

 Kelly said: “I’m thrilled the Oyster Experience, which has been developing as an idea for some time has finally come to fruition. It’s only the beginning, I’m really looking forward to developing it further and introducing a whole new audience both locals and visitors to Wild Atlantic oysters and Sligo Bay.”