Ireland is in its oyster era.
September is officially the start of Irish oyster season, running straight through the Winter to April - an easy way to remember is that the best time to slurp 'em is during any month with an 'r' in it. That means the next few months are the perfect time for you to get shucking!
But with so many different restaurants offering oysters nowadays, it can be hard to choose the right place to go to get the best oysters around.
Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of the top oyster spots in the country, so you know exactly where to head next time you fancy a slurp.
Moran's Oyster Cottage
As the name might suggest, Moran's Oyster Cottage is famous for its molluscs and widely regarded as the perfect spot to get a taste of the delicacies of Galway Bay, accompanied by a creamy pint if the mood takes you.
The oysters here come from Galway's Clarenbridge Oyster Bed, a natural bed at the mouth of the Dunkellin and Clarenbridge Rivers producing healthy native oysters which grow over 4-5 years, before being expertly prepared by the team at Moran's.
Oscar's Seafood Bistro
Dominick St Upper, Galway City
In a city full of seafood-only restaurants, Oscar's stands out from the crowd with a regularly changing menu ensuring the freshest and most on-season dishes, including oysters served a number of ways. The grilled oysters topped with crunchy breadcrumbs are a must for anyone who's trying to ease themselves into the slurp life, and of course there are batches of Galway's finest served up raw for the purists among you.
Linnane's Lobster Bar
New Quay, Clare
What was once a traditional thatched cottage with a small pub has been transformed into a beautiful seafood restaurant that oozes character.
This quayside spot tends to fill up quickly so be sure to book in advance - the oysters from Linnane's are famous and seafood fans travel from all over for a fresh iced dozen.
Kealy's Seafood Bar
This family run restaurant is situated in the picturesque fishing village of Greencastle in Donegal. Its exterior is unassuming (so often the indicator of a great spot), and you could easily walk by without discovering the gorgeous seafood selection that waits behind its doors.
The Oyster Tavern
You'll find The Oyster Tavern in the heart of Tralee Bay, so you can enjoy stunning views while you dine.
They source their ingredients locally, and ensure only the freshest seafood gets served up at the restaurant. A great spot if you're in the mood for a bit of live music to accompany your seafood.
Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue is so committed to serving only the freshest seafood around, that if they can't find a suitable catch of the day, they won't open their doors.
So if you're lucky enough to dig into a batch of oysters for dinner, you can take comfort in knowing that they really are the freshest that Dingle has to offer.
The Oyster Tavern
St Patrick's St, Cork City
Tucked away on a Cork City side street, The Oyster Tavern has an amazing seafood offering and friendly staff on hand to talk you through each dish. The food on offer is mostly from the nearby English Market, and the quality speaks for itself. Oysters are served on ice with your choice of a Bloody Mary shot or shallot vinaigrette, with tabasco and lemon slices ready and waiting.
Finn's Farmcut, Max's Seafood, Fishy Fishy, The Black Pig
The scenic sailing town of Kinsale has grown in popularity in recent years, and whether you're looking for good old fashioned fish and chips (Dino's is a must) or Michelin-standard oysters, you really can't go wrong. There are a number of great restaurants excelling in the seafood department, we've listed a few of our favourites above - some of these spots serve based on the season, so check ahead if its oysters specifically you're craving.
Matt The Thresher
Matt The Thresher gives customers a wide choice of oysters with offerings from Carlingford Lough to Galway Bay with consistent high quality regardless of origin.
Matt The Thresher's Tipperary location has been serving the community of Birdhill for over 30 years, and has an upmarket vibe making it perfect for special occasions.
Carlingford Oyster Company
Any Irish oyster lover knows Carlingford's offering well - the unique sweet taste and meaty texture are a testament to the passion of this family-run business, and its not surprising that they're a go-to supplier for some of the top restaurants across Ireland and the UK. If you'd like to enjoy their oysters closer to the source though, Carlingford offer tours of their farm with an opportunity to taste the oysters and bring some home with you. They're also in the process of building a restaurant onsite - to book a tour, get in touch with them at [email protected].
Did we miss out your favourite place to enjoy oysters in Ireland? Let us know, and if you're looking for Dublin oyster spots you can peruse our top picks right here.
Header images via Instagram / Oyster Tavern Cork / Out of the Blue Dingle