Sligo to fea­ture on Oys­ter Trail

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

Wild At­lantic Oys­ters, the brand un­der which a num­ber of oys­ter pro­duc­ers of Sligo trade, has been re­vealed as one of the seafood pro­duc­ers to be pro­filed on the ‘ Taste the At­lantic- a Seafood Jour­ney’ trail along the Wild At­lantic Way route.

The trail, which of­fers vis­i­tor at­trac­tions de­signed to high­light Ire­land’s seafood and coastal her­itage was de­vel­oped by Bord Ias­caigh Mhara ( BIM) in part­ner­ship with Failte Ire­land.

The oys­ter pro­duc­ers of Sligo be­tween them em­ploy 33 peo­ple and pro­duce in ex­cess of 170 tonnes of oys­ters each year.

Vis­i­tors on the ‘ Taste the At­lantic – a Seafood Jour­ney’ trail can now learn about Sligo’s rich shell­fish pro­duc­ing her­itage. Sligeach, mean­ing “Shelly River”, de­rived its name from the abun­dance of sea shells found in the bed, and along the banks, of the Gar­avogue River as it meets the sea in the 7 km long es­tu­ary to Oys­ter Is­land.

Along this stretch of water, rich beds of flat or na­tive oys­ters were har­vested over gen­er­a­tions un­til the stocks were de­pleted in the early years of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury.

Jim O’Toole, CEO, BIM said: “We are de­lighted to have the op­por­tu­nity to tell the story of Sligo’s oys­ter her­itage to vis­i­tors. The Wild At­lantic Oys­ter pro­duc­ers have been cul­ti­vat­ing the Ir­ish rock oys­ter for the past 40 years. Through care­ful man­age­ment of the pro­duc­tion cy­cle, they en­sure the sus­tain­abil­ity of this valu­able re­source which of­fers a dis­tinc­tively lo­cal Sligo Bay flavour, much sought af­ter at home and on the ex­port mar­ket.” The oys­ters cul­ti­vated in this area are sourced from a lo­cal oys­ter hatch­ery run by Kevin O’Kelly in Drum­cliffe Bay - one of only three oys­ter hatch­eries in the coun­try – and grown and ma­tured along sev­eral sites in the pris­tine At­lantic Ocean.

One of the found­ing mem­bers of Wild At­lantic Oys­ters, Char­lie Kelly from just out­side of Sligo town, started farm­ing clams and oys­ters in 1986 in Lis­sadell. Speak­ing about his ex­pe­ri­ence, he said: “I have al­ways loved the sea go­ing back to child­hood fam­ily hol­i­days in Mul­lagh­more and my stu­dent days’ lob­ster fish­ing and an­gling on in­shore boats.

“I orig­i­nally trained as a teacher and owned a fish busi­ness be­fore I be­gan grow­ing oys­ters.

“I never ac­tu­ally got to teach in the class­room but I am happy to ed­u­cate any­one who will lis­ten about the fas­ci­nat­ing world of oys­ter cul­ti­va­tion!”

To learn more about Sligo’s oys­ter her­itage on the ‘ Taste the At­lantic – a Seafood Jour­ney’ trail, peo­ple are in­vited to visit Lis­sadell House where a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion tells the story of oys­ter farm­ing in the area.

Al­ter­na­tively, the Wild At­lantic Oys­ter Cart, a mo­bile unit which of­fers a fresh and healthy al­ter­na­tive to the nor­mal fast food is man­aged by one of Wild At­lantic Oys­ters youngest mem­bers, Glenn Hunter and can be booked for events and fes­ti­vals..

Char­lie Kelly of Wild At­lantic Oys­ters

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