Updated: Sep 22, 2021
County Louth – particularly the Carlingford area – is famed for its world-class oysters, and two of the nine producers featured as part of the sea louth scenic seafood trail specialise in cultivating these jewels of the ocean: The Carlingford Oyster Company and Cooley Oysters.
September hails the start of oyster season, and the mighty mollusc – packed full of nutrients and sustainable seafood champion – is having a moment. Here are five fascinating facts about oysters to tempt you to see, eat and admire the sea louth trail.
Picture: Cooley Oysters
1. Humans have been cultivating and eating oysters for thousands of years. There is evidence that oysters have been eaten at least since pre-historic times, and the Romans were the first to cultivate them. Oysters were highly prized and even used to make roads, as well as their shells ground into skin ointments.
2. Oysters are one of the most sustainable seafood types. Their environmental impact is minimal as they do not need to be fed and, instead, they eat plankton. Each oyster can filter up to 1.3 gallons of water per hour, and their shells are Calcium Carbonate (caCO3), which sequesters carbon.
3. Carlingford Oysters and Cooley Oysters are considered among the best oysters in Ireland, if not the world – flavour profile determined by the water in which they are reared – the A-Grade waters of Carlingford Lough. Oysters cultivated along the sea louth scenic seafood trail are therefore remarkably sweet, with a rich, creamy taste.
4. Oysters can change their gender. Though oysters are born male, many go on to become female.
5. Oysters are good for you. The mouth-watering molluscs are bursting with protein and nutrients, including vitamin B12, iron and monounsaturated fat. It’s little wonder so many restaurants along the sea louth scenic seafood trail are proud to feature oysters from Carlingford Lough on their seasonal menus:
Served straight-up with a shot of Guinness at The Glyde Inn in Annagassan; grilled with spring onion, cheddar and garlic crumb at PJ O’Hare’s, Carlingford; baked in a hearty beef pie at Ghan House; and available at other sea louth participating restaurants including The Carlingford Arms and Fitzpatrick’s Bar & Restaurant – however you like your oysters, the unique sweet taste and high meat content of Carlingford Oysters and Cooley Oysters takes any dish to the next level.
Browse a full list of restaurants participating in the sea louth scenic seafood trail here.
Keywords: sea louth, scenic seafood trail, Carlingford oysters, Cooley oysters, Irish oysters, Irish seafood, sustainable seafood