THE CLARENBRIDGE OYSTER
The Clarenbridge oyster bed is situated at the mouths of the Dunkellin and Clarenbridge rivers. It consists of 700 acres of sea-bed.
Oyster beds require a combination of fresh and sea water. Therefore they will only survive where a river enters the sea. If there is an excessive amount of fresh water, for example, after a season of heavy rainfall, the oyster will become too fat and open.
The Clarenbridge Oyster Bed is a natural bed. It is not cultivated in any way. The dredging season lasts from late November to the end of December. It is dredged every year by about 60 boats each having two people. These people would be local farmers. During dredging, oysters less than 3" in diameter must be cast back into the sea again so that the stocks would not be diminshed.
Oysters are bought by about five local dealers - each of these would own their own private steeping ground. They in turn would meet the demand from restaurants in the area and the export market to France, England, etc.