Meet the owner

Patrick McMurray is a shucking legend in the oyster world. The owner of The Ceili Cottage currently holds the Guinness World Record for oyster shucking. In 2010, he cracked 38 oysters in one minute.

“I eat about six oysters a day,” says Patrick. “That’s why I’m 963 years old and only look like I’m 46.”

As a table busser in his teen years, he says shucking was just one of those things he picked up along the way. “Then I got good at it,” says Patrick, who also owns Starfish Oyster Bed in Toronto’s west end.

A degree in kinesiology is also to thank for his mind-blowing skill. “Sport sciences allowed me to better use my time,” he says matter-of-factly, as if his love for shucking is all work and no play. “Even when I’m bussing tables, I think in time efficiency.”

Since then, Patrick has designed his own ergonomically friendly shucking knife (the Shucker Paddy) that comes complete with a padded pistol grip for fingertip force. He says the knife makes for some fast, easy, safe shucking, even for the novice shucker.

Read the story of The Ceili Cottage

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    Appears in 13 Smart Lists

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    This traditional Irish pub starts St. Patrick’s Day off at 11 a.m. The celebration includes live music from A New Ground, The Mere Mortals and Calendonian Country. You can even enjoy your food and drinks in the heated tent. Tickets are available in advance.

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    Owner Patrick McMurray has collected an impressive array of whiskies at Ceili Cottage to be enjoyed in the wee cottage or out in front in the cozy yurt. There are of course Irish, US and Canadian selections, with others coming from far and wide as Scotland, France, Wales, Australia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Sweden and even two from the Amrut Distillery in Bangalore, India. Now that’s the way to keep warm this winter.

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    I can't say I've ever seen a yurt in a restaurant before, but there's a first time for everything. As if the chaming old stone cottage weren't enough, Ceili has been recently furnished with a yurt outside, to extend the seating in the colder months. The 21-foot wood-framed igloo-ish-shaped structure was handmade and hand-painted in Mongolia, and is insulated with layers of sheep’s wool felt and cotton canvas to keep out the chill. Warm, cozy, and lit by candlelight, it is a sweet stop for a spot of lunch or dinner. And of course, oysters.

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