Blue Flag awards: is your local beach on the list?
Six beaches conferred with ‘dual’ Blue Flag and Green Coast status
Portmarnock is one of six beaches that have achieved dual Blue Flag and Green Coast status. Photograph: Collins
Blue Flags have been awarded to 81 beaches and five marinas around the State’s coastline - six more than last year.
Six of the 81 beaches are also among 58 locations conferred with national Green Coast status by Minister for Environment Alan Kelly on behalf of An Taisce.
Portmarnock, Portrane and Donabate in north Dublin, Salthill and Silver Strand in Galway and Rosses Point in Sligo have secured this “dual status”, according to the environmental organisation.
Wexford’s Ballinesker beach has been given a Blue Flag for the first time, as has the marina at Kinsale Yacht Club, Co Cork, while the coveted status has been regained at Cork’s Redbarn and Garretstown beaches.
Five beaches which lost out last year due to works associated with severe winter storm damage have also regained their flags: Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point in Co Clare, Mulranny and Bertra in Co Mayo and Rossbeigh, Co Kerry.
Wicklow’s Brittas Bay North, Enniscrone, Co Sligo and Skerries south beach in the Fingal area of north Dublin lost their flags due to failure to comply with water quality requirements.
Beaches have to meet a total of 33 criteria for the Blue Flag status, which is administered by An Taisce on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education. In the North, 10 beaches and two marinas have been awarded blue-flag status.
Kerry and Donegal are leading counties with a total of 13 Blue Flags, while Mayo has a total of 12 and Clare has a total of nine.
Co Galway’s five beaches retaining Blue Flags include Loughrea lake in the east of the county, while the city retained its two flags at Salthill and Silverstrand.
The five marinas which hold Blue Flags are Killinure in Co Westmeath, Kilmore Quay and New Ross in Co Wexford, the Royal Cork Yacht Club at Crosshaven, and Kinsale, Co Cork.
Green Coast awards, which are given to areas classified as “exceptional places to visit”, were conferred on Bishop’s Quarter and Seafield in Co Clare, for the first time, while Ballyhealy, Ballmoney, Booley Bay, Grange and St Helen’s Bay in Co Wexford also secured this status.
Fingal’s The Burrow and Cork’s Inchydoney East have received Green Coast awards for the first time.
Donegal’s Rathmullan and Sligo’s Enniscrone failed to meet the Green Coast water quality standards, while Ballycastle in Co Mayo and Skerries in north Dublin did not apply to retain their 2014 Green Coast designations.
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly, who presented at total of 144 awards at Ballinskelligs beach, Co Kerry, paid tribute to the “sterling efforts of local authorities, An Taisce and local communities” in ensuring that their beaches “meet the standards of excellence required for a Blue Flag or Green Coast award”.
An Taisce’s coastal programmes manager Annabel FitzGerald noted that those beaches and marinas which “achieved the accolade” had complied with “strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, facilities for visitors, beach management, environmental education and the provision of information”.
She also paid tribute to the volunteers involved in 440 “clean coast” groups, noting that over 500,000 pieces of litter and other items were removed from the marine environment during some 800 beach cleans last year.
Blue Flag beaches 2015
5. Balcarrick, Donabate
10. Brittas Bay South
16. Counsellors’ Strand
17. Dunmore East
29. White Strand
38. Ballybunion South
39. Ballybunion North
40. Cappa Pier
43. Spanish Point
44. Miltown Malbay
49. Loughrea Lake
52. Silver Strand
53. Trá Mhór
AN CHEATHRÚ RUA
54. Trá an Dóilin
CILL RÓNÁIN, ARAN
55. Cill Mhuirbhigh
58. The Harbour
64. Golden Strand
66. Elly Bay
67. Ross Killala
68. Rosses Point
Blue Flag marinas 2015
1. Kilmore Quay
2. New Ross ‘Three
3. Royal Cork Yacht
4. Kinsale Yacht Club
5. Killinure Point marina
Northern Ireland Blue Flag beaches
1. Magilligan (Benone)
5. Portrush (Mill) West
6. Portrush (Whiterocks
9. Murlough Beach
10. Cranfield Bay
Northern Ireland Blue Flag marinas
1. Ballycastle Marina
2. Ballyronan Marina