Killiney and Inchydoney among record 83 beaches awarded Blue Flag status

Green Coast Awards also presented to 63 beaches with active community managers

Inchydoney beach in Co Cork. File photograph: David Kinsella

Inchydoney beach in Co Cork. File photograph: David Kinsella

 

With good news on the weather front for the weekend, holiday makers and day-trippers have been given an added boost by the announcement from An Taisce of a record number of Blue Flag awards for water quality at the State’s beaches and marinas.

One of the world’s most recognised eco-labels, since it began in France in 1985, Blue Flags were awarded to 19 beaches and two marines when Ireland joined in 1988 – rising to 83 beaches and 10 marinas this year – two Blue Flags more than last year, a record high.

Beaches singled out for praise in the awards included Portmarnock in Co Dublin; Salthill and Silver Strand in Co Galway; Ballinskelligs in Co Kerry; Inchydoney East Beach in Co Cork; and Rosses Point in Co Sligo.

Those who lost out were Ballymoney North Beach, Co Wexford, and Bertra in Co Mayo, both of which failed to achieve the excellent water quality rating necessary to obtain Blue Flag status in 2021.

Killiney Beach, Dublin. File photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Killiney Beach, Dublin. File photograph Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

There was also good news in the separate Green Coast Awards scheme for management of beaches with the retention of Ireland’s 63 awards. There were just two changes in the make up of the winners.

The Green Coast Award, recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty, but also includes beach management by Clean Coasts groups drawn from the local community. It is also administered by An Taisce.

The Long Beach at Rosses Point, Co Sligo. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
The Long Beach at Rosses Point, Co Sligo. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

At an online awards event on Tuesday morning, four additional beaches were given Blue Flags for 2021.

  • Inchydoney East Beach in Co Cork which has achieved Blue Flag Status for the first time. This beach has also retained Green Coast Award status held in 2020.
  • Warren, Cregane Strand in Co Cork has seen its blue Blue Flag status restored which it last held in 2013.
  • Killiney in Co Dublin has achieved restoration of the Blue Flag status last held in 2016.
  • Golden Strand in Co Mayo has regained Blue Flag status, last held in 2018.

The 83 beaches and 10 marinas being awarded the Blue Flag for the 2021 season were announced by An Taisce’s coastal awards manager who noted a total of 79 of the 81 beaches, and all 10 marinas awarded last year had retained Blue Flag status for 2021.

A total of 61 of the 63 Green Coast Awards went to beaches which retained their award from last year. There are two first-time recipients of the Green Coast Award in 2021: Rush South Beach in Co Dublin and Gurteen Bay in Co Galway.

The Green Coast Awards were first presented in 2003. The award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty.

The counties with the most Blue Flags for 2021 are Donegal and Kerry, which have 14 Blue Flags for their beaches and marinas.

The county receiving the most Green Coast Awards was Cork with 13, while six beaches achieved dual-award status.

They are: Portmarnock in Fingal; Salthill and Silver Strand in Co Galway; Ballinskelligs in Co Kerry, Inchydoney East Beach in Co Cork and Rosses Point in Co Sligo.

Blue Flag beaches and marinas by county

Clare
Ballycuggeran
Cappagh Pier
Fanore
Kilkee
Lahinch
Mountshannon, Lough Derg 
Spanish Point 
White Strand Doonbeg
White Strand Miltown Malbay 
Kilrush Marina
Portmagee Seasonal Visitors Pontoons
Cork
Redbarn Beach 
Barley Cove 
Garretstown 
Garrylucas, White Strand 
Inchydoney West Beach 
Owenahincha, Little Island Strand 
Tragumna
Youghal, Claycastle 
Warren, Cregane Strand
Inchydoney East Beach
Kinsale Yacht Club
The Royal Cork Yacht Club
Donegal 
Downings 
Rossnowlagh 
Greencastle Marina 
Rathmullan Marina 
Bundoran
Carrickfinn 
Culdaff
Fintra 
Killahoey
Portsalon
Marble Hill
Murvagh
Naran
Stroove 
Dublin 
Killiney
Seapoint
Portmarnock, Velvet Strand
Galway
Salthill 
Silverstrand
An Trá Mór, Coill Rua, Indreabhán
Cill Mhuirbhigh, Inis Mór 
Loughrea Lake
Trá an Dóilín, An Ceathrú Rua 
Traught, Kinvara
Bathing Place at Portumna
Kerry 
Inch 
Baile an Sceilg (Ballinskelligs) 
Ballybunion South
Ballyheigue
Banna Strand 
Doire Fhíonáin (Derrynane) 
Fenit
Kells 
Maharabeg 
Rossbeigh, White Strand 
Fionntrá (Ventry) 
White Strand, Caherciveen
Fenit Marina 
Louth
Clogherhead
 Port, Lurganboy 
Shelling Hill/Templetown
Mayo 
Golden Strand, Achill 
Carrowmore Beach, Louisburgh 
Clare Island, Louisburgh 
Dooega Beach, Achill Island
Elly Bay, Belmullet
Keel Beach, Achill Island
Keem Beach, Achill Island 
Mullaghroe Beach, Belmullet 
Mulranny 
Ross Beach, Killala 
Dugort Beach, Achill Island 
Sligo 
Rosses Point Beach
Waterford 
Clonea Beach 
Counsellors' Strand, Dunmore East 
Dunmore Strand, Dunmore East 
Tramore 
Ardmore 
Westmeath 
Killinure Point
Wexford 
Ballinesker 
Curracloe 
Morriscastle 
Rosslare Strand 
Carne 
Kilmore Quay Marina 
New Ross Marina
Wicklow 
Brittas Bay North 
Brittas Bay South 
Greystones South Beach 
Bray South Promenade