blue flag1

Royal Cork Yacht Club host Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards 2017

A Record 88 Blue Flags and 61 Green Coast Awards awarded for the 2017 Season

On Monday, 22nd May, An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2017. The awards were presented by Senator Jerry Buttimer at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Co. Cork.

blueflag3Speaking at the awards Senator Buttimer said:

“On this, the 30th anniversary of Blue Flag awards in Ireland, I am happy to announce that a total of 149 Blue Flag and Green Coast awards will be made today, which is an increase of 8 awards from last year and represents a record high.”

“The Blue Flag has become a truly global symbol with an ever-increasing number of countries participating in the programme.   The programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas and challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Over the years, the programme has become a highly respected and recognised eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors.  There are also very tangible economic benefits to be derived from our marvellous coastal environment and quality facilities, both at local, regional and national levels.  I am very honoured to be associated with the prestigious Blue Flag programme on its 30th anniversary and to present the awards to this year’s very worthy recipients.” 

Dr. Michael John O’Mahony, Director at An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit speaking at the awards said:

“I would like to thanks and acknowledge the work of the Local Authorities and marina operators here today for all their efforts in ensuring that the sites being awarded for the 2017 bathing season have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards. I would also like to commend the many thousands of Clean Coasts volunteers who participate in community clean-ups and coastal enhancement projects in their local areas throughout the year. It is the work of the Local Authorities and Clean Coasts Volunteers that ensures that Ireland’s fablueflag2ntastic beaches remain clean and safe for everyone to enjoy”.

Blue Flag

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The Blue Flag originated in France in 1985 when French coastal Local Authorities were awarded with the Blue Flag for compliance with sewage treatment and bathing water quality criteria. It was launched as an International programme as part of the “European Year of the Environment in 1987. In 1988, the first year sites were awarded outside of France 19 beaches and 2 marinas received the Blue Flag in Ireland. This year is the 30th year of the Blue Flag as an international programme, more than 4250 beaches, marinas will be awarded in 47 countries globally.

The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world.  The 81 Irish beaches and 7 marinas that have achieved this accolade adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.

The number of sites receiving the award is up 3 on 2016, whilst 3 of the beaches awarded in 2016 did not retain Blue Flag status, the Blue Flag will be raised for the first time at both Portumna in County Galway and at Greencastle Marina in County Donegal. Bray South Promenade regains Blue Flag status, having not flown the Flag since 2000. Redbarn and Garretstown in Cork and Ross in County Mayo regained Blue Flag status lost in 2016.

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE).

Sites not retaining Blue Flag status for the 2017 season

The Blue Flag requires applicants to achieve an annual classification of ‘Excellent’, the highest rating achievable under current bathing water legislation. The following beaches did not retain Blue Flag status for the 2017 as a result of the annual bathing water classification being downgraded from Excellent to Good status based on samples taken over the previous 4 bathing seasons:

  1. Lisfannon in Donegal,
  2. Killiney in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown
  3. Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal.

61 Beaches receive the Green Coast Award for the 2016 Bathing Season

The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford, it was rolled out nationally in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups of which there are now over 500 comprised of thousands of volunteers throughout the island. These volunteers participate in community clean-ups and coastal enhancement projects at their local beaches throughout the year.

61 beaches in Ireland were awarded the Green Coast Award representing an increase in 5 awards since 2016. Ballyallia Lake in Clare has been awarded a Green Coast Award for the first time. Castlegregory; Littor; Waterville and Ballinskelligs in Kerry received Green Coast Awards for the first time. Fountainstown and Rocky Bay in Cork have regained the award for 2017 and Cullenstown Strand in Wexford has been awarded for the first time since 2011

Having not met the excellent water quality standard required Mullaghmore in Sligo failed to retain the award for 2017. Applications were not received from Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal, Boatstrand in Waterford and Ballymoney in Wexford.

1.     Blue Flags Awarded by Management Body 2017: 88 (+3)

Management Body Site Name Award Status 2017 Comment
Clare County Council Ballycuggeran (Killaloe) Awarded A small Lakeside bathing area, Ballycuggeran has retained it’s Blue Flag status for the coming season
Clare County Council Cappa pier Awarded All 9 Blue Flags awarded to Clare beaches in 2016 have been retained for the coming season.
Clare County Council Fanore Awarded Retained
Clare County Council Kilkee Awarded Retained
Clare County Council Lahinch Awarded Retained
Clare County Council Mountshannon Awarded Retained
Clare County Council Spanish Point Awarded Retained
Clare County Council White Strand Doonbeg Awarded Retained
Clare County Council White Strand Miltown Malbay Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Redbarn Beach Awarded Has regained Blue Flag status lost in 2016 due in part to improved water quality.
Cork County Council Barleycove Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Garrylucas Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Inchydoney Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Owenahincha Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Tragumna Awarded Retained
Cork County Council Garretstown Awarded Has regained Blue Flag status lost in 2016 due in part to improved water quality.
Cork: Kinsale Yacht Club Kinsale Yacht Club Awarded The first of the current Blue Flag marinas to be achieve Blue Flag status has once again retained Blue Flag status
Cork: Royal Cork Yacht club The Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina Awarded  Retained
Donegal Lisfannon Not Awarded Lisfannon was not awarded due to drop in Annual Bathing Water Classification from Excellent to Good. Excellent status is the standard required to award the Blue Flag. The loss of Lisfannon and the first time awarding of Greencastle leaves Donegal 2nd only to Kerry in the number of Blue Flags awarded for 2017 with 13. This is the same number as last year.
Donegal County Council Downings Awarded  
Donegal County Council Rossnowlagh Awarded  
Donegal County Council Greencastle Marina Awarded Awarded for the first time
Donegal County Council Bundoran Awarded
Donegal County Council Carrickfinn Awarded  
Donegal County Council Culdaff Awarded  
Donegal County Council Fintra Awarded
Donegal County Council Killahoey Awarded  
Donegal County Council Magherawarden (Portsalon) Awarded  
Donegal County Council Marblehill Awarded  
Donegal County Council Murvagh Awarded  
Donegal County Council Portnoo /Naran Awarded  
Donegal County Council Shroove Awarded  
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Killiney Not Awarded There was no Blue Flag application for Killiney for the 2017 season. It would not have been awarded due to drop in Annual Bathing Water Classification from Excellent to Good.
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Seapoint Awarded
Fingal County Council Donabate Balcarrick Beach Not Awarded Donabate was not awarded due to drop in Annual Bathing Water Classification from Excellent to Good. Excellent classification is the standard required by Blue Flag.
Fingal County Council Portmarnock/Velvet Strand Awarded
Galway County Council An Trá Mhór (Inverin) Awarded Galway County Council retains the 5 Blue Flags awarded in 2016 and Portumna is awarded a Blue Flag for the first time.
Galway County Council Cill Mhuirbhigh (Aran) Awarded  Inis Mór retains it’s Blue Flag
Galway County Council Loughrea Lake Awarded This inland bathing area on the shores of Lough Rea lake retains its Blue Flag for another season.
Galway City Council Salthill Awarded Galway City retains both Blue Flags awarded last year.
Galway City Council Silverstrand Awarded Both Silverstrand and Salthill are dual award beaches, having also received a Green Coast Award for the 2017 season
Galway County Council Trá an Dóilin (An Cheathrú Rua) Awarded  
Galway County Council Traught Awarded  
Galway County Council Portumna Awarded
Kerry County Council Inch Awarded  
Kerry County Council Ballybunion North Awarded  
Kerry County Council Ballybunion South Awarded  
Kerry County Council Ballyheigue Awarded  
Kerry County Council Banna Awarded  
Kerry County Council Fenit Awarded  
Kerry County Council Kells Awarded  
Kerry County Council Magherabeg Awarded  
Kerry County Council Rossbeigh Awarded  
Kerry County Council Ventry Awarded  
Kerry County Council White Strand Caherciveen Awarded  
Kerry County Council Fenit Marina Awarded Fenit Marina retains Blue Flag status for the coming season.
Kerry County Council Ballinskelligs Awarded  
Kerry County Council Derrynane Awarded Kerry Awarded the most Blue Flags with 14
Louth County Council Port/Lurganboy Awarded Louth retains all 3 flags awarded in 2016
Louth County Council Shellinghill/Templetown Awarded  
Louth County Council Clogherhead Awarded A beach wheelchair is available to book at Clogherhead.
Mayo County Council Bertra Awarded Mayo awarded 12 Blue Flags for the 2017 season
Mayo County Council Carrowmore Awarded  
Mayo County Council Clare Island Awarded  
Mayo County Council Dooega Awarded  
Mayo County Council Elly Bay Awarded  
Mayo County Council Golden Strand Awarded  
Mayo County Council Keel Awarded  
Mayo County Council Keem Awarded  
Mayo County Council Mullaghroe Awarded  
Mayo County Council Mulranny Awarded  
Mayo County Council Silverstrand Dugort Awarded  
Mayo County Council Ross Killala Awarded  
Quigley’s Marina (Westmeath) Killinure Point Awarded Blue Flag Marina on the river shannon retains it’s Blue Flag status for the coming season.
Sligo County Council Rosses Point Awarded Retains both Blue Flag and Green Coast Award status received in 2016
Waterford City and County Council Clonea Awarded Waterford retains all four flags awarded in 2016 at: Clonea; Councillors Strand; Dunmore Strand and Tramore
Waterford City and County Council Councillors Strand Dunmore East Awarded  
Waterford City and County Council Dunmore Strand Awarded  
Waterford City and County Council Tramore Awarded  
Wexford County Council Ballinesker Beach Awarded Wexford retains Blue Flags at all 6 Blue Flag beaches awarded last year
Wexford County Council Courtown Awarded
Wexford County Council Curracloe Awarded
Wexford County Council Morriscastle Awarded
Wexford County Council Rosslare Awarded
Wexford County Council Ballymoney North Beach Awarded  
Wexford County Council Kilmore Quay Marina Awarded Wexford retains Blue Flags at both Blue Flag Marinas awarded in 2016
Wexford County Council New Ross Marina Awarded  
Wicklow County Council Brittas Bay North Beach Awarded Wicklow retains the 3 Blue Flags awarded last year and a Blue Flag will fly over Bray South Promenade for the first time in 17 years.
Wicklow County Council Brittas Bay South Beach Awarded  
Wicklow County Council Greystones Awarded  
Wicklow County Council Bray South Promenade Awarded Bray has not held a Blue Flag since 2000.

 2.        Green Coast Awards by County 2017: 61 Beaches (+5)

  County/City Beach Name Details
1 Clare Bishops Quarter Clare retains the 2 Green Coast Awards, awarded in 2015, at Bishops Quarter and Seafield.
2 Clare Seafield
3 Clare Ballyallia Lake The first inland bathing area to be awarded a Green Coast Award
4 Cork Ardnahinch Cork is being awarded 12 Green Coast Awards. Cork has retained the award at 10 sites from 2016, and added Foutainstown and Rocky Bay for the coming season
5 Cork Ballyrisode  
6 Cork Dooneen Pier  
7 Cork Rocky Bay Rocky Bay and Fountainstown have regained GCAs lost in 2016 and 2013 respectively due to improved water quality.
8 Cork Fountainstown
9 Cork Galley Cove  
10 Cork Garnish  
11 Cork Inch  
12 Cork Oysterhaven  
13 Cork Ring  
14 Cork Red Strand  
15 Cork Inchydoney East  
16 Donegal Ballyhernan  
17 Donegal Dooey Beach  
18 Donegal Drumnatinney  
19 Donegal Magheroarty The Velvet Strand also received a Blue Flag.
20 Donegal Port Arthur  
21 Fingal Portmarnock Fingal will be awarded 2 Green Coast Awards. Balcarrick in Donabate lost its GCA due to a decline in the Annual water quality classification.
22 Fingal The Burrow
23 Galway County Aillebrack Galway County has retained all 6 Green Coast Awards from 2016
24 Galway County Dumhach
25 Galway County East End Inisbofin
26 Galway County Renvyle
27 Galway County Trá Inis Oirr
28 Galway County Trá gCaorach Inis Oirr
29 Galway City Salthill Galway City has retained 2 Green Coast Awards. These 2 beaches are dual award achieving Blue Flag status also.
30 Galway City Silver Strand
31 Kerry Béal Bán Kerry has retained the Green Coast Award for Béal Bán. 4 beaches have received a GCA in Kerry for the first time: Castlegregory; Littor; Waterville and Ballinskelligs, which is a dual award site.
32 Kerry Castlegregory
33 Kerry Littor
34 Kerry Waterville
35 Kerry Ballinskelligs
36 Mayo Carrowniskey Mayo has 6 Green Coast Awards all retained since 2016
37 Mayo Cross, Belmullet  
38 Mayo Portacloy  
39 Mayo Silver Strand  
40 Mayo Srah  
41 Mayo Termon  
42 Meath Mornington Regains GCA last held in 2012
43 Sligo Dunmoran Sligo awarded 3 GCAs
44 Sligo Streedagh
45 Sligo Rosses Point Rosses Point has once again achieved dual award status.
46 Waterford Guillamene Waterford is being awarded 7 Green Coast Awards having retained the Flag at 7 sites. Boatstrand did not achieve the required water quality standard and so misses out this year
47 Waterford Annestown
48 Waterford Ballyquin
49 Waterford Curragh
50 Waterford Goat Island
51 Waterford Kilfrassey
52 Waterford Newtown Cove
53 Wexford Old Bawn Wexford will be awarded 8 Green Coast Awards in 2016 having retained the flag at 7 sites and regained one at Cullenstown Strand, which has not held a Green Coast Award since 2011.
54 Wexford Cahore
55 Wexford Culleton’s Gap
56 Wexford Ballyhealy
57 Wexford Cullenstown Strand
58 Wexford Booley Bay
59 Wexford Grange
60 Wexford St Helens Bay
61 Wicklow Arklow South Beach Wicklow has retained the Green Coast Award for Arklow South Beach
61  Awarded sites, the most ever topping the 58 awarded in 2015


Mullaghmore in Sligo and Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal did not meet the excellent water quality standards required to retain Green Coast Award status for 2017. There was no Green Coast Award application from Ballymoney in Wexford, Ballymoney was awarded a Blue Flag for the 2017 season.


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