Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

80 Blue Flags For Ireland's Beaches & Marinas In 2014

4th June 2014
80 Blue Flags For Ireland's Beaches & Marinas In 2014

#BlueFlag - 80 swimming spots around Ireland's coast - comprising 76 beaches and four marinas - have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for 2014, an increase of six on last year.

And a further 54 beaches were recognised in the National Green Coast Awards, nine more than in 2013.

Blue Flag applications were received for 81 beaches in total, though five beaches - Bertra and Mulranny in Mayo, Rossbeigh in Kerry and Miltown Malbay and Spanish Point in Clare - were not awarded the clean water accolade due to ongoing works to repair extensive damage caused by the winter storms.

However, eight Blue Flags were regained across four local authority areas.

Four were regained in Portmarnock, Portrane, Donabate and Skerries South Beach in Fingal, while Morriscastle in Wexford and Ballybunion North in Kerry regained their Blue Flags after failing to comply with water quality criteria in 2013.

In Waterford, two Blue Flags were regained in Councellors Strand and Dunmore Strand.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at Skerries South Beach today (Wednesday 4 June), Environment Minister Phil Hogan said Ireland's performance in this year's Blue Flag awards is a "testament to efforts of communities, local authorities and An Taisce and the sterling work they do.

"Results might even have been better except for the devastation of the storms last winter which caused significant damage in some areas.”

An Taisce's Patricia Oliver said that “In order to be eligible for the Blue Flag, a beach or marina must comply with strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, facilities for visitors, beach management including litter control, environmental education and the provision of information.”

Meanwhile, Trá gCaorach Inis Oirr in Galway and Kilfrassey in Waterford were first time winners in the National Green Coast Awards, which recognise beaches that may lack the necessary infrastructure for Blue Flag consideration but are judged on "clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty".

Some 54 beaches in Ireland were awarded the Green Coast Award, representing an increase of nine awards.

Only Dog’s Bay in Galway lost its Green Coast Award due to considerable infrastructural damage at the beach as a result of the storms.

Oliver added that an important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups, of which there are now over 400 comprising thousands of volunteers throughout the island.

“Clean Coasts groups contribute significantly to the protection of Irelands coast," she said. "In 2013 over 700 beach cleans took place and these groups removed over 500,000 items of marine litter from the marine environment.”

“Local authorities, marina operators and local communities should be commended for their efforts in achieving Blue Flag and Green Coast award status today."

The full list of Blue Flag and National Green Coast Awards recipients can be downloaded below.

Published in Coastal Notes
MacDara Conroy

About The Author

MacDara Conroy

Email The Author

MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.