Today, the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2021 were announced by the Education Unit of An Taisce. The number of Blue Flags awarded this season set a new record for the Republic of Ireland.
The Blue Flag and Green Coast Award sites for 2021 were announced by Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager with An Taisce’s Environmental Education unit this morning in a virtual awards ceremony attended by Local Authorities, marina operators and Clean Coasts groups who volunteer at the beaches receiving Green Coast Awards this year.
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 Ireland continues to punch above its weight with a record breaking 93 sites awarded, up 2 on last year’s total.
The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and inland bathing waters around the world. The 83 Irish beaches and 10 marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.
Today 10 marinas awarded the Blue Flag for the 2021 season were announced by Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager with An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit.
- Kilrush Marina,
- Portmagee Seasonal Visitors Pontoons,
- Kinsale Yacht Club,
- Royal Cork Yacht Club,
- Kilmore Quay Marina,
- Greencastle Marina,
- Rathmullan Marina,
- Fenit Marina,
- New Ross Marina
- and the only inland marina is Quigleys Marina at Killinure Point, County West Meath.
83 beaches have been awarded the 2021 Blue Flag, 79 from last year and 4 additional beaches have obtained Blue Flag status for the 2021 bathing season.
In Cork, Warren Cregane Strand has regained Blue Flag status last held in 2013, while Inchydoney East has been awarded a Blue Flag for the first time. The awarding of these two beaches brings the total number of beaches awarded the Blue Flag in Cork to 10 the joint highest to date. The retention of Blue Flag status at both Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club means that Cork has a total of 12 Blue Flag beaches and marinas a record annual haul for the rebel county. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has been awarded a Blue Flag for Killiney for the first time since 2016. Golden Strand on Achill island in County Mayo has regained Blue Flag status last held in 2018. The improvement in bathing water quality rating at Warrren, Cregane Strand, Killiney and Golden Strand over the past four seasons has enabled their being awarded this year.
Irish Sailing's Sustainability Officer, Gail MacAllister, is on the Blue Flag award jury that meet each year to evaluate the applications before going on to the International Jury.
If your marina or beach is interested in applying for 2022 head over to the Beach Awards site here to find out how.
To be eligible for the Blue Flag a beach/marina has to fulfill all imperative requirements. In addition, the fulfillment of a maximum number of guideline criteria for beaches and marinas is taken into account. It is necessary for beach applicants to include bathing water data from the previous 4 seasons with Blue Flag applications.
63 Beaches receive the Green Coast Award for the 2021 Bathing Season
The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford, then the award 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 in the management of awarded sites.
Today the 63 beaches to receive Green Coast Award status were announced by An Taisce a virtual awards ceremony to representatives of the Local Authorities and Clean Coasts groups responsible for their management.
61 of the beaches awarded in 2020, of which 61 have retained Green Coast Award status for the coming season. There are 2 first time recipients of the Green Coast Award in 2021: Rush South Beach in Dublin and Gurteen Bay in County Galway.