Waterford News

Waterford beaches among four to lose blue flag status

Waterford beaches among four to lose blue flag status
The Blue Flag is a certification that a beach, marina or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its stringent standards.

A record number of Irish beaches have won the prestigious blue flag and green coast awards, though six sites have failed to retain the environmental accolades.

Some 159 beaches and marinas won an award from An Táisce in 2023, two more than last year.

The 94 beaches and marinas awarded blue flag status include three new additions all from Co Mayo – Bertra, Clare Island and Old Head. A blue flag is awarded for “excellent” water quality.

The four beaches to lose blue flag status are Cappagh Pier, Kilrush in Co Clare, Garretstown in Co Cork, and Counsellors' Strand and Dunmore Strand in Dunmore East, Co Waterford.


The Green Coast Award has included 65 awards for the 2023 bathing season. This is an increase of three awards compared to last year and the highest number of awards given since its establishment.

The three new sites awarded a Green Coast Award are Carrowniskey Beach, Co Mayo, awarded for the last time in 2019, Bettystown in Co Meath, awarded for the first time, and Rosslare Harbour Beach in Co Wexford, last awarded in 2021.

The Green Coast is awarded for excellent water quality and environmental management.


Waterville in Co Kerry and Portacloy in Co Mayo, last awarded in 2022, did not receive a Green Coast Award after not achieving the “excellent” water quality status required.

Eight beaches received both the blue flag and Green Coast Award. They are Fountainstown and Inchydoney East Beach (Co Cork), Balcarrick, Donabate (Fingal), Salthill Beach and Silverstrand Beach (Galway City), Trá Inis Oírr (Co Galway), Baile an Sceilg, Ballinskelligs (Co Kerry) and Rosses Point Beach in Co Sligo.

The director of An Taisce’s environmental education unit Cathy Baxter the number of awards is a tribute to the “immense dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set by these prestigious award programmes.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony on Donabate beach in north Dublin by the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien.


The minister said: “During its 36 years, the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety.

“Today’s high number of awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers around the country.”

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