22 Cork beaches have received Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards for this year.
Cork has been awarded a total of 12 Blue Flag beaches and marinas for this year, which represents a record annual haul for the Rebel County. 13 Cork beaches were awarded Green Coast Awards for 2021.
In total Cork has 22 beaches receiving awards in 2021, more than any other county. 22 beaches in Cork are receiving a total of 23 awards, Inchydoney East is one of the six sites nationally that has received a Blue Flag and a Green Coast Award.
The retention of Blue Flag status by both Kinsale Yacht Club and Royal Cork Yacht Club means that Cork has 12 Blue Flag beaches and marinas for 2021, which represents a record total.
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 additional beaches brings the total number of beaches managed by Cork County Council to ten, the joint highest to date.
The following Cork beaches were named Blue Flag beaches for this year: 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 and Royal Cork Yacht Club.
The following Cork beaches were awarded Green Coast Awards for 2021: Sherkin Island Silver Strand Beach, Ballyrisode, Galley Cove, Inch Strand, Ring, Ardnahinch Shanagarry, Fountainstown Beach, Rocky Bay, Dooneen Pier, Red Strand, Inchydoney East, Cadogan’s Strand and Garnish Beach Lehanmore.
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said:
“I want to offer my sincere congratulations to each of the communities who have won these most prized awards. Winning a Blue Flag or a Green Coast award is a collective effort with local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers on the ground all playing their part,” he said.
Mr Ian Diamond Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce speaking at the virtual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award presentation ceremony said:
"I would also like to commend the many thousands of Clean Coasts volunteers who make an invaluable contribution to the protection of Ireland’s coastal environment, not just at the beaches receiving a Green Coast Award today, but all along the coastline and along riversides, canals and lakeshores inland.
"Without the collaborative approach to beach management demonstrated by Local Authorities and Clean Coasts groups around the country the Green Coast Awards would not be possible,” he added.
Nationally there were a total of 93 Blue Flags and 63 Green Coast Awards for 2021 which 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 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.
The Green Coast Awards 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.