Ireland has received 93 Blue Flags for its best beaches and marinas this year, the record figure is two more than 2020.
Donegal and Kerry have 14 flags each followed by Cork on 12.
Inchydoney east beach and Warren in Cork, Killiney in Dublin and Golden strand in Mayo got a Blue Flag this year, while Ballymoney North beach in Wexford and Bertra in Mayo lost theirs.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels, it 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 two marinas received the Blue Flag in Ireland.
This year Ireland continues to punch above its weight with a record breaking 93 sites awarded, up two 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.
Green Coast Award
A total of 63 beaches received the Green Coast Award for the 2021 bathing season. The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in Co Wexford, then the award was rolled out nationally in 2008.
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.