Press Room

88 Blue Flags and 62 Green Coast Awards awarded for the 2019  

Please note: A PDF of this press release is available here. 

Today, An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2019. The awards were presented at ceremony held at The Armada Hotel overlooking Spanish point Blue Flag beach in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare this afternoon.  

Speaking at the awards ceremony International Blue Flag Director Sophie Bachet Granados, who presented the Blue Flags said: 

“The Blue Flag has operated in Ireland for over thirty year’s now. At The Foundation for Environmental Education we have been impressed by the standard of the sites from Ireland over this period. The Blue Flag is a symbol of excellence in environmental education, management, water quality, safety and services. I am delighted to be here today at Spanish Point, County Clare with our national operators An Taisce to present the Blue Flags to the Local Authorities and Marina Operators successful in achieving the Blue Flag standard”.   

The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Green Coast Award sites are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity 

An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups of which there are now over 800 comprised of thousands of volunteers throughout the island. Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce in announcing this year’s Green Coast Award recipients stated: 

“These awards are not easily achieved and represent a real effort by local authorities in cooperation with Clean Coasts groups to reach the highest standards in water quality and environmentally sensitive beach management. An Taisce would like to acknowledge in particular the dedication of Clean Coasts groups around the coast who give up their time to care for their local beaches throughout the year.” 


Blue Flag 

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.  

The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the world.  The 80 Irish beaches and 8 marinas that have achieved this accolade must adhere to specific criteria related to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and site management.  

The number of sites receiving the award is down 2 on last year’s total. Rathmullan Marina in Donegal has achieved Blue Flag Status for the first time this year. All 7 marinas awarded in 2018 have retained Blue Flag status for the coming season. 80 of the 83 beaches awarded in 2018 retained Blue Flag Status for 2018. 

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE)49 Countries operate the Blue Flag programme globally and more than 4500 sites and eco-tourism boats will be awarded in 44 countries this year. 

The Blue Flag programme in Ireland is supported by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 


62 Beaches receive the Green Coast Award for the 2018 Bathing Season 

The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford, it 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 management of sites in partnership with local Clean Coasts groupsThese volunteers participate in community clean-ups and in cooperation with Local Authorities help sensitively manage their local beaches throughout the year. 

This year’s total of 62 is the highest number of sites to receive a Green Coast Award in Ireland to date. Seapoint in Termonfeckin and Rinroe in Co. Mayo are both first-time recipients of the award in 2019. Seapoint in Termonfeckin is the first site in County Louth to receive a Green Coast Award. Cadogan’s Strand in Cork has regained a Green Coast Award for the first time in 8 years. 

In the Republic of Ireland the Green Coast Award is operated by An Tasice’s Environmental Education unit with the support of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and Fáilte Ireland. 

An International Award the Green Coast Award is coordinated Northern Ireland and Wales by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy respectively. 


  1. Blue Flag Beaches Awarded by Management Body 201980 (3)
  Management Body  Site Name  Award Status 2018  Award Status 2019 
1  Clare County Council  Ballycuggeran (Killaloe)  Awarded  Retained 
2  Clare County Council  Cappa pier  Awarded  Retained 
3  Clare County Council  Fanore  Awarded  Retained 
4  Clare County Council  Kilkee  Awarded  Retained 
5  Clare County Council  Lahinch  Awarded  Retained 
6  Clare County Council  Mountshannon  Awarded  Retained 
7  Clare County Council  Spanish Point  Awarded  Retained 
8  Clare County Council  White Strand Doonbeg  Awarded  Retained 
9  Clare County Council  White Strand Miltown Malbay  Awarded  Retained 
10  Cork County Council  Barleycove  Awarded  Retained 
11  Cork County Council  Garretstown  Awarded  Retained 
12  Cork County Council  Garrylucas  Awarded  Retained 
13  Cork County Council  Inchydoney  Awarded  Retained 
14  Cork County Council  Owenahincha  Awarded  Retained 
15  Cork County Council  Redbarn Beach  Awarded  Retained 
16  Cork County Council  Tragumna  Awarded  Retained 
17  Donegal County Council  Carrickfinn  Awarded  Retained 
18  Donegal County Council  Culdaff  Awarded  Retained 
19  Donegal County Council  Downings  Awarded  Retained 
20  Donegal County Council  Fintra  Awarded  Retained 
21  Donegal County Council  Killahoey  Awarded  Retained 
22  Donegal County Council  Magherawarden (Portsalon)  Awarded  Retained 
23  Donegal County Council  Marblehill  Awarded  Retained 
24  Donegal County Council  Murvagh  Awarded  Retained 
25  Donegal County Council  Portnoo /Naran  Awarded  Retained 
26  Donegal County Council  Rossnowlagh  Awarded  Retained 
27  Donegal County Council  Stroove  Awarded  Retained 
28  Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council  Seapoint  Awarded  Retained 
29  Fingal County Council  Portmarnock/Velvet Strand  Awarded  Retained 
30  Galway City Council  Salthill  Awarded  Retained 
31  Galway City Council  Silverstrand  Awarded  Retained 
32  Galway County Council  An Trá Mhór (Inverin)  Awarded  Retained 
33  Galway County Council  Cill Mhuirbhigh (Aran)  Awarded  Retained 
34  Galway County Council  Loughrea Lake  Awarded  Retained 
35  Galway County Council  Portumna  Awarded  Retained 
36  Galway County Council  Trá an Dóilin (An Cheathrú Rua)  Awarded  Retained 
37  Galway County Council  Traught  Awarded  Retained 
38  Kerry County Council  Ballinskelligs  Awarded  Retained 
39  Kerry County Council  Ballybunion North  Awarded  Retained 
40  Kerry County Council  Ballybunion South  Awarded  Retained 
41  Kerry County Council  Ballyheigue  Awarded  Retained 
42  Kerry County Council  Banna  Awarded  Retained 
43  Kerry County Council  Derrynane  Awarded  Retained 
44  Kerry County Council  Fenit  Awarded  Retained 
45  Kerry County Council  Inch  Awarded  Retained 
46  Kerry County Council  Kells  Awarded  Retained 
47  Kerry County Council  Magherabeg  Awarded  Retained 
48  Kerry County Council  Rossbeigh  Awarded  Retained 
49  Kerry County Council  Ventry  Awarded  Retained 
50  Kerry County Council  White Strand Caherciveen  Awarded  Retained 
51  Louth County Council  Clogherhead  Awarded  Retained 
52  Louth County Council  Port/Lurganboy  Awarded  Retained 
53  Louth County Council  Shellinghill/Templetown  Awarded  Retained 
54  Mayo County Council  Carrowmore  Awarded  Retained 
  Management Body  Site Name  Award Status 2018  Award Status 2019 
55  Mayo County Council  Clare Island  Awarded  Retained 
56  Mayo County Council  Dooega  Awarded  Retained 
57  Mayo County Council  Elly Bay  Awarded  Retained 
58  Mayo County Council  Keel  Awarded  Retained 
59  Mayo County Council  Keem  Awarded  Retained 
60  Mayo County Council  Mullaghroe  Awarded  Retained 
61  Mayo County Council  Mulranny  Awarded  Retained 
62  Mayo County Council  Ross Killala  Awarded  Retained 
63  Mayo County Council  Silverstrand Dugort  Awarded  Retained 
64  Sligo County Council  Rosses Point  Awarded  Retained 
65  Waterford City and County Council  Ardmore  Awarded  Retained 
66  Waterford City and County Council  Clonea  Awarded  Retained 
67  Waterford City and County Council  Councillors Strand Dunmore East  Awarded  Retained 
68  Waterford City and County Council  Dunmore Strand  Awarded  Retained 
69  Waterford City and County Council  Tramore  Awarded  Retained 
70  Wexford County Council  Ballinesker Beach  Awarded  Retained 
71  Wexford County Council  Ballymoney North Beach  Awarded  Retained 
72  Wexford County Council  Carne  Awarded  Retained 
73  Wexford County Council  Courtown  Awarded  Retained 
74  Wexford County Council  Curracloe  Awarded  Retained 
75  Wexford County Council  Morriscastle  Awarded  Retained 
76  Wexford County Council  Rosslare  Awarded  Retained 
77  Wicklow County Council  Bray South Promenade  Awarded  Retained 
78  Wicklow County Council  Brittas Bay North Beach  Awarded  Retained 
79  Wicklow County Council  Brittas Bay South Beach  Awarded  Retained 
80  Wicklow County Council  Greystones  Awarded  Retained 


  1. Blue Flag Marinas Awarded by Management Body 2019: 8 (+1)
  County  Management Body  Site Name  Award Status 2018  Award Status 2019 
1  Cork  Kinsale Yacht Club  Kinsale Yacht Club  Awarded  Retained 
2  Cork  Royal Cork Yacht club  The Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina  Awarded   Retained  
3  Donegal  Donegal County Council  Greencastle Marina  Awarded  Retained  
4  Donegal  Donegal County Council and Rathmullan Charters  Rathmullan Marina  Not Awarded  Awarded for first time 
5  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Fenit Marina  Awarded  Retained  
6  Westmeath  Quigley’s Marina   Quigley’s Marina, Killinure Point  Awarded  Retained  
7  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Kilmore Quay Marina  Awarded  Retained  
8  Wexford  Wexford County Council  New Ross Marina  Awarded  Retained  


  1. Beaches Awarded a Blue Flag in 2018, not awarded for 2019

Bundoran in Donegal was unsuccessful due to failure to meet the required water quality standard. The upper 95th percentile for E. coli calculated for water samples tested for 2015 to 2018 bathing seasons exceeded the upper limit of 250 cfu/100ml necessary to be classified as Excellent, which is a requirement for beach applicants to obtain Blue Flag status. Bundoran is classified as achieving Good Water Quality for 2018 based on the assessment of bacteriological results for the period 2015 to 2018. 

Bertra is classified as achieving Good Water Quality in 2018 based on the assessment of bacteriological results for the period 2015 to 2018. Excellent water quality classification is the standard required of beach applicants to achieve Blue Flag status. Mayo County Council did not apply for a Blue Flag for Bertra for 2019 for this reason. 

Golden Strand is classified as achieving Good Water Quality in 2018 based on the assessment of bacteriological results for the period 2015 to 2018. Excellent Water Quality Status is the standard required of beach applicants to achieve Blue Flag status. Mayo County Council did not apply for a Blue Flag for Bertra for 2019 for this reason. 


  1. Green Coast Awards by County 2019: 62 Beaches (+3)
  County  Local Authority  Green Coast Award Site  Clean Coasts Group(s) and community groups associated with the site.  
1  Clare  Clare County Council  Ballyallia Lake  Ballyallia Clean Coasts Group 
2  Clare  Clare County Council  Bishops Quarter  Ballyvaughan Tidy Towns  
3  Clare  Clare County Council  Seafield  Quilty Clean coast 
4  Cork  Cork County Council  Cadogan’s Strand,  Schull Tidy Town & Community association 
5  Cork  Cork County Council  Ring  Ballymacoda Ladysbridge Community Council 
6  Cork  Cork County Council  ArdnahinchShanagarry  Shanagarry Coastcare Group 
7  Cork  Cork County Council  Inch Strand  Aghada Residents Association 
8  Cork  Cork County Council  Fountainstown Beach  Fountainstown Community Association 
9  Cork  Cork County Council  Rocky Bay  Roberts cove & Rocky bay residents Association 
10  Cork  Cork County Council  Oysterhaven  Nohoval/Oysterhaven Residents Association 
11  Cork  Cork County Council  Inchydoney East  Inchydoney Residents Association 
12  Cork  Cork County Council  Red Strand  Ardfield Tidy Towns Group 
13  Cork  Cork County Council  Ballyrisode  Goleen Community Council 
14  Cork  Cork County Council  Galley Cove  Goleen Community Council 
15  Cork  Cork County Council  Dooneen Pier  Sheepshead Way Community Group 
16  Cork  Cork County Council  Garnish Beach, Lehanmore  Lehanemore Community Co-Op 
17  Cork  Cork County Council  Sherkin Island, Silver Strand Beach  Sherkin Island Community Group 
18  Donegal  Donegal County Council  Magheroarty Beach  Meas Larthuaisceart 
19  Donegal  Donegal County Council  Drumnatinney  Falcarragh Coast Care 
20  Donegal  Donegal County Council  Dooey Beach  Dooey Beach Clean Coast group  
21  Donegal  Donegal County Council  Ballyheirnan  Fanad Clean Coasts Group and Marine Harvest Ireland 
22  Fingal  Fingal County Council  Burrow Beach, Sutton  Sutton Dinghy Club 
23  Fingal  Fingal County Council  Velvet Strand, Portmarnock  Portmarnock Connunity Association Beach Committee 
24  Galway City  Galway City Council  Silver Strand  Galway Atlantaquaria and Eglington Residents Committee 
25  Galway City  Galway City Council  Salthill  Meanscoil Muire Newtownsmith,Galway Atlantaquaria, Grundy, NUIG-GMIT Sub Aqua Club 
26  Galway  Galway County Council  Aillebrack/Silver Hill  Aillebrack Clean Coasts Group    
27  Galway  Galway County Council  East End Bay, Inisbofin  Inishbofin Development Company 
28  Galway  Galway County Council  Dumhach Beach  Inishbofin Development Company 
29  Galway  Galway County Council  Trá Poll na gCaorachInis Oirr  Coiste na Trá c/o Comhar Caomhán TeorantaInis Oírr 
30  Galway  Galway County Council  Trá Inis Oirr  Coiste na Trá c/o Comhar Caomhán Teoranta 
31  Galway  Galway County Council  Renvyle Beach (The Whitestrand)  Renvyle Beach Group 
32  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Waterville Town Beach  An Coireán Coast Care Group 
33  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Littor  Littor Clean Coast Group 
34  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Castlegregory  Castlegregory Coast Care Group 
35  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Béal Bán  Scoil An Fheirtéaraigh 
36  Kerry  Kerry County Council  Ballinskelligs  Ballinskelligs Tidy Towns group 
37  Louth  Louth County Council  Seapoint Beach, Termonfeckin  Drogheda Lions Club 
38  Mayo  Mayo County Council  TranaunInishturk  Coastal Friends of Inisturk     
39  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Termon Beach  Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile 
40  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Srah Beach  Claggan Island RSS 
41  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Portacloy Beach  Seirbhisí Curam Chill Chomáin 
42  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Cross, Erris Peninsula (Belmullet)  Meas Mara Lar Ros 
43  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Carrowniskey Beach  Keep Our Beaches Clean ; GMIT Mayo; Ascension Adventure Agents 
44  Mayo  Mayo County Council  Rinroe Beach  Seirbhisí Curam Chill ChomáinScoil Naisunta Cheathru Thaidhg  and  Kilcommon RSS 
45  Sligo  Sligo County Council  Dunmoran Strand  Skreen Dromard Coast Care Group 
46  Sligo  Sligo County Council  Streedagh Beach  North Sligo Playground Group 
47  Sligo  Sligo County Council  Rosses Point  Rosses Point Tidy Towns Committee and other Coast Care groups 
48  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Annestown  Annestown Community Group 
49  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Ballyquin  Ardmore Tidy Towns 
50  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Curragh  Ardmore Tidy Towns 
51  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Goat Island Beach  Ardmore Tidy Towns 
52  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Guillamene Cove  Newtown and Guilamene swim Club  
53  Waterford  Waterford City and County Council  Newtown Cove, Tramore  Newtown and Guilamene swim Club and Crawford Scaffolding 
54  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Ballyhealy  Kilmore School and Wexford Sub Aqua Club 
55  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Booley Bay  Hook Residents Coast Care Group 
56  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Cahore Point Beach  Ballygarrett Tidy Towns 
57  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Cullenstown Strand  Cullenstown Community Group 
58  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Culleton’s Gap  Friends of the Raven Coast Care Group 
59  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Grange  Hook Residents Coast Care Group 
60  Wexford  Wexford County Council  Old Bawn Beach  Ballygarrett Tidy Towns 
61  Wexford  Wexford County Council  St. Helen’s Bay  St. Helen’s Bay Residents Group 
62  Wicklow  Wicklow County Council  Arklow South Beach  Arklow Coastcare