Press Room




 2021 Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards Recognise Ireland’s Best Beaches and Marinas

A NEW RECORD:  93 Blue Flags and 63 Green Coast Awards for 2021


Media contact: Ian Diamond, or 087 1120460

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.

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. 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 the 83 beaches and 10 marinas being awarded the Blue Flag for the 2021 season were announced by Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager with An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit. 79 of the 81 beaches and all 10 marinas awarded last year have retained Blue Flag status for 2021. 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.


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.


Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage who was today in attendance at a ceremony marking the centenary of the burning of the Custom House, and so could not attend this morning’s awards announcement had the following message for attendees of this year’s awards.


Commenting Minister 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. My Department and indeed the wider Government is committed to supporting programmes such as the Blue Flag and Green Coast Award and to building on them to achieve positive changes in environmental behaviour countrywide.



Mr. Ian Diamond Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce speaking at this mornings virtual Blue Flag and Green Coast Award presentation ceremony said:


“I would like to thanks and acknowledge the work of the Local Authorities and marina operators with us today for all their efforts in ensuring that the sites being awarded this year have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag. 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”

For further details click on full press release below