Here are the 88 beaches and marinas awarded Blue Flag status

Here are the 88 beaches and marinas awarded Blue Flag status

Three popular beaches have been forced to lower their coveted Blue Flag.

However, Ireland still managed to hit a new record high for the quality and cleanliness of coastal waters despite the dip in standards at Lisfannon in Donegal, Killiney in south Dublin and Balcarrick, at Donabate in north Dublin.

A total of 88 Blue Flags are to be raised at 81 beaches and seven marinas this summer.

An Taisce said it awarded three more than the 2016 season with Portumna in Co Galway and Greencastle Marina in Co Donegal hoisting the international hallmark for the first time.

Elsewhere, the South Promenade in Bray, Co WIcklow will fly the Blue Flag for the first time since 2000 after improvements in sewage treatment in recent years.

Ross beach, near Killala in Co Mayo, regained Blue Flag status lost in 2016 as did the south coast surf spots of Redbarn and Garretstown in Cork.

Kerry came out on top of the awards with 13 beaches and one marina getting to fly the flag this year.

An Taisce also gave out 61 Green Coast Awards, an increase of five on last year and the highest number to date.

They are given to locations which do not have the facilities for Blue Flag status but are recognised for their cleanliness, excellent water quality and natural beauty.

The Blue Flag is awarded to more than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 49 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

Dr Michael John O'Mahony, director at An Taisce's environmental education unit, paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers taking part in beach clean-ups to improve standards.

"It is the work of the local authorities and clean coasts volunteers that ensures that Ireland's fantastic beaches remain clean and safe for everyone to enjoy," he said.

The awards were launched by Senator Jerry Buttimer in the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven, Cork.

"Over the years, the programme has become a highly respected and recognised eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors.

"There are also very tangible economic benefits to be derived from our marvellous coastal environment and quality facilities, both at local, regional and national levels," he said.

The Blue Flag awards follow last week's water quality report from the Environmental Protection Agency which found six bathing spots did not meet European standards for cleanliness.

Most of the issues commonly relate to waste water from sewage treatment plants, run-off from farmland and bird faeces.

Full list of Blue Flag beaches:

Clare

- Ballycuggeran (Killaloe)

- Cappa pier

- Fanore

- Kilkee

- Lahinch

- Mountshannon

- Spanish Point

- White Strand Doonbeg

- White Strand Miltown Malbay

Cork

- Redbarn Beach

- Barleycove

- Garrylucas

- Inchydoney

- Owenahincha

- Tragumna

- Garretstown

- Kinsale Yacht Club

- The Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina

Donegal

- Downings

- Rossnowlagh

- Greencastle Marina

- Bundoran

- Carrickfinn

- Culdaff

- Fintra

- Killahoey

- Magherawarden (Portsalon)

- Marblehill

- Murvagh

- Portnoo /Naran

- Shroove

Dublin

- Seapoint

- Portmarnock/Velvet Strand

Galway

- An Trá Mhór (Inverin)

- Cill Mhuirbhigh (Aran)

- Loughrea Lake

- Salthill

- Silverstrand

- Trá an Dóilin (An Cheathrú Rua)

- Traught

- Portumna

Kerry

- Inch

- Ballybunion North

- Ballybunion South

- Ballyheigue

- Banna

- Fenit

- Kells

- Magherabeg

- Rossbeigh

- Ventry

- White Strand Caherciveen

- Fenit Marina

- Ballinskelligs

- Derrynane

Louth

- Port/Lurganboy

- Shellinghill/Templetown

- Clogherhead

Mayo

- Bertra

- Carrowmore

- Clare Island

- Dooega

- Elly Bay

- Golden Strand

- Keel

- Keem

- Mullaghroe

- Mulranny

- Silverstrand Dugort

- Ross Killala

Westmeath

- Killinure Point

Sligo

- Rosses Point

Waterford

- Clonea

- Councillors Strand Dunmore East

- Dunmore Strand

- Tramore

Wexford

- Ballinesker Beach

- Courtown

- Curracloe

- Morriscastle

- Rosslare

- Ballymoney North Beach

- Kilmore Quay Marina

- New Ross Marina

Wicklow

- Brittas Bay North Beach

- Brittas Bay South Beach

- Greystones

- Bray South Promenade


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