An Taisce has awarded the prestigious International Blue Flag to 9 Clare beaches, including Whitestrand, Miltown Malbay, Ballycuggeran, Whitestrand Doonbeg, Mountshannon, Cappa, Fanore, Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch.
Green Coast Awards were also awarded for the second year running to the beaches at Bishops Quarter (Ballyvaughan), Seafield (Quilty) and Ballyalla Lake.
The Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards were accepted on behalf of Clare County Council by Councillor Tom McNamara, Mayor of Clare, Clare McGrath, Clare Water Safety Development Officer, and Cyril Feeney, Senior Executive Engineer, Physical Development, at a ceremony held at the Martello Hotel in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
The Blue Flag is a prestigious environmental eco-label awarded to over 4000 beaches and marinas in 49 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The award, which is operated in Ireland by An Taisce on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) – represents high standards in water quality, environmental information and education, environmental management and safety, services and facilities.
The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty and is targeted at beaches that may not have the necessary built infrastructure required to meet the criteria set for Blue Flag status. Bishops Quarter, Seafield and Ballyalla Lake were awarded by the Irish Green Coast Award Jury following bathing water quality tests and beach inspections carried out in 2017 and assessment of the beach management plans submitted by Clare County Council to An Taisce.
Mayor of Clare, Councillor Tom McNamara, said Clare’s strong performance in the Blue Flag scheme and the Green Coast Awards reflects the number of quality beaches that are available to people living in Clare and those visiting the County.
Clare McGrath, Clare Water Safety Development Officer, stated, “All of Clare’s main bathing areas are being applauded by An Taisce as places that are clean, well managed, and safe. Flying the flag indicates to visitors and local communities that these beaches are at the highest standards. They all have safety equipment, lifeguarded, risk assessed, first-aid and communications.”
Meanwhile, lifeguard cover at Clare’s Blue Flag beaches commences during the June Bank Holiday Weekend (11.00am to 7.00pm). Cover will continue on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of June. There will be full-time time cover at these locations as well as at Bishops Quarter (Ballyvaughan) and Seafield Quilty during the months of July and August, and during the first three weekends of September.