An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, has awarded the prestigious international Blue Flag to nine Clare beaches.
They are Whitestrand Miltown Malbay, Ballycuggeran, Whitestrand Doonbeg, Mountshannon, Cappa (Kilrush), Fanore, Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch.
In addition, and for the first time since 2005, Kilrush Marina has also been awarded a Blue Flag.
Green Coast Awards were also awarded for the fourth year running to the beaches at Bishop’s Quarter (Ballyvaughan), Seafield (Quilty) and Ballyalla Lake. This year, for the first time, Carrigaholt Beach has been awarded a Green Coast Award.
The Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards were announced virtually today, 9th June, 2020, by Ian Diamond, An Taisce’s Education Coastal Awards Manager.
The Blue Flag is operated in Ireland by An Taisce on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Beaches and marinas that achieve this award must meet criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management. At beaches, the bathing water must comply with the Excellent standard in accordance with the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive.
The Green Coast Award recognises beaches of high environmental quality. The award is for beaches which have excellent water quality, but which are also prized for their natural, unspoilt environment. Green Coast sites must be managed in partnership with the local community to be considered for this award.
Meanwhile, lifeguard cover at Clare’s Blue Flag beaches has commenced and cover will continue on Saturdays and Sundays during the month of June. There will be full-time cover at these locations as well as at Bishop’s Quarter (Ballyvaughan), Seafield (Quilty) and Ballyalla (Ennis) during the months of July and August, and for the Blue Flag beaches, during each weekend in September. People are reminded that the newly awarded Carrigaholt Green Coast beach is not a lifeguarded location. Only swim at lifeguarded locations.
Brendan Flynn, Senior Executive Engineer, Environment Section, Clare County Council, said: “Each year, Clare County Council’s Environment Section, in conjunction with staff from the relevant Municipal District, work to ensure that the strict criteria are met to achieve these prestigious awards. We would like to remind people to play their part and help retain our Blue Flag or Green Coast beach status for next year, by keeping our beaches litter-free when visiting over the summer period.”