Eight Irish beaches win prestigious blue flag and green coast award

159 Irish beaches have won an award this year, two more than last year

A record number of Irish beaches have won the prestigious blue flag and green coast awards.

Some 159 beaches have won an award from An Táisce, two more than last year. The 94 beaches that have been awarded blue flag status include three new additions all from Co Mayo - Bertha, Clare Island (Louisburgh) and Old Head. A blue flag is awarded for “excellent” water quality.

The four beaches awarded in 2022 that have not been awarded for the 2023 season are Cappagh Pier, Kilrush in County Clare, Garretstown in County Cork and Counsellors’ Strand (Dunmore East) and Dunmore Strand (Dunmore East) in County Waterford.

The Green Coast Award has included 65 awards for the 2023 bathing season. This is an increase of three awards compared to last year, and the highest number of awards given since its establishment.


The aim of the Green Coast Award is to recognise beaches of high environmental quality. To achieve the award, beaches must have excellent water quality and also a beach which meets high standards of cleanliness and environmental awareness.

The Green Coast Award places a strong emphasis on community involvement and encourages local authorities to work together with local communities to make beaches attractive locations for swimmers.

The three new sites awarded a Green Coast Award are Carrowniskey Beach, County Mayo, awarded for the last time in 2019, Bettystown in County Meath, awarded for the first time, and Rosslare Harbour Beach in County Wexford, last awarded in 2021.

Eight beaches received both the Blue Flag and Green Coast Award. They are Fountainstown and Inchydoney East Beach (County Cork), Balcarrick, Donabate (County Fingal), Salthill Beach and Silverstrand Beach (Galway City), Trá Inis Oírr (County Galway), Baile an Sceilg, Ballinskelligs (County Kerry) and Rosses Point Beach in County Sligo.

The director of An Taisce’s environmental education unit Cathy Baxter the number of awards is a tribute to the “immense dedication and effort to manage a beach or marina to meet the rigorous standards set by these prestigious award programmes.”

The awards were presented at a ceremony on Donabate beach in north county Dublin by the Minister for the Environment Darragh O’Brien.

The minister said: “During its 36 years, the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety.

“Today’s high number of awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers around the country.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times