A Record-breaking 95 Blue Flags and 62 Green Coast Awards awarded in 2022.

Today, An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients for 2022. The awards were presented by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform at a ceremony Curracloe Beach in County Wexford this afternoon.

Speaking at the awards ceremony Minister Noonan stated that:

"This year celebrates 35 years of the Blue Flag as an international programme and during that time the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. I am pleased to be presenting 95 blue flags and 62 green coast awards today and want to commend the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, coastal communities and volunteers for their work around the country.”

Mr. Ian Diamond, Coastal Awards Manager for An Taisce in announcing this year’s Blue Flag and Green Coast
Award recipients stated:

"We were delighted to be welcomed to the Sunny Southeast today for the opportunity to celebrate the beaches
and marinas awarded for the 2022 season. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to manage a beach or
marina to the excellent standards required by these award programmes. It’s been too long since we’ve had
the opportunity to acknowledge these efforts in person, and I would like to thank all in attendance and our
hosts Wexford County Council for helping us make today’s event worth the wait”.

Blue Flag

The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. Originating in Frnace in 1985 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. 2022 is the 35th year that beaches and marinas have been awarded here in Ireland and the 95 beaches and marinas being awarded is the highest annual total to date.

The programme aims to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats around the world. The 85 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.

85 Beaches and 10 marinas awarded the Blue Flag for 2022

  • The number of sites receiving the award is up 2 on last year’s total.
  • 7 beaches not awarded in 2021 have been awarded for the coming bathing season. These are: Trá Inis Oírr (Main Beach) in County Galway; Fountainstown and Youghal Front Strand in County Cork; Balcarrick, Donabate and Rush, South Beach in Fingal; Ballybunnion North Beach in Kerry and Ballymoney North Beach, in County Wexford.
  • Trá Inis Oírr, the main beach on Inis Oirr in County Galway has been awarded a Blue Flag for the first time this year.
  • In Cork Fountainstown has been awarded for the first time since 1991 and the second time since Blue Flags were first awarded in Ireland.
  • Youghal Front Strand in Cork will fly the Blue Flag for the first time since 2011.
  • Balcarrick, Donabate in Fingal has been awarded a Blue Flag for the first time since 2016.
  • Ballybunnion North Beach, which last flew a Blue Flag in 2019 has been awarded for the 2022 bathing season.
  • Ballymoney North Beach, in County Wexford regains Blue Flag status having not been awarded in 2021.
  • 79 of the 83 beaches awarded in 2021 retained Blue Flag Status for the 2022 bathing season.
  • The 5 beaches awarded in 2021 that have not been awarded for the 2022 season are: Bray South Promenade in Wicklow; Warren, Cregane Strand in Cork; Traught, Kinvara in County Galway; Carrowmore and Clare Island in County Mayo. None of these beaches achieved the “Excellent” water quality classification necessary to be awarded the Blue Flag. Each of the sites received a classification of “Good”, the second highest classification available based on analysis of bathing water samples over the past four bathing seasons.
  • All 10 marinas awarded in 2021 have retained Blue Flag status for the coming season.

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland is responsible for the operation of the Blue Flag programme in Ireland on behalf of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). 48 Countries operate the Blue Flag programme globally and more than 5000 sites and tourism boats will be awarded the Blue Flag this year. The Blue Flag programme in Ireland is supported by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

62 Beaches receive the Green Coast Award for the 2022 Bathing Season

The Green Coast Award recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Green Coast Award sites are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity.The Green Coast Awards were presented back in 2003 to four beaches in County Wexford, it was rolled out nationally in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

An important aspect of the Green Coast Awards is the involvement of Clean Coasts groups of which there are currently over 1800 comprised of tens of thousands of volunteers nationwide. These volunteers participate in community clean-ups and in cooperation with Local Authorities help sensitively manage their local beaches throughout the year.

  • Ballynamona Beach in County Cork has been awarded a Green Coast Award for the first time this
  • Cork is the county with the most Green Coast Award beaches once again in 2022 with 15.
  • Mornington in Meath and Oysterhaven in Cork both last awarded in 2020 have been awarded for the
    2022 season.
  • Kilfarrassey in Waterford last awarded in 2018 and Balcarrick Beach, Donabate in Fingal, last awarded
    in 2016 have both been awarded for the upcoming season.
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  • 5 Beaches have been awarded a Blue Flag a Green Coast Award for the 2022 season, they are:
    Balcarrick Beach, Donabate in Fingal; Baile an Sceilg (Ballinskelligs) in Kerry; Salthill and Silverstrand
    in Galway City and Trá Inis Oirr in Galway.

In the Republic of Ireland the Green Coast Award is operated by An Tasice’s Environmental Education unit with the support of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Fáilte Ireland. An International Award the Green Coast Award is coordinated Northern Ireland and Wales by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy respectively.

Click here for the full list of Blue Flag awardees.

See a map of the full list of Green Coast awardees below.