On Monday, May 20, 2019, An Taisce revealed the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award recipients at a ceremony in Spanish Point Hotel, Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare. Mayo County Council has announced that ten beaches across Mayo were awarded the highly recognised Blue Flag accolade and seven beaches were awarded the Green Coast Award.
The Blue Flag is an international award that recognises beach excellence, and water quality, and the programme is operated in Ireland by An Taisce. 88 Blue Flags were awarded nationally. Mayo has been awarded 10 Blue Flags for the following beaches: Carrowmore, Clare Island, Dooega, Elly Bay, Keel, Keem, Mullaghmore, Mulranny, Ross Strand, Killala and Silver Strand, Dugort.
Due to the stringent criteria that qualifies beaches for Blue Flag status Golden Strand and Bertra beach failed to obtain Blue Flags this year for not meeting the required high-water quality status.
Mayo was also awarded 7 Green coast awards. Rinroe, near Carrowteige in North Mayo has been awarded for the first time. These awards are given to beaches which have excellent water quality but may be less developed and less populated than Blue Flag beaches. The Mayo beaches included in the Green Coast awards are Tranaun Beach on Inishturk Island, Termon Beach, Srah Beach, Cross Beach in Belmullet, Carrowniskey, Portacloy Beach and Rinroe beach.
The Green Coast Award is a symbol of environmental excellence and has been established to acknowledge, promote and protect the environment of our beaches. The award is for beaches which have excellent water quality, but which are also prized for their natural, unspoilt environment. These sites must be managed in partnership with the local community to be considered for the Green Coast Award. A local flag raising event is planned for mid-June with local schools and community.
The first sample of the Pre-Season Bathing Water Quality testing for 2019 also commences this week. Water quality is categorised as: Excellent; Good; Sufficient; or Poor and is a combination of the water quality results achieved over the proceeding four years.
The awards not retained for 2019: Bertra Beach, Murrisk; Golden Strand Beach, Achill Island, and former Green Coast Silver Strand Beach and Louisburg, achieved Good Water Quality in 2018 based on the assessment of bacteriological results for the period 2015 to 2018. These narrowly missed the Excellent Water Quality Status, which is the standard, required to achieve the award. All three beaches exceed the standard for safe bathing waters and will be maintained as Blue Flag / Green Coast beaches for the upcoming bathing season. It is expected that Green Coast / Blue Flag status will be achieved on these beaches again in the very near future.
Martin Keating, Head of Head of Environment, Climate Change & Agriculture, at Mayo County Council welcomed the Blue Flag Status and Green Coast for the 17 Mayo beaches outlining “The Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards, a global recognition of high standards of Mayo Beaches. I would like to acknowledge the work of The Environmental team at Mayo County Council together with other agencies for all their efforts in ensuring that the beaches being awarded for the 2019 bathing season have achieved the excellent standards required by the Blue Flag”.
Plans to make provision for disabled access to bathing waters with Beach Wheelchairs are under way. Further details to be announced shortly.
Here at Mayo North, we’re thrilled to hear that beautiful Rinroe has been recognised for its clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty. Alongside Portacloy, which has retained its Green Coast Award, it further proves that our beaches here in North Mayo are among the very best in Ireland. We hope this year that more visitors travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way take some time to explore North Mayo between Ballina and Belmullet and enjoy discovering our stunning hidden gems.