Last month An Taisce announced the International Blue Flag Award and the National Green Coast Award recipients for 2015. In great news for local tourism, six out of the seven awards for County Cork were in West Cork.
West Cork retained Blue Flag status for five beaches – Garylucas, Inchydoney, Owenahincha, Barleycove and Tragumna – whilst Garretstown beach regained its Blue Flag this year.
In the marina section of the awards, Kinsale Yacht Club has been awarded the Blue Flag for the first time.
Speaking at the awards ceremony Minister Kelly said, “Blue Flags represent excellence. They are a clear signal of quality and are something to be cherished. I am delighted to announce that today we will be awarding a total of 86 Blue Flags; 81 for beaches and five for marinas. A blue flag flying at a particular location means that it has achieved excellent water quality to standards set by European and national Regulations, and a very high grade across a wide range of other criteria”
He added that, “This is testament to the sterling efforts of local authorities, An Taisce and of local communities in ensuring that their beaches meet the standards of excellence required for a Blue Flag or Green Coast Award’.
Inchydoney East beach was awarded the Green Coast Award for the first time. The Green Coast Award can be awarded to non-identified bathing waters and so expands water quality assessment. These awards go to beaches that have excellent water quality, a five-year beach management plan and where the local communities are encouraged to engage in the management of the beach. These beaches may not have the suite of facilities required for Blue Flag status but they are exceptional places to visit.
Other West Cork beaches and piers to retain their Green Flag status this year are Ballyrisode, Dooneen Pier, Galley Cove, Garnish, Oysterhaven and Ring.