Summer is finally upon us and with it comes the promise, however faint, of beach-worthy weather.
The 2016 Blue Flag Awards for Ireland were announced in June and beaches and marinas that achieved this accolade must have complied with the specific set of criteria relating to water quality, information provision, environmental education, safety and beach management.
In 2015 81 beaches and five marinas around the state’s coastline were awarded Blue Flags, six more than the previous year.
Beaches in County Mayo to receive the Blue Flag Award for 2015 are Carrowmore, Bertra, The Harbour, Mulranny, Dooega, Keel, Keem, Dugort, Golden Strand, Mullaghroe, Elly Bay, Ross Killala, and neighbouring Rosses Point in County Sligo.
While the Blue Flag Awards is operated in Ireland by An Taisce-The National Trust for Ireland on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
The Green Coast Award recognises beaches of high environmental quality and hoping to retain the status this year are the White Strand, Silver Strand, Cross, Carrowniskey, Termon, Cross Erris Peninsula, Srah and Portacloy in County Mayo and Dunmoran Strand, Rosses Point, Streedagh and Mullaghmore in County Sligo.
While the Blue Flag Awards and the Green Coast Awards are adjudicated by official bodies, international visitors took to the internet to vote their top ten beaches in Ireland for 2016 through Trip Advisor’ Travellers’ Choice Awards which are now in their 14th year and are based on millions of user reviews collected over 12 months.
Inchydoney in County Cork topped the list and was described as a “glorious and unspoiled stretch of beach”.
Top Ten Beaches 2016
- Inchydoney, Co. Cork
- Derrynane, Co. Kerry
- Inch Beach, Co. Kerry
- Lahinch, Co. Clare
- Rossbeigh, Co. Kerry
- Banna, Co. Kerry
- Maghera, Co. Donegal
- Curracloe, Co. Wexford
- Renvyle, Co. Galway
- Portmarnock, Co. Dublin
Grace Bay in the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos was named the World’s Best Beach with Playa de Ses Illetes in Formentera, the smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, the only European beach to make the list.