A record number of Irish beaches have been given prestigious Blue Flag awards for 2018
83 Irish beaches and seven marinas have taken honours.
The Blue Flag programme began in Ireland in 1988, recognising 19 beaches and two marinas for their aesthetic and environmental strengths.
The latest round of awards sees a record number of 83 Irish beaches (up two from last year) and seven marinas awarded with blue flags by An Taisce, the governing body of protected sites for Ireland.
A series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained in order to receive a blue flag, including water quality, information provision, and safety and site management.
Kerry leads the way with 14 blue flag beaches, with Donegal in second place on 13, and Mayo just behind on 12. Elsewhere, Clare, Cork, Wexford and Galway all take a generous handful of honours each, while Waterford, Wicklow, Louth, Dublin and Sligo also boast the prestigious distinction.
You can read the full breakdown below.
Good news, especially coming just days after seven Irish beaches were revealed to be unsafe by Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy was on hand on Monday to officially present the awards at the Martello Hotel in Bray.
Presented a record 90 Blue Flags to beaches across Ireland this morning at a ceremony in Bray - let’s hope we get the sunshine to enjoy them this Summer! pic.twitter.com/s7Yqze90c6
— Eoghan Murphy TD (@MurphyEoghan) May 21, 2018
“Today’s high number of awards reflects the great efforts made by local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers on the ground," said Murphy.
“It also reflects well on the work being done more widely within catchments to improve water quality."
The full list of Blue Flag beaches across the country looks like this:
Kerry (14): Derrynane, Ballinskelligs, White Strand, Kells, Rossbeigh, Inch, Ventry, Magherabeg, Fenit, Banna, Bellyheigue, Ballybunion South, Ballybunion North, Fenit Marina.
Donegal (13): Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Murvagh, Fintra, Naran/Portnoo, Carrickfinn, Killahoey, Marblehill, Downings, Magherwarden Portsalon (pictured above), Culdaff, Stroove, Greencastle Marina.
Mayo (12): Carrowmore, Bertra, The Harbour, Mulranny, Dooega, Keel, Keem, Dugort, Golden Strand, Mullaghroe, Elly Bay, Ross.
Clare (9): Cappa Poer, Kilkee, Whitestrand, Spanish Point, Miltown Malbay, Lahinch, Fanore, Ballycuggeran, Mountshannon.
Cork (9): Redbarn, Garrylucas, Garrelstown, Inchydoney, Owenahincha, Tragumna, Barleycove, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Kinsale Yacht Club.
Wexford (9): Ballymoney North, Courtown, Morriscastle, Ballinesker, Curracloe, Rosslare, Carne, Kilmore Quay Marina, New Ross ‘Three Sisters’ Marina.
Galway (8): Bathing Place, Loughrea Lake, Traught, Salthill, Silver Strand, Trá Mhór, Trá an Dóilin, Cill Mhuirbhigh.
Waterford (5): Counsellors’ Strand, Dunmore East, Tramore, Clonea, Ardmore.
Wicklow (4): Bray South Promenade, Greystones South Beach, Brittas Bay North, Brittas Bay South.
Louth (3): Templetown, Port, Clogherhead.
Dublin (2): Portmarnock, Seapoint.
Sligo (1): Rosses Point.