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Garrettstown regains Blue Flag award

May 29th, 2024 12:35 PM

By Martin Claffey

Garrettstown regains Blue Flag award Image
Inchydoney, above, and Fountainstown are the only two beaches west of the city to gain both blue and green coast flags.

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THE Blue Flag will be flying proudly over Garrettstown again this year after the popular beach regained its status for 2024.

But West Cork has lost one of its Green Coast awards after Oysterhaven missed out.

There were 11 beaches recognised with Blue Flags in the county, with 10 retaining the award for 2023 and Garrettstown winning theirs back.

The beaches in the south west include Garrylucas, Garrettstown, Inchydoney East Beach, Inchydoney West Beach, Owenahincha’s Little Island Strand, Tragumna, Barleycove, and Fountainstown.

The Blue Flag programm has more than 5,000 recipients globally every year. There are 85 beaches and nine marinas in Ireland on the list.


Inchydoney East and Fountainstown have added the Green Coast award to their Blue Flag. Around Cork 14 beaches have received the Green Coast award this year which recognises beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality and natural beauty.

The Green Coast Awards also involve voluntary Clean Coasts groups, who participate in community clean-ups and help manage the applicant beaches in cooperation with local authorities.

The Green Coast beaches include Red Strand, Rocky Bay, Sherkin’s Silver Strand Beach, Galley Cove, Dooneen Pier near Kilcrohane, Ballyrisode near Toormore, Garnish Beach in Lehanmore, and Cadogan’s Strand in Schull.

However, Oysterhaven, which claimed a Green Coast award in 2023, is not on the list.

Cork Couty Council said Oysterhaven did not meet the qualifying criteria for a Green Coast Award this year due to high bacteria in the water there four years ago.

‘The assessment is based on four-year dataset of water quality results, which in respect of this year’s awards, covers the period 2020 to 2023. Unfortunately, in 2020 there was an increased level of bacteria in the water samples tested, caused by heavy rainfall events at the time. Although the water quality at Oysterhaven has been fully compliant for the subsequent threeyears, this high set of results for 2020, resulted in the classification dropping from excellent to good, thereby failing the criteria for a Green Coast Flag,’ a Council spokesman said.

‘Oysterhaven is in a steeply sloped catchment which is intensively farmed and as such can be susceptible to run off particularly in heavy rainfall events. Increased farms inspections have been ongoing in the area in recent years. It is to be hoped that should Oysterhaven continue to be fully compliant this year, it should regain its flag at the next year’s assessment.’

Bathing water quality remains high overall in Ireland, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This week the EPA published the Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report for 2023 which shows that water quality at the majority of Ireland’s bathing waters was of a high standard.

All West Cork beaches sampled scored well: Barleycove was deemed to be of excellent standard, as was Tragumna, Owenahincha, Inchydoney East and West, Garrettstown, Garrylucas, and Redbarn.

Cregane Strand and Coolmaine were deemed to have good water quality.

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