OVER one-third of the country’s 81 Blue Flag beaches are in Munster, but the vast majority of the recipients in Cork county are in the greater West Cork area.
The five regional beaches that were awarded Blue Flags in 2016 – namely Barleycove, Tragumna, Ownahincha, Garrylucas and Inchydoney – are located in West Cork.
This year, each of these five beaches have retained their Blue Flag status, but two more have been added, bringing the final tally in Cork county to seven.
The two new winners include Garretstown in Kinsale, plus Redbarn in East Cork.
The Blue Flag award winners and the Green Coast Award winners were announced at a double ceremony in Dublin this week.
This year, 61 locations throughout the country will receive the Green Coast Awards – a figure that represents an increase of five on last year’s figures.
Two of the five new winners are in Cork county, which brings the number in the county up from 10 to 12.
Six are these are located in West Cork – Ballyrisode, Sheep’s Head, Galley Cove, Garnish, Inchydoney East and Red Strand.
Three are located in East Cork, while Oysterhaven in the Bandon/Kinsale area has retained its Green Coast Award.
The two new recipients are Rocky Bay and Fountainstown, both of which are in the Bandon/Kinsale area.
The Blue Flag confirms that the waters on these beaches adhere to 33 stringent requirements and are identified as quality bathing areas, while the Green Coast Awards is a symbol of excellence with a strong emphasis on community and environmental activities.
Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking told The Southern Star that the quality of the water in West Cork is a constant source of wonder to visitors.
‘When people come out kayaking with us they cannot get over how clear the water is,’ said Jim.