Inch Strand Aghada, Ring Beach Ballymacoda and Ardnahinch Shanagarry in East Cork have met stringent criteria to qualify for a Green Coast Beach Award this year and Redbarn in Youghal was among just 7 beaches in the County to be given the Blue Flag of Excellence.
Garretstown, Garrylucas, Barleycove, Inchydoney, Ownahincha and Tragumna, all in the West of the County, made it to the Blue Flag honours roll.
Of the 200 beaches in the County, 28 were sampled under the Green Flag or Blue Flag Programme out of 232 samples taken during bathing season June – September 2018.
Among the 3 East Cork beaches to qualify for Green Coast Awards are Fountainstown beach, Rocky Bay, Oysterhaven, Inchydoney East, Red Strand, Ballyrisoide, Galley Cove, Dooneen Pier, Garnish beach and Sherkin Island, all located in West Cork.
Changes to the Blue Flag Water Quality criteria, along with agricultural pressures on the Blackwater River and raw sewage being pumped into the sea water, had resulted in Youghal’s Front Strand losing its Blue Flag beach over the years.
It is likely that the Strand will take a number of years to regain its Blue Flag status following the completion of the Youghal Waste Water Treatment Plant in 2017.
Under current rules, a beach needs to have excellent water quality for four years in a row before it can be considered for the Blue Flag programme.