Fingal Beaches retain Blue and Green Flags for 2023

The best-quality beaches along the Fingal coastline have been announced today by An Taisce at this year’s National Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards event held at Donabate.

Green and Blue Flag Awards 2023

The best-quality beaches along the Fingal coastline have been announced today by An Taisce at this year’s National Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards event held at Donabate.

Balcarrick Beach in Donabate, where the 2023 flag ceremony took place, has a 3.4km stretch of sand for beachgoers to enjoy along with great rockpools and a healthy bank of sand dunes to explore. This is the second year that the beach has been awarded both a Blue Flag and a Green Coast Flag, making it one of only eight locations in Ireland to get a double nod from An Taisce.

Across Fingal, there were three Blue Flags and one Green Coast Flags retained, with Velvet Strand in Portmarnock and South Beach in Rush being honoured alongside Balcarrick. They are among 94 blue flags and 65 green coast awards sites around Ireland that have met the most stringent criteria. 

The Blue Flag scheme, now in its 36th year, is a prestigious, international award that aims to provide an assurance to tourists that a beach has met a minimum standard. To collect a Blue Flag any Ireland beach must satisfy standards covering the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and overall management.

Attending the ceremony, the Mayor of Fingal County Council, Cllr Howard Mahony said: “We are proud to retain the Blue Flags and Green Flag awarded to us last year. This reflects our determination to give residents and visitors alike an opportunity to take in some of Fingal’s best assets. Along with the efforts of the Council to protect these pristine locations, it is also thanks to local community groups and sea-lovers that we are able to celebrate these wonderful and relaxing destinations all year-round.”

Green Coast awards aim to recognise beaches that have excellent water quality and appropriate management to ensure the protection of the natural environment. They have particular emphasis on community involvement and all beaches must be managed by the local authority in cooperation with local clean coast groups.

Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, AnnMarie Farrelly said: “The Blue Flags and Green Coast designation we have been awarded this year show that we are continuing to strive towards ensuring that we have some of the best beaches in the world for people to enjoy. It is a ringing endorsement of the quality experience and superb facilities that we provide.”

Under the international Blue Flag programme, local authorities around the world must also continue to meet specific criteria if they want to retain their beaches’ blue flag status. Among those guidelines is a rule relating to dogs or pets (other than assistance dogs) not being permitted on a Blue Flag beach. This is especially important in terms of maintaining an excellent water quality, with overwhelming evidence connecting bathing water contamination to dog poo. Analysis shows that just one dog foul left behind can result in contamination the size of a tennis court.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Minister O’Brien said: "This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of Clean Coasts and the Green Coast Awards and I am delighted to present a record-breaking 65 Green Coast Awards today. It also marks 36 years of the Blue Flag as an international programme and I am pleased to present 94 Blue Flags for the 2023 season. During its 36 years, the Blue Flag has become an internationally recognised symbol of high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Today’s high number of awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the local authorities, An Taisce, local coastal communities and other volunteers around the country.”

As summer approaches, Fingal County Council wants to remind all beach goers to act responsibly by not leaving litter scattered around for someone else to clean up. It also wants to remind dog owners to ensure they only leave paw prints in the sand and to pick up after their pets.

To find out more about Fingal’s 88km coastline stretching from Howth to north of Balbriggan, go to:

The bathing season officially starts in June.  Lifeguards are deployed on all identified beaches from 11am to 7pm at weekends only for the month of June and then seven days a week for July and August.

Green Flag Awards 2023.jpg