Killinure Point Marina, Glasson remains the only inland marina in the country to be in possession of a Blue Flag, following the announcement of the awards for 2010 earlier this week.
Located on the inner lakes of Lough Ree on the Shannon, Killinure Point Marina is managed by the Quigleys and Waveline. It has consistently retained its Blue Flag for several years.
Athlone Marina, however, missed out on a Blue Flag for the second year in a row, as the town council revealed they will not be applying for the honour until the new sewerage scheme is in action. The marina lost its flag in 2009 due to occasional sewage discharges into the river.
The only other marina to receive a Blue Flag this year was Wexford’s Kilmore Quay, Ireland’s only coastal Blue Flag marina.
Ireland’s best beaches were given recognition when An Taisce announced a total of 76 international Blue Flag awards as well as 46 national Green Coast Awards for 2010 earlier this week.
The awards were presented by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, at an awards ceremony held on the Velvet Strand, Portmarnock on Monday.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised eco-labels. The 74 Irish beaches and two marinas that achieved this accolade met a specific set of criteria related to water quality, environmental education, and beach management. As a pre-requisite, the bathing water at Blue Flag beaches must meet the highest standards of bathing water quality.
The overall Blue Flags in Ireland this year are down only one on 2009. While five beaches regained their Blue Flags, six others did not comply with the stringent Blue Flag criteria; Brittas Bay South, Co Wicklow; Ross and Oldhead, Co Mayo; Traught and Ceibh an Spidéal, Co Galway; and Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.
Green Coast Awards go to beaches for their clean environment, excellent water quality, and natural beauty. They may not have the necessary built infrastructure required to meet the criteria set for Blue Flag status; however they are exceptional places to visit and enjoy our rich coastal heritage and diversity.
A map showing all the award winning beaches can be found at www.beachawards.ie For information on water quality results please visit the EPA’s website www.bathingwater.ie For detailed information on all Blue Flag criteria please visit www.blueflag.org