Waterford’s coastline was recently recognised by An Taisce as three beaches were awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and seven the Green Coast Award Flags.
The Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised awards for beaches. The programme promotes environmental education, sustainable development of tourism, environmental management systems and ensure safety and access for beach users.
According to Katia Hunter, Executive Scientist with Waterford City and County Council, the awarding of the Blue and Green Coast Flags is a great endorsement of Waterford’s coastline.
“The beaches that received the Blue Flag in 2023 are Ardmore, Clonea and Tramore beaches.  All of these beaches not only returned excellent bathing water results, but a series of stringent environmental and safety-related criteria were also met.
“The Green Coast flags were awarded to Annestown, Ballyquin, Curragh, Goat Island Beach, Guillamene Cove, Newtown Cove and Kilfarrassey, as they all demonstrated excellent water quality, and were appropriately maintained and managed to ensure the protection of the natural environment.”
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’ Leary commended not only the Local Authority’s Environment Department, but also the work of voluntary groups that dedicate themselves to ensuring an unspoilt environment for all to enjoy.
“The work of volunteers from groups such as Clean Coasts, Tidy Towns, and ecological groups, have made huge inroads in assisting in the maintenance and management of our coastline and its amenities. 
“These volunteers are passionate about preserving our natural environment, whether it’s through litter picking, wildlife conservation management or developing educational programmes.  By enhancing our natural amenities, they are heightening the enjoyment we can all derive from our beaches and coastline.”
Blue Flag began in Ireland in 1988 with 19 beaches and 2 marinas being awarded. Since then, the Blue Flag programme has grown from strength to strength with 84 beaches and 10 marinas being awarded in 2023. 
Each year Blue Flag is awarded to over 4,500 beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators in 49 countries globally. Beaches are awarded for the bathing season (June 1st to September 15th in Ireland) and marinas are awarded for up to 12 months, depending on their period of operation. The awarded sites for Ireland are announced at the end of May each year.