27 Awards for Northern Ireland’s Best-Kept Beaches and Marinas

Image via Keep NI Beautiful

The local winners of the international Blue Flag Award and the UK-wide Seaside Award have been revealed for 2023.

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful announced that 18 beaches and marinas at home earned the prestigious Blue Flag Award distinction after reaching world-class standards in criteria that includes water quality, safety, accessibility, cleanliness and environmental education.

A further nine beaches received Seaside Awards, the UK’s mark of quality that ensures visitors are guaranteed to find a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch. Seven Seaside Award sites returned excellent water-quality results, while two more rated as good, the second highest classification in this area.

The benchmarks for blue spaces were shared across councils, with Causeway Coast and Glens claiming 12 awards and Mid and East Antrim landing three Blue Flags and three Seaside Awards.

There were also five flags for aquatic spots in Ards and North Down, and three wins for beaches in Newry, Mourne and Down. Ballyronan Marina in Mid Ulster retained its Blue Flag status for the 14th consecutive year.

Dr Ian Humphreys, CEO of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:

“We are extremely pleased that 27 beaches and marinas have achieved either a Blue Flag Award or Seaside Award. Each flag is a symbol that these special places are managed to an excellent standard and an important trust signal to the public that they can expect a high-quality experience when they visit one of these award-winning sites.

“At a time when budgets are tight and difficult decisions are never far away, we want to thank councils and other organisations for continuing to invest in our beaches and marinas that are much loved and valued by tourists and people at home alike.”

Owen Lyttle, DAERA’s Director of Marine and Fisheries said “We are delighted to see so many beaches and marinas awarded for their excellent environmental management. The assessment of water quality is a core component of these Awards and highlights that Northern Ireland continues to have some of the cleanest beaches and marinas in the world. We will keep working with all those who help to manage these valuable blue spaces to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to have beaches and marinas we can be proud of.”

Beach and marina operators and Mayors from across councils were invited to collect the awards at a presentation ceremony in The Arcadia, Portrush on 25 May. The occasion was organised by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, who manage the accreditations locally.

The award-winning locations will now have their respective flags in place for the duration of the Northern Ireland bathing season, which runs from 01 June to 15 September.

To see the full list of Blue Flag Award and Seaside Award winners, visit www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

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