County Donegal, on the fabulous north west coast of Ireland has retained all our 13 Blue Flag Beach awards making it the Irish county with the most Blue Flag Beaches 2013 (see below for Blue Flag criteria).
The Donegal beaches achieving this prestigious award 2013 are: Bundoran, Carrickfinn, Culdaff, Downings, Killahoey (Dunfanaghy), Lisfannon (Buncrana), Marblehill, Murvagh, Fintra, Narin/Portnoo), Portsalon, Rossnowlagh, and Shroove.
County Donegal has hundreds and hundreds of miles of coastline and probably more beaches than any other county in Ireland. There are sandy beaches dotted all along our coastline: some tiny, hidden away gems for you to discover; others huge swathes of silvery golden sand where one can walk for miles enjoying the fresh, unpolluted sea air and scenery.
There are beaches known for their beauty: Ballymastocker beach on the Fanad peninsula was once voted one of the top 10 beaches in the world; others known for their superb surfing; others for their family suitability with gentle seas lapping their shores; and others just waiting to be discovered.
Time to head to Donegal to enjoy just a few of these beaches ~ there are way too many to get to see in a week or even a fortnight. But of course that is always an excuse to return!
SLIDESHOW OF JUST SOME OF DONEGAL'S BEACHES
CRITERIA FOR BLUE FLAG BEACH AWARD (from BlueFlag.org):
"1) Environmental Education and Information
Information about the Blue Flag must be displayed.
Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users.
Information about bathing water quality must be displayed.
Information relating to local eco-systems and environmental phenomena must be displayed.
A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed.
A code of conduct that reflects appropriate laws governing the use of the beach and surrounding areas must be displayed.
2) Water Quality
The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements.
The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis.
No industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges should affect the beach area.
The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the microbiological parameter faecal coli bacteria (E.coli) and intestinal enterococci/streptococci.
The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for physical and chemical parameters.
3) Environmental Management
The local authority/beach operator should establish a beach management committee.
The local authority/beach operator must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach.
The beach must be clean.
Algae vegetation or natural debris should be left on the beach.
Waste disposal bins/containers must be available at the beach in adequate numbers and they must be regularly maintained.
Facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach.
An adequate number of toilet or restroom facilities must be provided.
The toilet or restroom facilities must be kept clean.
The toilet or restroom facilities must have controlled sewage disposal.
There should be no unauthorised camping, driving or dumping of waste on the beach.
Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled.
All buildings and beach equipment must be properly maintained.
Coral reefs in the vicinity of the beach must be monitored.
A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area.
4) Safety and Services
An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach.
First aid equipment must be available on the beach.
Emergency plans to cope with pollution risks must be in place.
There must be management of beach users and events to prevent conflicts and accidents.
There must be safety measures in place to protect beach users.
A supply of drinking water should be available at the beach.
At least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have wheelchair and accessibility features.
Wheelchair access and accessibility features must be in place for at least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality."
We Love Donegal
We Love Donegal is a site dedicated to bring the beauty of County Donegal on the north west coast of Ireland to the world.