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Whether you want to ride the waves or take a blissful walk on the beach this summer, why not make a pilgrimage to Ireland’s purest shores, the Blue Flag beach is an internationally recognised eco-label awarded to beaches ensuring the beach meets a rigorous set of high standards for water quality and safety. We have picked out our top 5 favourites from the 2019 list from every corner of Ireland, we highlight the best things to do and insider tips courtesy of Clean Coasts on how to keep these beaches clean with every visit…
SUNBATHE IN THE COVE
Lauded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland Barley Cove in West Cork is a pristine and peaceful beach located at the end of Mizen Head. The clear blue waves of the Atlantic ocean bounce up and down on the sand. The beach is south facing and is the perfect place to sunbathe and swim, bring a wind-breaker to take the edge off the south-westerly breeze.
Insider Tip: Do a 2 minute beach clean
One of the biggest parts of conservation is raising awareness. Help educate others by teaching your family and your children how to clean up after visiting a beach, do a 2 minute beach clean by picking up all litter and leaving no trace. While this might seem pretty insignificant, every time you pick up a piece of plastic and remove it from the environment it is no longer a danger to the animals that live there.
WALK MORE THAN AN INCH
Inch Beach in Kerry was chosen by David Lean as the location for "Ryan's Daughter." With three miles of beautiful white sandy beach and an ever changing sky we can see why the strand caught the cinematographer’s eye. You too can take in its amazing vista with a breath-taking walk on the beach or enjoy some water sports, it’s safe for all types including surfing, kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing as well as swimming.
Insider Tip: Have a plastic free picnic
Inch Beach has some of the most picturesque picnic spots in Kerry and is a great pit stop on the way to Dingle. Bring your own plastic free packed lunch to the beach and there will be no need to add plastic waste to your trip. #saynotoplastics
LEARN TO SURF
Located near Donegal Town Rossnowlagh beach has soft, golden sand and exceptional views. It’s the spot where beginner surfers learn how to ride the waves. In the summer it's a hive of activity but often in winter, you can have the beach to yourself and enjoy a private viewing of the most dramatic sunrises and sunsets.
Insider Tip: Bring a water bottle
Bring your own water bottle or reusable cup and ensure there is #oneless plastic bottle in the ocean.
MESSAGE WITHOUT A BOTTLE
TAKE TO THE SKIES
Nestled in Liscannor Bay Lahinch’s sandy crescent shaped beach needs no introduction. Facing the full force of the Atlantic ocean the beach is beloved by surfers and kite surfers alike. It’s the kind of beach that Irish summers were made for, with fun activities available both in and out of the water. It's the place to try every water sport imaginable – from surfing, kite-surfing and wind-surfing to water-skiing and sailing.
Insider Tip: Respect the sand dunes
As fun as it might seem to walk through and jump over the sand dunes at the beach it can weaken the structure of dunes which can lead to coastal erosion. When entering or leaving the beach area stay close to designated access points and avoid taking unnecessary journeys through dune systems.
GO FOR A DIVE
One of 5 Blue Flag beaches on Achill Island, Keem Bay is the stuff that dreams are made of. The magnificent sandy cove is flagged by mountains and the most amazing turquoise waters you can imagine. Legend has it, it’s where the artist Paul Henry painted his picture 'Launching the Currach' (in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin). It’s a popular bathing spot and its clear, clean waters make it an amazing place for scuba divers.
Insider Tip: Leave nothing but your footprints
It seems like common sense, but if you drop that piece of litter and it starts to float away in the wind chase after it. Don’t leave bags of rubbish or clothes on the beach in the hope that it will be dealt with by somebody else. Leave nothing but your footprints in the sand.
TEAM BEACH CLEANS
We feel strongly about giving back and protecting our surroundings, that’s why 150 of our team members across the business will spend a day throughout the year on organised beach clean’s organised in association with Clean Coasts.
FLYING THE BLUE FLAG
This year has seen a record number of Blue Flag beaches win awards in Ireland, and it gets better every year. Enjoy those pure shores and take some of Clean Coasts tips with you as you go this summer.
CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE BEACH ESSENTIALS
MORE TO READ
Loved the idea of clean beaches? Why not try some clean eating at one of our incredible restaurants in our Dublin and Cork stores read all about it in Food for Thought.