Green Coast Awarded Beaches in Donegal for 2023

By Elena T.

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What does "Green coast awarded beach" mean, and why is it a good choice for a day out?

Have you seen a withe flag with a green figure above the car park when you arrived at the beach on a Summer day? If yes - then you are at a Green Coast Awarded beach.

You can experience excellent water quality and a natural, unspoiled environment on those beaches.

An essential aspect of the Green Coast Award is the thousands of volunteers nationwide who work hard in the community to clean up the local beaches and manage them sensitively throughout the year.

A Green Coast Awarded Beach has to be:

  1. Managed carefully and in close consultation with conservation organisations to account for their environmentally sensitive nature as part of a management plan.
  2. Cleaned of litter sensitively without removing natural debris such as driftwood and seaweed.
  3. Consideration should be given to the visual impact of facilities and signs, if they are present, on the surrounding landscape.

In 2022 there are 62 Green Coast Awarded beaches around Ireland, 4 of which are in Donegal. Here is the complete list of the Green Coast Awarded beaches in Donegal:

Drumnatinney Beach

Dooey Beach

Ballyheirnan Bay

Magheroarty Beach

Thothether with Blue Flag Beaches, Green Coast Awarded Beaches are worldwide recognised eco-labels that mean to raise environmental awareness and promote sound environmental management of beaches, marinas, and eco-tourism boats around the world.

a sandy beach with a sign

Green Coast Awarded Beach Criteria:

  1. Physical parameters of Water, Beach, and/or Coastal Belt need to be adhered to.

  1. All developments/ construction at the site to adhere to National EIA/EMP processes.

  1. Unless carried out according to the relevant Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) guidelines and regulations for the region, no additional sources of industrial, wastewater or sewage-related discharges will be allowed at the Green Coast site.

  1. A specialist monitoring plan must be (a) Developed and (b) Implemented, for a specific Green Coast site theme (habitat/species/ heritage).

  1. All facilities must be maintained and kept clean.

  1. All man-made infrastructure to be in very good condition at all times. All facilities to be scored on a scale of 1–5. No facility should score below 4.

  1. Solid waste management/ maintenance plan.

  1. Unauthorized driving and camping on the beach is banned and adequate signage is available to show this.

  1. The use of domestic animals (dogs, horses) on the beach needs to be strictly managed and controlled.

  1. A tourism activity plan that identifies specific zones for tourism activities has been developed and implemented.

  1. All-natural debris or material should be left on the beach and not removed.

  1. Every Green Coast site must have a monitoring plan based on its selected theme. The data collected from the monitoring plan must be submitted to the National Operator upon reapplication.

  1. At least two environmental education activities and one coastal clean-up should take place at the Green Coast site each annual period.


The full 2022 Blue Flag and Green Coast Awards Press Release

Find out more about Donegal's beautiful Green Coast Awarded beaches: