The Environment Department of Cork County Council is responsible for monitoring bathing water quality and making information available to the public during the bathing season.

All bathing waters are required to meet stringent microbiological standards for Intestinal Enterococci and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.

Local Authorities are required to take a minimum of five (5) samples per bathing season, one sample before the start of the bathing season and a minimum of four samples distributed throughout the bathing season. The bathing season in any year runs from 1st June to 15th September. The pre-season sampling period runs from 22nd to 31st May.

For more information on bathing water Quality legislation log onto

Water Quality Information is displayed at each beach and can also be accessed at

Of the 29 beaches currently monitored formally by Cork County Council Environment department 14 of these are Identified under the Bathing Water Quality regulations 2008 (SI No.79 of 2008---Directive 2006/7/EC).  The current list of Identified Bathing Areas in County Cork are below.

  • Youghal Claycastle
  • Youghal Front strand
  • Redbarn
  • Garryvoe
  • Garretstown
  • Garrylucas
  • Coolmaine
  • Fountainstown
  • Inchydoney
  • Owenahincha
  • Warren
  • Tragumna
  • Barleycove
  • Inchydoney East

Local authorities decide on which bathing waters are "identified" for monitoring, management and assessment under the 2008 Bathing Water Quality Regulations. The public can propose new identified bathing waters for consideration by Cork County Council by submitting nominations by post or by e-mail.  The postal address is as follows: Identified Bathing Waters, Municipal District Operations and Rural Operations, Cork County Council, Floor 5, County Hall, Cork or alternatively nominations can be e-mailed to

To make a full submission, please use the EPA Guideline document for the public and relevant application form included under Annex 1, which must be completed and returned with supporting documentation in order to make a fuller assessment of any submission. click here for document.

For further information regarding participation in the identification of new bathing waters process you can e-mail: The following link is also useful

Of the beaches currently monitored by Cork County Council Environment department, 11 identified bathing waters have achieved Blue Flag Status for 2023 season.

The list of 11 Blue Flags awarded to Cork for the 2023 bathing season are as follows:

  • Garrylucas (Ballinspittle)
  • Garretstown (Ballinspittle)
  • Redbarn (Youghal)
  • Inchydoney West (Clonakilty)
  • Barleycove (Schull)
  • Owenahincha (Roscarbery)
  • Tragumna (Skibbereen)
  • Claycastle (Youghal)
  • Inchydoney East (Clonakilty)
  • Youghal Front Strand
  • Fountainstown

The Blue Flag Award is an International Campaign administered in Ireland by An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland) with support from the Department of Environment, Heritage and local Government and at the European level by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). To receive a Blue Flag, an identified bathing area must meet stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of bathers who choose to bathe there.

Of the beaches currently monitored by Cork County Council Environment department 15 bathing waters have achieved Green Coast status for the 2023 season.

The current list of Green Cost bathing waters for Cork 2023 are:

  • Ring (Youghal)
  • Ardnahinch
  • Inch
  • Ballyrisode
  • Galleycove
  • Dooneen Pier (Sheeps Head)
  • Garinish
  • Red Strand
  • Fountainstown
  • Rocky bay
  • Silver Strand, Sherkin Island
  • Cadogan's Strand
  • East Beach Inchydoney
  • Ballynamona
  • Oysterhaven

The Green Coast Awards were first operated with Authorities in Wales and now extend to the coastline of Ireland.

It is funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and is supported by Fáilte Ireland, Coca Cola and SECAD (South East Cork Area Development).

Cork County Council achieved its first 2 Green Coast awards in 2009, this has increased to 15 awards in 2023.

The Green Coast Award is a specially designed award for those rural beaches which have excellent water quality but do not necessarily have the strict infrastructure that is required to meet all the criteria set for Blue Flag status e.g. toilets, parking, lifeguards, etc.

Community involvement through local coast care groups is a requirement for the Green Coast Award and Cork County Council would like to commend the excellent work and commitment of our local community / coast care groups in the management and care of their local coastline.

Further information on Green Coast awards can be found at

Application for a Beach Permit.

Please click the following link for Beach Bye-laws.