Possible ‘Blue Flag’ reinstatement for Redbarn Beach offers hope for tourism in Youghal
It’s a question of bad news and good news for the popular seaside resort of Youghal recently. Last winter, its famous boardwalk fell prey to vicious storms. Now, just as plans are being finalised to restore the boardwalk, Youghal was struck by another body blow. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have advised Cork County Council to close Youghal’s Front Strand due to “poor e.coli results”. This will mean that Cork County Council will be forced to put up ‘No Swim’ signs from June 1st to September 15th next summer.
But the good news is that one of Youghal’s other beaches, Redbarn, just 5 kilometres east of the town, will continue to retain its “Excellent” status from the EPA, with a high likelihood of regaining its accolade of Blue Flag Status for 2015.
Alan McEnery, the General Manager of the Quality Hotel in Youghal has been monitoring the Blue Flag process, “With our hotel and the adjacent self catering holiday homes and apartments just metres from Redbarn Strand, a Blue Flag status has been very much in our focus. Now, however, with the probable closing of the Front Strand, Redbarn is even more important for all the people of Youghal and tourism in the region generally. Hopefully, a Blue Flag designation for our Redbarn Beach will go some way to helping the people of Youghal cope with the closure of the Front Strand.”
The Blue Flag designation is one of the most recognised and sought after eco-labels in the world. To achieve this accolade beaches must comply with a very strict set of criteria including water quality, beach management, safety and environmental education. In Ireland, the Blue Flag is operated in Ireland by An Taisce-The National Trust for Ireland on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).