5 Irish beaches closed due to pollution concerns

An increase of two from last year, a total of five Irish beaches have been closed due to pollution concerns and poor water quality.

5 Irish beaches closed due to pollution concerns.

Those hoping to bathe in the waters of Ireland’s beaches this year will have their options reduced by five.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended the closure of five Irish beaches due to pollution concerns and poor water quality.

However, the report also shows that the vast majority of Ireland’s beaches are unsurprisingly excellent.

Irish beaches – some of the best in the world

Curracloe Strand at sunrise.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Celtic Routes

As an island, Ireland boasts miles and miles of beaches, with pristine sands and clear, albeit cold, waters in the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

In fact, back in April Beach Atlas named County Wexford’s Curracloe Beach among its top 100 beaches in the world at its annual Golden Beach Awards.

Whether you fancy some water sports or wild swimming, or simply want to kick back and relax, you can rest assured there’s a beach in Ireland for you.

Irish beaches closed over summer – pollution concerns

A sign that reads no swimming beside a body of water.
Credit: Pexels/ Marta Wave

Unfortunately, the EPA has revealed that a total of five beaches across the country are out of use due to pollution concerns. This marks an increase of two closures from last year’s three.

Last year, Front Strand in Balbriggan, County Dublin, Lady’s Bay in Buncrana, County Donegal, and Tra na mBan in An Spidéal, County Galway, were forced to close due to poor water quality. All three remain closed this summer.

Joining the aforementioned on the closed list are two more County Dublin beaches: the suburban Sandymount Beach and Loughshinny in the north of the county.

The principal reason for the beaches’ closure was heavy rainfall last summer that caused drains and sewage pipes to overflow. July saw record rainfall for the month in Ireland, while two storms in August did not help matters.

Other issues that affect water quality include runoff from nearby farm fields, harmful algal blooms, dog fouling, and in the case of the three County Dublin beaches mentioned above, sewage misconnections.

The future of our bathing waters – protecting Ireland’s beaches

Sunrise at Loughshinny, one of five Irish beaches closed due to pollution concerns.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool/ Brenda Harris

Despite the closure of these five beaches, the EPA reports that overall bathing quality in Ireland is high. 97% of the 148 beaches tested met the minimum standard. Of these, 114 (77%) were deemed excellent, 24 good, and five sufficient.

However, the increased number of closures gives cause for concern. The EPA’s report underscored the “need to build climate resistance” like “sustainable urban drainage [to] help reduce the pressure on surface water collection systems”.

It also recommended improvements in agricultural catchments to mitigate runoff and called on Uisce Éireann to “improve the operation, management, and maintenance of treatment plants and networks which impact on bathing waters”.

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