Mayo remains unique as one of Europe's most unspoiled regions in environmental terms. Clean coastal and inland waters, Blue Flag beaches, flora and fauna and the splendour of superb natural scenery are treasures which must be protected. Mayo County Council has prime responsibility for protecting the environment in consultation with other state bodies, local community and interest groups.
There are few regions in Europe to match the quality of Mayo's beaches and the County is the proud holder of 12 Blue Flag awards.
The beaches, recognised as being among the most outstanding in Europe, are each served with a comprehensive information panel, giving full details of amenities, flora and fauna.
LOUISBURGH: Carrawmore Beach
ACHILL: Keem Beach, Keel Beach, Dugort Beach, Golden Strand, Dooega Beach
KILLALA: Ross Strand
BELMULLET: Mullaghroe Beach, Elly Bay Beach
MURRISK: Bertra Beach
MULRANNY: Mulranny Beach
For further information on Blue Flag beaches in Mayo, visit County Mayo's Beaches
Mayo County Council
Tel: ++ 353 (0) 94 902 4444
Fax: ++ 353 (0) 94 902 3937
The European Blue Flag for beaches is awarded annually and is only valid for one year. First a national jury, then the European Jury sort the applicants and award those eligible to receive the Blue Flag.
The following criteria are looked at:
There are strict bathing water testing and quality requirements. Samples must be taken at least fortnightly and analysed.
The beach and its immediate hinterland must comply with development plans drawn up according to planning laws and regulations. Beaches must be kept clean of algae and other vegetation accumulating in stormy weather.
The Blue Flag Campaign builds on environmental education and information. The aim of the Campaign is to increase the public environmental awareness and to create a platform for active participation in the protection of the environment.
As a result, Blue Flag beaches must serve the visiting public by giving information on protected sites and rare species in the area. This information must include a public code of conduct. Information on the water quality as well as information about the criteria of the Blue Flag must be posted near the Blue Flag.
A minimum of five educational activities must be organised during the season. Many will have a general information centre for visitors.
In order to keep the area tidy and clean, there must be enough litter and garbage containers. On beaches unauthorized driving, beach bike or car races are not allowed during the bathing season. Likewise, dumping and un-authorized camping is prohibited. Regulations concerning the access of dogs, horses and other pets to the beach must be enforced.
There should be easy and safe access to the beach, which also must have beach guards on duty during the bathing season and/or adequate lifesaving equipment. There must be zoning of different recreational activities so as to avoid conflicts between them and with the surrounding environment.
There must be an adequate number of sanitary facilities which are cleaned and maintained regularly. Sewage from such facilities must be treated in an appropriate plant. Easy access to drinking water and public phones is recommended. Likewise, easy access and special facilities for disabled persons are highly recommended.
Flying the Blue Flag means a commitment and thus an obligation for the Blue Flag location. When signing the application and after receiving the Blue Flag, the local authorities enter a co-operation with the Blue Flag Campaign, a co-operation that is based on the principle of voluntary action in respect of the Blue Flag requirements.
The awarded location commits itself to inform the public of what the Blue Flag means, to maintain the Blue Flag standard throughout the season, to be forthcoming in case of complaints, and to remove the Blue Flag if the standard cannot be maintained.