Swimming bans at many Irish beaches amid water quality issues

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Tomas Doherty
Swimming has been banned at several popular beaches after councils reported poor water quality following recent heavy rain.

Beaches and swimming points in counties Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Kerry and Galway are among those affected after Storm Ellen hit the country on Wednesday and Thursday.

In Wexford, the county council has banned swimming at Ballymoney North, Duncannon and Booley Bay. Ballymoney is a blue-flag status beach and Booley Bay is recognised as a green coast beach.

Routine testing by the council’s bathing water sampling programme showed E. coli and Intestinal Enterococci in the bathing water breached the mandatory levels at the three beaches.


Technical staff from Wexford County Council are investigating the matter, and the elevated levels of bacteria may be due, in part, to recent spells of heavy rain, a spokesman for the council said.

The ban will be reviewed on Saturday. For now, beach lifeguards at Ballymoney North and Duncannon beaches will fly a red flag indicating swimming is prohibited, while signage will also be placed at Booley Bay beach.


A temporary bathing prohibition notice has also been issued for Seapoint beach in Co Dublin.

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Please note that a temporary Bathing Prohibition Notice has been issued at Seapoint beach. Swimming and...

Posted by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on Thursday, August 20, 2020

In a statement on Thursday, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said that the notice was being issued after test results revealed poor water quality at the beach.

The council said that the results “indicate an increase in the levels of bacteria found in the bathing water, as a result of overflows from the Irish Water wastewater network”.

The notice is in place until August 25th, with further testing set to take place.

Waterford County Council has warned against swimming at several beaches amid concerns over water quality.

A ban is in place at Dunmore Councillors strand, Lawlors Strand, Tramore Beach and Pier, Boatstrand, Ardmore and Newtown Cove. Advisory notices are in place for Bunmahon and Stradbally.

In a short statement, the council said testing is ongoing and restrictions will remain in place until at least Sunday.

In Galway, a bathing prohibition notice was given for Ballyloughane due to the possibility of an increase in bacteria levels in the bathing water over the coming days.


A prior warning notice was issued for swimmers at Grattan Beach.

Bathing Notices - Ballyloughane and Grattan Beaches

Bathers are advised of the possibility of an increase in the levels...

Posted by Galway City Council on Friday, August 21, 2020

The county council also issued an advisory notice for swimmers at Traught beach in Kinvara due to elevated bacteria levels this week.

Kerry County Council has brought in swimming bans at Fenit beach and diving board area, Inny beach in Waterville and Waterville town beach. This was due to water samples showing an elevation of E. coli at certain beaches, the council said.

Further water samples are being taken to allow the council assess the situation ahead of the weekend.

In Co Cork, Barleycove beach has no public access from its car park – the pontoon is out of service following damage from Storm Ellen.

Barleycove pontoon is out of service due to storm damage and there is currently no public access to Barleycove beach from the car park area pending repairs to the pontoon.

Posted by Cork County Council on Friday, August 21, 2020

After a stormy week, Met Éireann is predicting a more settled weekend though there will still be strong winds at times.

Saturday is forecast to be quite cool and breezy with a mix of scattered showers and sunny spells. Maximum temperatures will range between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.

Sunday will see a mix of sunshine and scattered showers, merging to give longer spells of rain at times in the northwest. However, there will be good dry spells in the east with maximum temperatures of 15 to 19 degrees, according to Met Éireann.

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