Ireland’s bathing waters are of still of a very high standard, even if they are a bit cooler than popular European holiday destinations, according to the EPA.
Around three-quarters of all Irish bathing waters (128 coastal and 9 inland waters) met the new stricter standard of ‘Excellent’ quality based on an assessment of data for the period 2011-2014.
Eleven bathing waters in County Clare achieved the ‘Excellent’ standard rating, including Ballyallia Lake, Ballycuggeran, Bishopsquater, Cappagh Pier in Kilrush, Fanore, Kilkee, Lahinch, Mountshannon, Lough Derg, Spanish Point and White Strand – Doonbeg and Miltown Malbay.
Current water quality at most sites around the country is extremely good with only a few problems having been reported to SPLASH (splash.epa.ie), the national bathing water website. The website has an interactive, colour-coded map that allows people to check out any of the 137 EU identified bathing waters.
Peter Webster, senior scientist at the EPA and author of the 2014 Bathing Water report commented,
“Despite a fairly dull summer, the quality of our many of our waters, particularly those on the west coast, is just as good as on beaches in the Mediterranean. We would urge residents in Clare heading to the coast or to inland bathing sites to check out the water quality in these areas before commencing their journey by checking the SPLASH website or following the EPA on Twitter @EPABathingWater . Water quality data and information on any bathing restrictions is also displayed locally on local authority websites and on the beach notice boards”.
The EPA also warns even ‘safe’ bathing waters can still present a hazard to the unwary and there are a few simple precautions you can take to help keep yourself safe in the water:
· Never go swimming alone
· Always let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back
· Don’t drink and swim – it can be a deadly combination!
· Wear a wetsuit – our waters are typically only around 14 -16°C