Throughout the troubles there were repeated comments to the effect that the violence was a huge impediment to the tourist industry. I have absolutely no doubt that that was correct. The idea went on that but for the violence we would have had hordes of tourists flocking to our unspoilt beaches; indeed I remember some favourable comparing of our beaches to Mediterranean ones. At that point unfortunately the argument fell down. The other thing that was omitted was that Northern Ireland’s weather is subtly different to that of Spain or the South of France and there is a certain temperature difference between the Mediterranean and the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic. Unfortunately now, however, although we have peace (of a sort) our beaches seem to be doing less well in terms of cleanliness: though many still seem to be “recommended”, we are doing less well than the East or South Coast of England. Incidentally I think the best beaches I have ever seen were those on the west coast of the Harris and Lewis but their climate makes ours seem a bit better and unsurprisingly they have relatively few people on the beaches.

  • George

    The price you have to pay for being the only region in Britain or Ireland without an Environmental Protection Agency where developers are allowed build houses even if there is no waste infrastructure and as a result raw sewage is pumped into the sea.

    Hardly surprising that huge fines for breaches of of EU Directives loom. Unless of course the Assembly is on top of this problem.

  • joeCanuck

    There are some amazing beaches on the west coast – Portsalon immediately comes to mind. The only reason they are not crowded is the uncertain weather. That might change over the next 50 years if global warming continues.

  • Rory

    Irish beaches have been a cause of concern for some time as this reminiscence of an earlier time recalls:

  • Dewi

    Well done Rory – good bloke.

  • snowjoke

    Irish Beaches – beautiful to look at but dont try going into the water unless you have 6 inches of blubber on you. One of the things I dont miss about Ireland. I love the beaches here in North America, both Atlantic and Pacific, in latitudes where immersion in the ocean is not going to lead to immediate heart failure.
    Guys, when you market Ireland as atourist destination, dont try to out-do the Med or the Caribbean beach life. Use the natural beauty of the place and the Irish culture. It works, trust me.

  • “raw sewage is pumped into the sea.”

    Never. Never. Never.

  • “impediment to the tourist industry”




  • George

    at least you don’t leave near Lough Neagh, which has moved to the next level for fresh water: hypertrophic.

  • Harry Flashman

    I’ve been dubious about these ‘beach surveys’ for some time. I remember being on a beach on the Italian Adriatic a few years back and the Blue Flag indicating that this was a super duper EU certified clean beach was flying proudly. One afternoon I took my partner’s kid in for a swim, there was something odd about the water, it was a peculiar grey colour then I looked at the wee girl she was coated in a fine grey sheen of toilet paper, as were the surrounding rocks. I never ran so quickly for a shower in all my life.

    Now when I returned I happened to be visiting Magilligan Strand and noticed approvingly the long clean white beach with the clear green North Atlantic washing majestically along the shore. I was then shocked to discover that this beach had lost its coveted Blue Flag status and this intrigued me.

    It turns out of course that there is no standard group of EU beach inspectors who fearlessly examine each beach before deciding its status but rather local bureaucrats whose job it is determine the beach status. In the UK these fearless champions of their desks will go out of their way to prove the beaches are filthy so that they can get more “resources” and “funding” to clean them up whereas in Italy any jobsworth who told the local businessmen in a tourist resort that the beach was too dirty would find himself in very close contact with the shore, approximately three meters out wearing concrete Guccis.

  • Harry, families have been using the beaches in and around Portballintrae for generations. I’m told that the authorities were reluctant to classify these beaches as, er, beaches because they would have had to take water samples and then action to remedy any deficiencies.

  • George, if I can tamper with some lyrics, from a distance all looks blue or green …

  • The Raven

    “In the UK these fearless champions of their desks will go out of their way to prove the beaches are filthy so that they can get more “resources” and “funding””

    Spot on. The Blue Flag was just a badge, the sort of thing Nolan makes a story out of. You will go a long way to find beaches upon which proper resources are lavished to maintain cleanliness, more than those on the North Coast, especially in Limavady Borough.

    To make my point – take a run down at about 7 o’clock any Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday night. Then see the difference once the crews have been out, clearing up half of Derry’s shite, by the next morning.

  • David Ford


    More bad news: according to a journalist, the statement being made by the Environment Minister in the Assembly tomorrow will be about revamping the existing EHS, rather than setting up an Independent EPA.

    Quite how this meets Mr Justice Weatherup’s ruling on independent advice to the Planning Service is unclear. (Nevin will doubtless point us to the details of the Judicial Review taken by a Mr Sweeney against the Northern Area Plan).

    While MLAs (even those on the Environment Committee) know nothing, the journalist’s call I received this afternoon is entirely in line with informed speculation by NGOs.

    Arlene must have been persuasive at last week’s Executive meeting, as the other three Executive parties all say/all said they support an EPA. Well, at least she must be more persuasive than Catriona.