Three Donegal groups win at Ocean Hero Awards

THREE DONEGAL Clean Coasts groups have won awards at this year’s Ocean Hero Awards held in Dublin yesterday.

Clean Coasts celebrated groups and individuals from the county who made a difference to the marine environment this year, with Falcarragh Clean Coasts Group, Inishowen-based North West Home Education Group and Friends of Rossnowlagh winning prizes.

Falcarragh Clean Coasts Group were honoured along with three other groups with The Tourism Special Recognition Award.


The Tourism Special Recognition Award, supported by Fáilte Ireland, acknowledges outstanding contributions in promoting sustainable tourism along our coastlines. This accolade honours individuals or groups who have significantly enhanced the visitor experience by fostering environmental stewardship and conservation practices.

The group adhered to the “Protect our Dunes” campaign and created signage in collaboration with Clean Coasts and Donegal County Council.

The aim was to create something easy to understand and observe. Drumnatinney Beach is part of the Ballyness Bay SAC and has some of the most impressive sand dunes systems in the country. Latest observations show the signage is working well and visitors largely keep of the dunes. The group’s effort to conserve the dunes set an example for other groups to follow and the signage they created will be used as a template at other sites in Donegal.

Friends of Rossnowlagh Clean Coasts Group won the Campaigner of the Year Award at the Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards.

The Campaigner of the Year Award is an award given to dedicated groups that demonstrates outstanding commitment and innovation in supporting existing Clean Coasts Campaigns as well as helping harness new campaigns and initiatives based on concerns in their area or nationwide, celebrating and honour individuals or groups who have made a significant impact on coastal conservation and environmental stewardship.

Friends of Rossnowlagh Clean Coasts Group has encouraged the public to clean up after their dogs by inviting all the four-legged friends to join their humans for a clean-up. Participants received a doggie bandana and free bags to equip them for their beach walks. Rossnowlagh Clean Coasts group have shown immense creativity and forward-thinking in their campaigning and the dedication towards keeping their stretch of the coastline free from any marine litter.

Finally, North West Home Education Group won the Youth of the Year Award.


This award honours our younger Clean Coasts volunteers. This group of children and young adults who are home educating, joined Clean Coasts in 2021 and have carried out beach and river cleans in Inishowen.

Cathy Baxter, Director of An Taisce’s Environmental Education Unit, Ruben White, Reuben Throne and Conall O’Connor, Representative for the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage with the North West Home Education Group in Donegal who have won the Youth of the Year category for the Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards 2023 for carrying out beach & river cleans in Inishowen as well as advocating for the Think Before Your Flush Campaign.

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