Clean Coasts hosted the Ocean Hero Awards Ceremony at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel ,Golden Lane in Dublin, to celebrate and thank the groups, individuals, communities, and businesses who, throughout the year, have done outstanding work to protect their local coastline and environment.
Each year, the Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. Established in 2006 as the ‘Clean Coasts’ Merit Awards,’ the accolades initially featured a single category, ‘The Clean Coasts Group of the Year.’ Over the years, the program has evolved, engaging over 2,000 Clean Coasts groups and 40,000 volunteers, becoming an integral part of coastal communities nationwide.
This year, the Ocean Hero Awards take on special significance as Clean Coasts marks its 20th Anniversary. For the past 20 years, Clean Coasts has grown from strength to strength expanding and creating campaigns and initiatives aimed at enjoying, protecting and celebrating the beauty of our coast. None of that would be possible without the groups and volunteers all across Ireland that have helped make and grow the programme into what it is today and 2023 was a year like no other.
This year, Clean Coasts has chosen 7 dedicated categories with a total of 33 groups, organisations and individuals shortlisted for the title of Ocean Hero within each category. During the ceremony, the work and achievements of all 33 groups have been showcased and celebrated, and winners for each category have been announced:
In County Dublin, Rush Tidy Towns and Bull Island Action Group were both honoured and shortlisted with Bull Island Action Group receiving an extra special acknowledgement.
Rush Tidy Towns were nominated in the Group of the Year category and Bull Island Action Group was nominated in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion category.
Rush Tidy Towns was honoured along with 3 other groups with the The Tourism Special Recognition Award (supported by Fáilte Ireland).
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. Nominees in this category demonstrate a commitment to preserving coastal beauty, engaging communities, and implementing initiatives that align with responsible tourism principles, aligning with Clean Coasts’ mission to protect and celebrate our oceans.
Rush Tidy Towns were nominated for their dune protection work, consistency in beach clean ups and to recognise their appointment as one of the national Sustainable Development Goals champions for 2023/2024.
Moreover, the group did amazing work to promote sustainable initiatives: for example, they joined the St. Patrick’s Day parade with costumes made from plastic found on beach cleans that had as a theme activities you can do on their Blue Flag beach.
Bull Island Action Group is also one of Clean Coasts oldest groups and in honour of 20 Years of Clean Coasts and 20 years of Bull Island Action Group – they were awarded the Special Achievement award for their longevity dedication to the Clean Coasts programme.
Pic Credit: J Barker / Naoise Culhane