Winners from across Ireland honoured by Clean Coasts being Ocean Heroes
Meet Ireland’s Ocean Heroes!
Over the past two weeks Clean Coasts have honoured winning groups, individuals, communities and businesses who have won an Ocean Hero Award for outstanding work and commitment to their coastlines and areas.
Each year, the Ocean Hero Awards honour the invaluable contribution Clean Coasts volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving our spectacular coastline. The awards, originally called the ‘Clean Coasts Merit Awards’, were conceived in 2006. Being Ireland’s foremost community-based coastal education programme, the Clean Coasts programme can count on the work of over 1,800 volunteer groups and over 37,000 volunteers. The involvement and support of the whole community are essential to the work of Clean Coasts and the Ocean Hero Awards is an award thought to recognise the invaluable contribution volunteers, groups and communities have made towards conserving the Irish coastline.
It has been an unusual year, and, like everyone, Clean Coasts and their volunteers have had to adapt. The continued support, engagement, and interest from the many Clean Coasts volunteers around the country has been outstanding, showing dedication and resilience through these testing times. Clean Coasts understands that it was not possible for everybody to take part in clean-up activities this year and for some it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to get out to those places that they love and normally care for. Nonetheless, there is great value in sharing examples of the creative solutions that groups have come up with to inspire us all to look ahead to the new year.
In an effort to recognise the growth of our volunteer groups, the number of Ocean Hero categories have expanded to include ten categories in 2021.
The categories include:
- Clean Coasts Group of Year
- Clean Coasts Volunteer of the Year
- Clean Coasts Youth of the Year
- Clean Coasts #2minutebeachclean Leader Award
- Clean Coasts #BigBeachClean Award
- Clean Coasts Beach Clean Bubble Award
- Clean Coasts #EnjoyandProtect Award
- Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water)
- Clean Coasts Corporate Volunteering Award
- Clean Coasts Amazing Achievements Great and Small Award
In 2021 a total of 36 groups, organisations and individuals were shortlisted for the title of Ocean Hero within each of the ten categories.
All shortlisted nominees were sent a congratulatory package to thank them for their contribution to coasts across Ireland despite the various challenges that 2021 brought.
The ten winners from each of the categories hail from all over Ireland, including Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Louth, Mayo, Sligo and Wexford.
This year in place of a traditional awards ceremony Clean Coasts decided to do something a little bit different. They surprised the winners in each of the ten categories located across Ireland with their very own Covid safe awards ceremony where they were presented with their very own engraved Ocean Heroes trophy.
Sinead McCoy, Clean Coasts Manager said: “I would like to congratulate all of the Ocean Hero Awardee, our shortlist and winners are incredibly inspiring volunteers, groups and communities that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting Ireland’s coastal environment. The Clean Coasts programme’s Ocean Hero Awards have been celebrating the incredible efforts of volunteers around the Irish Coastline since 2006. Although 2021 has been challenging at times it has been an incredible year for Clean Coasts and our network has grown so much and shown an incredible amount of dedication and care for our beaches, coastline, marine life and oceans. We were delighted to have received so many inspirational nominations that show not only the true dedication of these coastal custodians, but also that their efforts don’t go unnoticed by the community.”
These various ceremonies were filmed and compiled into a celebration video that can be found on Clean Coast’s YouTube Channel here: https://youtu.be/4dkQ4TxfusU
2021 Ocean Hero Award winners included:
Group of the Year Award Winner 2021
Cooley Community Alert Peninsula Marine, Dundalk, Co. Louth
Individual of the Year Award Winner 2021
Mairead Staunton Keep Our Beaches Clean, Co. Mayo
Youth of the Year Award Winner 2021
St Colman’s Community College, Midleton, Co. Cork
#2minutebeachclean Leader Award Winner 2021
Sean Ferguson, Co. Wexford
Big Beach Clean Award Winner 2021
Banna Beach Coastcare Group, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Enjoy and Protect Award Winner 2021
Subowti, Co. Cork
Beach Clean Bubble Award Winner 2021
Keep Our Beaches Clean, Co. Mayo
Think Before You Flush Award 2021
Martina Butler – North West Sea Kayaking Association, Co. Sligo
Corporate Volunteering Award Winner 2021
Amazing Efforts Award Winner 2021
Caroline Davy, Co. Cork
Group of the Year 2021
Winner: Cooley Community Alert Peninsula Marine, Dundalk, Co. Louth
|Friends of Rossnowlagh||Co. Donegal|
|Clean Coasts Ballynamona||Youghal, Co. Cork|
|Ring Peninsula Community Group||Co. Waterford|
Individual of the Year 2021
Winner: Mairead Staunton Keep Our Beaches Clean, Co. Mayo
|Clare Wall||Co. Donegal||Friends of Rossnowlagh|
|Rachel Saint Sevin||Arklow Co Wicklow||Arklow Coastcare Group|
|Sally O’ Reilly||Youghal, Co. Cork||Clean Coasts Ballynamona
Youth of the Year 2021
Winner: St Colman’s Community College, Midleton, Co. Cork
|Scoil Mhuire Buncrana||Co. Donegal|
|Hazel and Jesse Hastings||Co. Mayo (Keep Our Beaches Clean)|
#2minutebeachclean Leader Award 2021
Winner: Sean Ferguson, Co. Wexford
|Keep Sligo Clean||Co. Sligo|
(Mark Schull or The Plastic Bandits)
|Skull, Co Cork|
|Leitrim Litterpicker||Co. Leitrim|
Big Beach Clean Award 2021
Winner: Banna Beach Coastcare Group, Tralee, Co. Kerry
|Bettystown Tidy Town||Co. Meath|
|Gormanstown Community Association Ltd.||Co. Meath|
|Tramore Eco Group
(Also mention Ann and 2minutbeachclean in write up).
Enjoy and Protect Award 2021
Winner: Subowti, Co. Cork
|Wexford Sub Aqua Club||Co. Wexford|
|Heron Help||Co. Cork|
|Our Crossing||Co. Sligo|
Beach Clean Bubble Award 2021
Winner: Keep Our Beaches Clean, Co. Mayo
|Killaspugbrone Clean Coasts||Co. Sligo|
|Bettystown Tidy Towns||Co. Meath|
|Wexford Estuary Group||Co. Wexford|
Think Before You Flush Award 2021
Winner: Martina Butler – North West Sea Kayaking Association , Co. Sligo
- DCU Canoe Club
- UCD Surf Club
Corporate Volunteering Award 2021
Winner: Lidl Ireland
- Ulster Bank
Amazing Efforts Award 2021
Winner: Caroline Davy, Co. Cork
About Clean Coasts:
Clean Coasts is a charity programme, run through the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, which engages communities in the protection of Ireland’s beaches, seas and marine life. Clean Coasts works with communities to help protect and care for Ireland’s waterways, coastline, seas, ocean and marine life. Clean Coasts thrives to create tangible and immediate improvements to Ireland’s coastal environment, involving thousands of volunteers removing large quantities of marine litter from our coastline each year.
Clean Coasts has grown over the years and now includes two main national clean-up drives. Other initiatives include the Green Coast Award, the Love Your Coast Photography competition, the Clean Coasts Roadshows for coastal communities and the Ocean Hero Awards. All these initiatives are aimed at celebrating the beauty of our coast and the efforts of our volunteers across all of Ireland.
Currently, there are over 1,800 registered Clean Coasts volunteering groups. There are a variety of group types such as community groups, residents’ associations, tidy towns groups, sports clubs, schools, businesses, universities etc. Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from Ireland’s beaches and waterways. Our volunteering has expanded to also include Corporate Volunteering.