Clean Coasts Ocean Hero Awards

Clean Coasts asked the public to nominate volunteers who they believe have made an outstanding contribution to Ireland’s coastal environment.

The Clean Coasts programme can count on the work of over 900 volunteer groups nationwide. These inspirational groups work collectively to create a cleaner and more sustainably managed coastline. Ocean Hero has been recognising the efforts of these volunteers for over a decade now and Clean Coasts is looking forward to receive and review nominations for 2019.

What are the Ocean Hero Awards?

The Clean Coasts’ Ocean Hero Awards are about honouring 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, consisting then of only one category, ‘The Clean Coasts’ Group of the Year’. Since then the Clean Coasts’ programme has grown to engage over 900 Clean Coasts groups, becoming embedded in many coastal communities nationwide. 

Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Categories

  • Clean Coasts Group of Year
  • Clean Coasts Volunteer of the Year
  • Clean Coasts Youth of the Year
  • Clean Coasts Youth Group of the Year
  • Clean Coasts Beach Clean of the Year
  • Clean Coasts Fishing Community of the Year (supported by Bord Iscaigh na Mhara)
  • Clean Coasts Business of the Year
  • Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water)

Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Categories*


  • Clean Coasts Group of Year– This award recognises the Clean Coasts group who have made the most significant contribution to our coastline during 2019.
  • Clean Coasts Volunteer of the Year –This award acknowledges those individuals who initiate change and inspire others to do more to protect and conserve their coastline.
  • Clean Coasts Youth Volunteer of the Year – This award honours our younger Clean Coasts volunteers. We would love to hear about individual youths, families, school groups, youth clubs and scout groups etc., who have gone above and beyond to clean our shorelines and raise awareness about the issues facing it.
  • Clean Coasts Beach Clean of the Year – Have you been involved in or heard about a coastal clean-up that really stood out! We are looking for submissions that have made a significant impact to the coastal the environment and brought communities together with a shared purpose of caring for the marine environment.  
  • Clean Coasts Fishing Community of the Year (supported by Bord Iscaigh na Mhara). – This award recognises the effort our seafaring community are currently undertaking to reduce marine litter in their everyday work life. 
  • Clean Coasts Business of the Year – We are looking for nominations outlining what our business community are currently doing to create a healthier coastal environment. (excludes organisations who have taken part in our Corporate Volunteering programme)
  • Think Before You Flush Community of the Year (supported by Irish Water) – This award acknowledges one of the 15 communities chosen to take part in the Think Before You Flush Communities initiative for 2019.

*all nominees should be registered with Clean Coasts programme for at least the past 6 months.



Ocean Hero Awards 2019 – Nominees

Volunteer of the Year

Winner – Proinsias O’Tuama

Proinsias is the founder of both the Clean Coasts Ballynamona and the East Cork Biodiversity Networking Programme. Proinsias continues to build upon this great work and is a driving force in not only Clean Coasts Ballynamona but also St. Colman’s Community College, who have won Ocean Hero School of the Year for the last 4 years.

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Shortlisted Nominees

Louise Hastings

Louise Hastings is the founder of the Keep Our Beaches Clean Coasts group. She runs the group solely and has managed to maintain it despite spending a lot of the year abroad. This wouldn’t be possible without all of the incredible volunteers of course, so she feels very lucky to have the Louisburgh community to support her! 

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Mark McCarthy

Mark McCarty is a Clean Coasts volunteer based in Schull, co. Cork, who works tirelessly with the coast guard and local community to keep Schull safe and beautiful. He travels all over Ireland, spending a lot of his own time educating young people about the importance of sustainability, environment and our impact.

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Sean Ferguson

Seán can be seen cleaning beaches along the Wexford coast every morning all year round. He combines his beach cleaning with daily swims and walking his dog early before he starts work.

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Group of the Year

Winner – Clean Coasts Ballynamona

This is one of the biggest and most active Clean Coasts Groups in the country. Approximately 250 people are part of Clean Coasts Ballynamona. They clean so many beaches around East Cork – indeed they are cleaning 40km of coastline which equals 1.5% of the Irish coastline!


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Shortlisted Nominees

Coastal Warriors

The Coastal Warriors, joined Rathmullan Clean Coast Group in 2016 and since then every Wednesday come rain, hail or snow they clean Rathmullan beaches, in co. Donegal.

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Keep Our Beaches Clean

Keep Our Beaches Clean was officially established on July 2nd, 2018, in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. On a weekly basis we have volunteers picking litter on our shores, the weather does not deter them.

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Bull Island Action Group

The Bull Island Action Group is active on keeping one of Ireland most environmentally sensitive areas pristine. It was established in 2004 making it one of our oldest Clean Coast groups.  

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Youth of the Year

Winner – Evan, Alex and Dylan

These three young volunteers set up their project over a year ago, after seeing a swan eating Styrofoam in the Tralee canal.  They turned to the public for help as the clean-up of the canal was too big a job for three small children.

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