Five well-known swimming locations around the country have poor water quality according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The agency said 94% of Ireland’s bathing waters met minimum EU standards last year.
Researchers tested the water at 145 locations for the 2018 EPA Bathing Water report – with 103 classed as Excellent, 22 as Good and 12 as Sufficient.
Dublin’s Sandymount Strand, Merrion Strand and Portrane Beach were all classified as poor – as were Lilliput in County Westmeath and Clifden in County Galway.
Three new swimming locations were tested this time around. Dooey and Magheraroarty in County Donegal were classified as Excellent, as was Seafield Quilty in County Clare.
EPA spokesperson Andy Fanning said the number of new bathing areas with excellent water quality is “great to see.”
“At the other end of the scale, we have five bathing waters that have been classified as Poor,” he said.
“More intensive action needs to be taken by local authorities to address the issues and protect the health of bathers.”
He said the high levels of bacteria found at Lilliput were particularly concerning.
“There is a centre there where the waste water is being tankered away from the site on a daily basis,” he said.
“The local authority is undertaking investigations to determine where in the landscape the bacteria which are causing the failure are coming from.
”Potentially from land practices in the area or potentially septic tanks or there may be some point sources form discharges there.
The agency received a total of 55 water pollution complaints at swimming locations last year.
Mr Fanning said more than half the issues related to urban wastewater – however most did not cause serious concern.
The number of locations classed has poor has dropped by two since the 2017 report.
This is the fourth year Merrion Strand has now been classified as Poor while Portrane Beach and Clifden have both now been poor for the past three.
Sandymount has been classed as poor for the past two.
Liliput was classed as Good in 2016 and deteriorated to Poor last year.