The quality of Irish beach waters is among the best in northern Europe, according to the latest report on bathing water quality from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency said that 97% of the beaches it monitors met the minimum EU standards for water quality in 2013, with the majority exceeding the standard.

Only four of the 135 beaches monitored failed the standard.

These were Clifden in Galway, Dugort in Co Mayo, Ballyloughane in Galway and Lilliput on Lough Ennell in Co Westmeath.

Good weather last summer resulted in less animal waste and other contaminants being washed into rivers and streams.

This had a very positive impact on the quality of bathing water at beaches all over the country.

According to the EPA, it has resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of Irish beaches exceeding the minimum EU standards for clean bathing water.

The EPA monitors the 135 most popular beaches in the country for water quality and 97% met the minimum EU standard, with nearly 85% exceeding the standard.

Clifden in Co Galway failed because of a problem with a nearby waste water treatment plant.

The EPA is prosecuting Galway County Council over its delay in tackling the issue.

Despite the four failures, the EPA said bathing waters in Ireland are of an exceptionally high standard.

It expects that Ireland will be listed in the top ten for bathing water quality in Europe by the European Environment Agency in June.