National secondary road

The N59 road

A national secondary road (Irish: Bóthar Náisiúnta den Dara Grád) is a category of road in Ireland. These roads form an important part of the national route network, but are secondary to the main arterial routes which are classified as national primary roads. National secondary roads are designated with route numbers higher than those used for primary roads, but with the same "N" prefix. Routes N51 and higher are all national secondary roads.

National secondary roads have a default speed limit of 100 km/h (62.5 mph), as along with national primary routes, they fall into the speed limit category of national roads.

There are 2654 km of national secondary roads in Ireland, making up slightly over 50% of the entire national route (national primary and national secondary) network.[1] National secondary routes are generally more poorly maintained than primary routes (although their quality can vary widely), but often carry more traffic than regional roads. Almost the entire network of national secondary roads is single carriageway, although there are some short sections of dual carriageway on the Tallaght bypass section of the N81, on the N52 at Dundalk, on the N85 at Ennis, on the N62 at Athlone, on the N69 at Tralee and on the N71 between Cork and Bandon. Typically, national secondary roads are of a similar standard or higher than regional roads although some are of lower quality than the better sections of regional roads. Many of them have been resurfaced with higher quality pavements in recent years with relatively smooth surfaces and good road markings and signposting. However, road widths and alignments are often inadequate, with many narrow and winding sections.

Traditionally national secondary roads generally would not bypass towns on their routes although there now stands an increasing number of exceptions: the N52 bypasses Nenagh, Mullingar and the centre of Dundalk (as a relief road) along with now complete N52 bypass of Tullamore. The N55 (along with the N3) bypasses Cavan, the N56 forms part of the Donegal bypass, the N61 and the N63 bypass Roscommon, the N69 forms part of the Tralee bypass, the N71 bypasses Halfway and Skibbereen, the N74 bypasses Cashel, the N76 bypasses Callan, the N77 forms the northern part of the Kilkenny ring road, the N80 bypasses Carlow and the N85 bypasses Ennis. The former N8 bypass of Mitchelstown was re-classified as the N73 when the Fermoy (Moorepark) to Kilbehenny section of the M8 was completed.

Most national secondary roads were originally Trunk Roads under the old system of road classification in Ireland, although some sections of national secondary routes were formerly Link Roads. A large number of less important Trunk Roads became regional roads when the road classification system changed from 1977 onward, including some roads, such as the N72 between Killarney and Killorglin, the N86 and the N87, which were originally re-classified as regional roads but later re-classified again as national secondary routes. In 1994, three national secondary roads were reclassified as national primary roads: the N57 between Swinford and Ballina became the N26, the N64 between Oranmore and Claregalway became part of the N18 and the N79 between New Ross and Enniscorthy became the N30. In addition, a section of the N60 between Castlebar and Westport became part of the N5.

Some national secondary roads, though not arterial routes between major cities, connect scenic areas to major population centres. For example, the N59 through County Galway and County Mayo, the N70 road through County Kerry (see Ring of Kerry) and the N71 through West Cork. For this reason, many national secondary roads are well-traveled by tourists.

List of national secondary roads

(XXXX) = Junction with road XXXX, e.g. (N21) = Junction with N21 road

National Secondary Roads in Ireland (31 December 2013)
Road Name Description Length
N51 DroghedaSlane (N2) – Navan (N3) – AthboyDelvin (N52 to Mullingar) 52.995 km (32.930 mi)
N52 (runs around the east of) Dundalk (N1) – Ardee (N2, N33) – Kells (N3) – Delvin (N51) – MullingarTyrrellspass (joins N6) KilbegganDurrowTullamore (N80) – Birr (N62) – Borrisokane (N65) – (N7 east of Nenagh) 177.693 km (110.413 mi)
N53 Dundalk to Castleblayney (a short section of the road becomes the A37 where it runs through County Armagh) 18.122 km (11.260 mi)
N54 Monaghan (N2) – ClonesCavan (N3) (a short section of the road becomes the A3 where it runs through County Fermanagh) 34.626 km (21.516 mi)
N55 (N3 just outside Cavan) – GranardEdgeworthstown (N4) – (N6 Athlone ringroad) 78.816 km (48.974 mi)
N56 (N15 just east of Donegal) – (R263 near Killybegs) – GlentiesDungloeGweedoreDunfanaghyLetterkenny (N14) 157.071 km (97.599 mi)
N58 Foxford (N26) – (N5 between Swinford and Castlebar) 11.259 km (6.996 mi)
N59 (N4 to Sligo) – Ballina (N26) – Bangor Erris – Rosturk – Westport (N5) – ClifdenOughterardMoycullenGalway (N6) 297.598 km (184.919 mi)
N60 CastlebarClaremorris (N17) – BallyhaunisCastlereaBallymoeRoscommon 92.217 km (57.301 mi)
N61 Athlone (N6) – KnockcrogheryRoscommonTulsk (N5) – Boyle (N4) 74.193 km (46.101 mi)
N62 N6 near Athlone to M8 at Horse and Jockey) N6 – FerbaneCloghanBirrRoscreaTemplemoreThurlesHorse and Jockey (M8) 96.625 km (60.040 mi)
N63 (N63 Galway city to Longford town) GalwayClaregalwayLackaghTurloughmoreAbbeyknockmoyMoyloughMountbellewNewbridgeBallygarMount TalbotAthleagueRoscommonLanesborough-BallyleagueLongford (N5) 96.393 km (59.896 mi)
N65 M6 near Loughrea to N52 at Borrisokane; crossing the River Shannon at Portumna 52.518 km (32.633 mi)
N66 M6 near Loughrea to M18 at Gort 27.655 km (17.184 mi)
N67 KilcolganKinvaraBallyvaughanLisdoonvarnaEnnistymon (N85) – KilkeeKilrush (N68) – (ferry pier near Killimer) (ferry pier near Tarbert) – Tarbert (N69) 128.743 km (79.997 mi)
N68 Kilrush to Ennis 40.569 km (25.208 mi)
N69 Dock Road (Limerick) – Mungret – Clarina – Kildimo – (Askeaton) – FoynesTarbert (N67) – ListowelTralee (N21, N22, N70, N86) 97.476 km (60.569 mi)
N70 (Comprises most of the Ring of Kerry) - (N70 Killarney Road at Kenmare) – SneemCastlecove – Caherdaniel – WatervilleCahersiveenKillorglin – (N72) – MilltownCastlemaine – (N86) – (N21, N69) Tralee 141.690 km (88.042 mi)
N71 (N22) Cork (Wilton Road, Bishopstown Road, Bandon Road) – Halfway bypassInnishannonBandonBallinascartyClonakiltyRosscarberyLeapSkibbereen – (R592 to Ballydehob) – BantryBallylickeyGlengarriffKenmare – (N70) – MuckrossKillarney (N22, N72) 186.238 km (115.723 mi)
N72 KillorglinKillarney (N22) – RathmoreMallow (N20) – Fermoy (N8) – LismoreDungarvan (N25) 165.923 km (103.100 mi)
N73 Mitchelstown (N8) – (N72 east of Mallow) 34.296 km (21.311 mi)
N74 (N8) CashelGolden – Kilfeakle – Tipperary (N24) 19.915 km (12.375 mi)
N75 Thurles to the N8 near Two-Mile Borris 7.552 km (4.693 mi)
N76 (N10) Kilkenny Ring Road – Ballymack – Callan bypassNinemilehouse – (N24 east of Clonmel) 43.686 km (27.145 mi)
N77 (N10) Kilkenny Ring Road – (N78) – Ballyragget – (N8) at Durrow 48.742 km (30.287 mi)
N78 (N77) – Castlecomer – (N80) – Athy – (M9) at Kilcullen 50.671 km (31.485 mi)
N80 (M6) near MoateClara – (N52) in TullamoreMountmellick – crosses the (M7) at Portlaoise (connects to M7 via R445) – Stradbally – (N78) Carlow – (M9) near Ballon – (N81) – KildavinBunclody – (N11) near Enniscorthy 114.685 km (71.262 mi)
N81 Dublin (Terenure, Tallaght) – (N82) – BaltinglassTullow – (N80 just east of Ballon) 76.784 km (47.711 mi)
N82 Citywest Road (N81 near Tallaght) – (J3 N7 near Clondalkin) 2.554 km (1.587 mi)
N83 TuamDunmoreCloonfadBallyhaunis – Tooreen – N17 south of Charlestown 45.222 km (28.100 mi)
N84 Galway – Cloonboo – HeadfordShruleKilmaineBallinrobeCastlebar 73.545 km (45.699 mi)
N85 Ennis (N68) – Ennistymon (N67) 31.858 km (19.796 mi)
N86 TraleeAnnascaulLispoleDingle 50.236 km (31.215 mi)
N87 Belturbet (N3) – BallyconnellSwanlinbar – (border with Northern Ireland where it becomes the A32) 28.136 km (17.483 mi)
Total National Secondary route network 2,653.749 km (1,648.963 mi)

Defunct routes


See also


  1. TII: National Route Lengths 2013
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