National secondary 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.

The N59 on the shore of Kylemore Lough in County Galway

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 2657 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 N67 between Oranmore and Galway, on the N62 at Athlone, on both the N69 and N70 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.

In the past, most national secondary roads would have run through the centres of the towns on their routes; however, that is becoming less and less often the case. For example:

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. Many 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-travelled by tourists.

List of national secondary roadsEdit

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

National Secondary Roads in Ireland (31 December 2015)
Road Name Description Length
 N51 (M1) west of DroghedaSlane (N2) – Navan (M3) – AthboyDelvin (N52 to Mullingar) 52.994 km (32.929 mi)
 N52 Ardee (N2) – Kells (N3) – Delvin (N51) – Mullingar – (Joins M6) near Tyrrellspass – (Leaves M6) near KilbegganDurrowTullamore (N80) – Birr (N62) – Borrisokane (N65) – (M7 west of Nenagh) 177.694 km (110.414 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) 78.815 km (48.973 mi)
 N56 (N15 just east of Donegal) – (R263 near Killybegs) – GlentiesDungloeGweedoreDunfanaghyLetterkenny (N14) 157.304 km (97.744 mi)
 N58 Foxford (N26) – (N5 between Swinford and Castlebar) 11.259 km (6.996 mi)
 N59 (N4 to Sligo) – Ballina (N26) – Bangor ErrisRosturkWestport (N5) – ClifdenOughterardMoycullenGalway (N6) 298.795 km (185.663 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 M6 near Athlone to M8 at Horse and Jockey) M6 – 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 north of Loughrea to N52 at Borrisokane; crossing the River Shannon at Portumna 52.517 km (32.633 mi)
 N67 Galway - KilcolganKinvaraBallyvaughanLisdoonvarnaEnnistymon (N85) – KilkeeKilrush (N68) – (ferry pier near Killimer) (ferry pier near Tarbert) – Tarbert (N69) 129.172 km (80.264 mi)
 N68 Kilrush to Ennis 40.569 km (25.208 mi)
 N69 Dock Road (Limerick) – MungretClarinaKildimo – (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) – SneemCastlecoveCaherdanielWatervilleCahersiveenKillorglin – (N72) – MilltownCastlemaine – (N86) – (N21, N69) Tralee 141.691 km (88.043 mi)
 N71 (N22) Cork (Wilton Road, Bishopstown Road, Bandon Road) – Halfway bypassInnishannonBandonBallinascartyClonakiltyRosscarberyLeapSkibbereen – (R592 to Ballydehob) – BantryBallylickeyGlengarriffKenmare – (N70) – MuckrossKillarney (N22, N72) 187.270 km (116.364 mi)
 N72 KillorglinKillarney (N22) – RathmoreMallow (N20) – Fermoy (M8) – LismoreDungarvan (N25) 165.923 km (103.100 mi)
 N73 Mitchelstown (M8) – (N72 east of Mallow) 34.296 km (21.311 mi)
 N74 (M8) CashelGoldenKilfeakleTipperary (N24) 19.915 km (12.375 mi)
 N75 Thurles to the M8 near Two-Mile Borris 7.552 km (4.693 mi)
 N76 (N10) Kilkenny Ring RoadBallymackCallan bypassNinemilehouse – (N24 east of Clonmel) 43.686 km (27.145 mi)
 N77 (N10) Kilkenny Ring Road – (N78) – Ballyragget – (M7) at Portlaoise 48.742 km (30.287 mi)
 N78 (N77) – Castlecomer – (N80) – Athy – (M9) near Ballitore 50.671 km (31.485 mi)
 N80 (N52) near TullamoreMountmellick – crosses the (M7) at Portlaoise (connects to M7 via R445) – Stradbally – (N78) Carlow – (M9) near Tinryland – (N81) – KildavinBunclody – (N11) near Enniscorthy 114.683 km (71.261 mi)
 N81 (M50) at TempleogueTallaght BypassBaltinglassTullow – (N80 just east of Ballon) 76.784 km (47.711 mi)
 N83 TuamDunmoreCloonfadBallyhaunisTooreenN17 south of Charlestown 45.222 km (28.100 mi)
 N84 GalwayCloonbooHeadfordShruleKilmaineBallinrobeCastlebar 73.545 km (45.699 mi)
 N85 Ennis (N18) – Ennistymon (N67) 31.858 km (19.796 mi)
 N86 TraleeAnnascaulLispoleDingle 50.235 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 2,657 km (1,651 mi)

Defunct routesEdit

  •   N57 road – Defunct route designation. SwinfordBallina route prior to its redesignation as the N26 National primary road.
  •   N64 road – Defunct route designation. OranmoreClaregalway route prior to its redesignation as the N18 National primary road.
  •   N66 road - Defunct route designation. Gort - Loughrea route prior to its redesignation as the R380 Regional road.
  •   N79 road – Defunct route designation. EnniscorthyNew Ross route prior to its redesignation as the N30 National primary road.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1] TII: National Route Lengths 2013