N2 road (Ireland)

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N2 road shield}}
N2 road
Bóthar N2
Route information
Length133.01 km (82.65 mi)
(bypassed routes in italics)
Highway system

The N2 road is a national primary road in Ireland, running from Dublin to the border with Northern Ireland at Moy Bridge near Aughnacloy, County Tyrone to connect Dublin with Derry via the A5. A section of the route near Dublin forms the M2 motorway.


The N2 commences at junction 5 of the M50 motorway. It then runs as a dual-carriageway for 17 km (10.5 miles) from the M50 to north of Ashbourne, County Meath. This project was opened on 25 May 2006, and includes 3.5 km (2.2 miles) of three lane dual carriageway built to motorway standard. The route is the first to have a 120 km/h (75 mph) special speed limit (this was previously reserved for motorways, see Road speed limits in the Republic of Ireland for particulars). 13 km (8.1 miles) of this dual carriageway stretch became motorway on 28 August 2009. (see M2 motorway).

N2 looking south from overbridge at Junction 2.

The route continues through Balrath towards Slane, where a dangerous bridge brings the road through the town by the historic Hill of Slane, now home to the occasional rock festival. The N2 continues through Collon in County Louth. Just after Ardee, the N2 meets the N33, coming from the nearby M1 motorway, which most traffic coming from Dublin uses for N2 destinations north of Ardee. In County Monaghan, the N2 bypasses Carrickmacross to the east, along a bypass opened on 31 January 2005. This 9 km wide single carriageway has been named The Kavanagh Way, after Monaghan writer and poet Patrick Kavanagh. The route by-passes Castleblayney and Clontibret on the way to Monaghan. North of Monaghan town, the N12 diverges east to the border. The N2 continues north through Emyvale to reach the border at Moy Bridge directly south of Aughnacloy, County Tyrone. From here, the road becomes the A5 road to Omagh, Letterkenny and Derry.

N2 road Ashbourne bypass


Projects completed on the N2 include a 16 km (10 miles) 2+1 bypass of Castleblayney, which opened on 5 November 2007 .[1] A 3 km (1.9 miles) single carriageway bypass of Monaghan town to the east was opened on 25 September 2006 by Pat Gallagher, Junior Minister For Transport.

Previous planned projects along the N2 included a 4 km (2.5 miles) bypass of Ardee and a 6 km (3.7 miles) bypass of Slane. These projects have now been incorporated into a single project which extends from the end of the Ashbourne Bypass to north of Ardee (N2 Ashbourne to Ardee).[2] The feasibility report for this scheme recommends a dual carriageway cross section. That section of the N2 from the end of the Castleblayney Bypass to the NI Border at Aughnacloy is also being studied (N2 Clontibret to NI Border).


There have been calls (by both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland political parties) to upgrade the whole Dublin-Derry route to dual carriageway, including the A5 in Northern Ireland. In October 2006, the Irish government announced it was funding infrastructure costing €1 billion in Northern Ireland, and one possible project to be funded is the upgrading of the A5 Derry–OmaghAughnacloy road to motorway standard for a distance of 88 km (55 mi). However, there was no mention of the N2 road being upgraded to motorway standard in the Republic.[3] The Irish Department of Finance website confirmed on 22 March 2007 that £400 million had been set aside for Northern investment to include a dual carriageway to Derry and Donegal. It was unclear if any of this would be built in the Republic.

The 2007 Fianna Fáil election policy document on transport included a dual carriageway from Dublin to Letterkenny/Derry as one of Fianna Fáil's promises if re-elected. Although the N2 was not included in Transport 21 and the Monaghan and Carrickmacross by-passes are single lane national primary roads, a feasibility report completed on the N2 Ashbourne to Ardee section recommended a dual carriageway cross section (including the Slane By-pass).[citation needed] Also, in order to tie in with the A5 Western Transport Corridor north of the border, work on the feasibility study for the N2 Clontibret to NI Border Scheme was commenced.[citation needed][when?]

The National Roads Authority (NRA) encourages hauliers heading north to Derry to use the M1 as far as the N33 road to Ardee, avoiding the dangerous sections of the parallel N2 in the environs of Slane, Collon and Ardee.[citation needed]

M2 motorway[edit]

M2 motorway shield}}
M2 motorway
Mótarbhealach M2
N2 roadM2 motorwayM1 motorwayM50 motorwayM3 motorwayM4 motorwayN32 roadN2 roadN3 roadN1 roadM50 motorwayN11 roadN4 roadN7 roadM50 motorwayN31 roadM50 motorwayM11 motorwayN11 road

Clickable image
Route information
Length13 km (8.1 mi)
HistoryCompleted in 2006
Major junctions
FromM50 Junction 5
ToRath (north of Ashbourne)
Highway system
Start of the motorway north of Ashbourne

On 30 September 2008, it was announced that a 13 km (8.1 miles) section of the current N2 from Killshane to Ashbourne was under consideration for re-designation to motorway standard. Public consultation finished in December 2008.[4]

On 14 July 2009, it was announced that the 13 km (8.1 miles) stretch had received ministerial approval to be re-designated.[5] It became a motorway on 28 August 2009.


County km mi Junction Destinations Notes
County Dublin 1 M 50 – Dublin Airport, Dublin Port, Dún Laoghaire Continues as R135 towards Dublin city centre and Finglas.
Coldwinters Northbound exit and southbound entrance only.
2 R 135 – St. Margaret's, Blanchardstown Continues as M2 motorway.
County Meath 3 R 135 – Ashbourne, Ratoath, Swords Signposted as Ashbourne (South) heading northbound.
4 R 135 – Ashbourne Motorway terminates at roundabout. Junction number not signposted.

Continues as N2 national road.

1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New N2 Castleblayney Bypass Opened". National Development Plan. 5 November 2007. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  2. ^ "N2 Ashbourne to Ardee - National Roads Authority". Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  3. ^ Webster, Philip. "Article in The Times". London: The Times Online. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Proposed Motorway Declarations of the Killshane to Ashbourne Section of the N2 (Dublin – Derry)" (PDF). Department of Transport. September 2009. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  5. ^ "300Km Of Roads To Be Assigned As Motorways". The Irish Times. 7 July 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2009.