Best Roads, Worst Roads

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    • #708116

      Somewhat inspired by the debate on the Sligo situation, have contributors got a preference for best or worst roads around the country?

      For my twopence worth –

      Best Roads:

      N4 Ballyfermot – Chapelizod Bypass;
      As an engineering feat, I like the way within limited confines it snakes around thru the liffey valley, following the contours and topography of the landscape.

      (Im sure Ill think of more to add later)

      Worst Roads:

      Blackrock Bypass, Dublin.
      Clanbrassil – Patrick St, Christchurch, Dublin.
      Sligo´s Beggars Belief Road.

      I guess each of the 3 above demonstrate the innate inability of the Irish to build a decent boulevard 😮

      Any thoughts? If so add them on…


    • #761234

      Where does one start:

      Good road (not best, but good) – Sligo to Strandhill Village (very straight, excellent surface, excellent road-markings, very broad). Speed limit: 50km/hr.

      Worst road – Sligo to Dromahair Road (as twisty as a spring, as rough as a quarry floor, as narrow as a sparrow’s leg, as densely overgrown as something that is very densely overgrown – a bush, for example). Speed limit: 80Km/hr.

      Ha ha ha. The speed limit on a European motorway during heavy rain is 80km/hr.

      Who is responsible for the high rate of deaths on Irish roads????????????????? Do even the Gardai not comprehend how incredibly ridiculous the situation is. I firmly believe that one way to reduce road deaths would be if the bereaved families would sue the State if they could prove that it was negligent in its road design and signage. I bet you they would start to reconsider then. Fools, damn fools.

    • #761235

      Best Roads: The Chapelizod Bypass is certainly a masterpiece of road design. The only unfortunate aspect of it is that it has rather cut off the War Memorial Gardens and probably contributes to their low usage.
      The M1 is of a consistently high standard, particularly the long subtle bridge over the wetlands in North Dublin, the beehive style toll booths and the Boyne bridge. The N11 through the Glen of the Downs is a very attractive road and has made a joke of the amount of time and energy wasted in protesting against it.
      The view from the M50 bridge could be terrific but – for safety reasons presumably – is not capitalised upon.
      The M50 interchange at Blanchardstown is also a great piece of engineering, encompassing as it does the railway and canal viaducts.

      Worst Roads: There are so many bad roads. But the new Cashel bypass is designed such that you don’t even catch a glimpse of the castle, which is a big loss. Although I doubt the people of Cashel are complaining.

      What would people consider Ireland’s most scenic drives. Off the top of my head, three of the best would be Ring of Kerry, Sky Road in Clifden, and Maam Cross in Connemara.

    • #761236

      Kildare bypass is superb (compare to Monasteravin stretch)
      Watergrasshill bypass v.g.

      Cashel bypass – possibly the narrowest dualer in the country!

      N4 Chapelizod is a good enough stretch – speed restrictions and too many traffic lights dent my opinion of it though.

    • #761237

      @kefu wrote:

      What would people consider Ireland’s most scenic drives. Off the top of my head, three of the best would be Ring of Kerry, Sky Road in Clifden, and Maam Cross in Connemara.

      I’ve always had a soft spot for the whole coast road from Waterford to Cork, especially the two approaches to Dungarvan (east and west) with their majestic sweeps. Some lovely towns and villages strung along the south coast (though road quality often slightly lacking).

      Kefu- have you ever done the Oughterard – Maam Cross – beyond… road at night in low fog? Certainly not scenic, and damn near the most frightening journey I’ve done in many a year. 😮 (And I was only a passenger!)

    • #761238
      Angry Rebel

      Agree with people re Cashel bypass, and, can someone tell me why the designers force southbound traffic to negotiate the roundabout at the northern end of the bypass? As it’s a “three pronged” roundabout, the southbound traffic could have skirted the side roundabout and joined the bypass 100/150m further along and not have to slow down and stop for the roundabout!?


      Drove over a new bridge recently over what will be the new Fermoy bypass soon, it’s the first bridge at the Cork end of the new road. The road below looks very, very, very narrow….I fear there may be a c. 500m stretch of single carriageway in between a motorway and dual carriageway…can someone please tell me this won’t happen?

    • #761239
      ctesiphon wrote:
      I’ve always had a soft spot for the whole coast road from Waterford to Cork, especially the two approaches to Dungarvan (east and west) with their majestic sweeps. Some lovely towns and villages strung along the south coast (though road quality often slightly lacking).QUOTE]

      that road is so much better now. especially the renewed srtrech before dungarvan. really smooth, straight and stunning scenery. the youghal by-pass is such a blessing now too, but driving up the hill from dungarvan toward ring and cork is incredibly dangerous in rain/wind. beautiful in summer though.

    • #761240

      Best roads

      The Chapilizod bypass is fantastic too! Although they should have done with a few flyovers, as there are a few traffic light bottlenecks are terrible.
      The M1 is the best and last ever designed Motorway of its kind In Ireland, the rest of the routes will a lower grade and have no land to upgrade to 3 lanes each way and the medians will be narrower.

      The Shannon Airport link N19, is well designed apart from all the roundabouts, but cool with the footbridges!

      Worst roads
      N65 Borriskane -Galway. A death trap
      N21 at Newcastle is one of the worst stretches of National primary route that I have ever seen.
      Not to mention the delays
      Also N69 Back road from Tralee to Limerick, which is one of the most dangerous and highest accident spot in the country
      N20 Limerick-Cork rd at Buttevant, Unbelievable dips, snake turns with terrible surfacing and very narrow.
      N7 Naas road to Newlands cross! I cannot understand why they have let everything sprawl and fall apart on the busiest section of road in the country
      N52 is very dangerous on some sections.
      Some sections of the Main N7 (Limerick-Dublin) and N6(Galway-Dublin) routes need attention!

    • #761241

      ctesiphon – i’ve never done maam except when the sun is splitting the rocks and it is truly spectacular
      as regards terror, nothing in ireland can compare to the mountain roads of the spanish pyrenees and catalonia, where i spent an exhilarating week one time

    • #761242

      Kefu- I’m the same about the Dungarvan roads (see Lorcan’s post above)- only ever done them in high summer. And agreed that the Maam road is a delight when the conditions are right- sure does make a difference to one’s perception.
      But it’s not just bad weather that can make scenic drives unpleasant- many years ago as a child on a family holiday we were being driven over the Conor Pass in Kerry by a family friend who was a local. Though he would joke that he could drive it with his eyes closed, that day the sun was so strong and so low in the sky that we ended up going at about 10mph around it and praying we’d make it in one piece. My lasting memory is of a full ‘solar flare’ in the front windscreen, and an abiding distrust of grown ups. 😉

    • #761243

      The dense trees at the roadside on the Chapilizod bypass give the sense of being inthe countryside. you hardly feel as if you are Dublin at all.

      I like the N8 approaching Cork. One minute your in deep hiy territory, next minute the lands sweep away and Cork appears at the end of the road.

      The Fermoy bypass hardly seems wide enough at all.The NRA took the gererous medians to save money on the land compensation. Looks like they took 12 inches from each lane too.

      Limerick to Ennis is also a nice stretch on which to drive. The castles and estuary view are very nice.

      Of the worst:
      The stretch from ovens in Cork to the Kerry border is one of the worst in the country.Narrow,twisty,blind corners, totally unsuited to HGV’s and coaches, a town and two villages(both traffic choked) and , in places, a surface like the surface of the moon.No overtaking, so don’t try to hink as to what would happen if you get stuck behind an OAP or a tractor.I could go on.

      Blarney to Buttevant really stinks.

    • #761244

      I aso like the Mountrath- Potlaois section N7, even though its a major route and is outdated for the traffic that uses it

      I lke the dense forest and hills as soon as you fly of the M7 al the way past Mountrath.

      I like the Bypass of Askeaton beautitiful, anyone agree?
      I like the N8 between Micheltstown and Cahir
      Toonmevara and Roscrea section which is wide, has a smooth road surface and has a good scenery that changes all the time.

      Also the road around Callan which used to br the T6 whichis ne the Kilkenny to Clonmel rd .

      Yeah Ptb I must say i likr the N18 also, its a scenic dual carriegway! pretty going past Bunratty
      and the improved section of N18 which twists the wholw way to Ennis and I like it the whole way to Galway too.

      What abouth the Limerick to Dublin rd M7 Currragh ?

    • #761245

      One of my fave roads is the N25 parkway section of the Cork-Waterford route, from Dunkettle to Carrigtwohill, and on to Midleton. I travel this road to work every morning and evening, and yet i never cease to be taken with the views of Cork harbour, and how the road snakes through the estuary. Travelling from east to west, just where the railway passes beneath the road, there are some fantastic views down to Passage West, especially impressive on a Summer’s evening.
      However, my favourite road, by no means the ‘best’ road, would be the coast road between Clonakilty and Kinsale, the R600, and briefly the R604 if you take the Old Head/Garretstown option. Again, on a summer’s eve it can be a beautiful drive. Further west, there are some other great one’s too, for instance the R592 to Mizen Head, or the R572 down the Beara Peninsula.
      Sorry for deviating from the topic of ‘best’ and ‘worst’ roads, but i do find these worth mentioning, for what they may lack in standard they make up for in location and vistas!

    • #761246

      No, keep up with the scenic drives. They’re as much a part of our built environment as anything else.
      And I’ve never actually seen a good list of Ireland’s best drives so here seems as good a place to put them as any.

    • #761247

      I agree a list of best scenic drives should be drawn up for two reasons firstly they are what most tourists see from the tour bus and more importantly we use them ourselves either driving or cycling either when in the field or on leisure breaks.

      To this list I would add the Vee-Gap between Clonmel and Dungarvan which has the most amazing views of the Comeragh Mountains. The N59 between Westport and Leenaun in Co Galway which was the last time I was on it one of the most unspoilt landscapes I have ever seen in Europe. Belturbet to Blacklion in Cavan via Ballyconnell and Swanlibar which is exceptional and can only be improved by the removal many of the installations on the Fermanagh side of the frontier. Hollywood to Laragh accross the Wicklow Mountains is probably the best drive on the East Coast and should also be preserved.

      It is essential that an audit of quality routes be cataloged and listed as NHA’s before they are all destroyed by multiple access points and significant negative visual impacts. I’m all for the main motorways in the NDP such as Dublin to Cork, Belfast and Galway but as experience has bourne out in the US Pacific coast not everyone wants to use Route US 3 and many others want to hire that Mustang to drive the coast route and soak up the visual quality that route provides.

      For a list of worst routes since 1997 I will leave it at Sligo Inner Tangent, M6 through the Battle of Aughrim Site and Proposed M3 on its current alignment. Alternative routings existed for all three and the NRA people know this; it is worth stating that Local Authorities do not design these schemes themselves but rather an ‘Executive Engineer’ is provided by the NRA who carries out central orders.

    • #761248

      if you take the N59 from westport to leenaun (nice though this is) you’re missing the most dramatic route in the west – westport to leenaun through louisburgh and the delphi valley. The view of doo lough when the road finally crests the long hill from louisburgh is the simply finest scenery available from tarmac in Ireland. If you want better than this you need to get your boots on.

    • #761249

      Another road to add to worst roads list – Belfast´s West Link. Was stuck on it yesterday in my southern reg car beside Sandy Row yesterday for almost 1 hour during loyalist disturbances. Was never so glad in my life to see the Nips present. The more i know about NI politics, the less i understand; loyalists protesting about the RIR being disbanded; how do they do this – by shooting at them in riots! :confused:

      Glad to be back in one piece 🙂


      PS Keep up the adding of scenic routes – makes for a good list

    • #761250

      Concerning scenic – the “Atlantic Drive” on Achill between Dooega and Clochmore is awesome if short – most visitors to the island miss it – there’s not a house in sight. Westport to Leenane is super too but that whole area has amazing scenery especially on the smaller costal roads out from Leenane towards Clifton. I’m fond of the coast road from Limerick to Tarbert but it might be due to nostalgia – it’s quite ugly in parts. Connor’s pass in Kerry deserves a mention too. Around Glendalough is great.

    • #761251

      I am amazed that no one has added the Dundrum Bypass to the list of our lesser roads.

      One lane, in each direction, relatively short but costing 28m euro I believe, with car park exits to the new centre on one side slowing traffic, awkward entrances and exits, lanes do not align in village and speed restricted as well.

      Trying to think of a nice one.

    • #761252

      Will we ever get over the idea that it is necessary to drive everywhere!

    • #761253

      Parts of the Ring of Kerry – especially Kenmare to Sneem are wodgious, Healy Rae periodically gets a contract to upgrade the odd 100 yards or so but there is a lot of joining up to be done. The N 72 Killarney – Mallow – Mitchellstown road has ro be the worst,
      What was a beautiful road in Dublin has been ruined by DLRCoCo – anyone been on Vico Road recently? It used to have a nice rural feel to it, a soft edge where the grass grew through (and disguised) the old railings. Some philistine then decided to narrow the road with a poured concrete kerb and backfill the space with grey limestone (to contrast with the cream/brown granite, like)

    • #761254

      As just placed in the M3 thread, the huge bevy bringing the M3 into Tara’s Gabhra valley has got to be the worst in terms of design and wanton offensiveness to anyone that cares about their heritage. Look at the map at The current route is too long, puts a 28 acre interchange at the bottom of the hill of Tara and adds c.3.5km to the 10m stretch between Navan & Dunshaughlin. This isn’t about moaning about a road for no good reason – the current route is daft!

      And because of the winding and sloping route through the Tara Gabhra valley it will probably be a 80km – 100km zone like the Firhouse Sandyford stretch on the M50, or the Chapelizod bypass. Why, oh why build it like this when it could go straight as an arrow on a shorter to the west! Daft.

    • #761255

      The M3 is totally over rated and designed for to much capacity
      having a motorway past kells is inadequete!
      It should be dualed to as fasr as Navan as most of the traffic that use the N3 is primarily Dublin Navan bound!

      When looking a the plans of the route it really takes a lot of land with those interchanges and bends that will bore the countryside, which is spectacular

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