N2 M1-Ardee-Carrickmacross-Border

Could open : 2025 Status : Committed
N2 Road Logo


Dual Carriageway : 77 km
(Standard not yet confirmed)

A high-quality road between Dublin and Derry is a long term goal for the island as a whole. Interest in building such a facility was floated in 2006. The Irish government offered to pay Northern Ireland 60% of the cost of their section, or around £340M, on the grounds that our section was useless without theirs. More progress is being made on the N.I. half of the works. A preferred route was announced in 2009. As of 2010, work was due to begin in 2012, though the economic crisis has put the brakes on since the Republic's contribution, now up to £400M, is unaffordable. The standard defined in NI is expressway, which in this context means a dual carriageway with no median breaks, grade separated major junctions and left-in left-out minor junctions - just one step below a motorway. As of 2013, the road became mired in legal difficulties, but a start date still seems imminent.

The section through the Republic is unlikely to be a full motorway since it would not match the Northern section. The construction of the southern half has no completion date and will probably not be finished until the latter half of the 2020s. It is not yet defined where the connection point to the M1 will be: at Dundalk or Drogheda. It is possible to argue in favour of both:

In favour of a Dundalk connection:

  • - The mileage is less

  • - The dangerous N53 road gets a major upgrade

  • - The N33 is already safe due to its high build quality so it does not need an upgrade

  • - It is a more logical route if the intention is to serve the Newry-Dundalk-Drogheda corridor, as it is easier to access from there

  • - If the proposed N34 is built, it will connect directly with it allowing Dundalk to be served by that route also

In favour of a Drogheda connection:

  • - More of the N2 gets upgraded

  • - Less of the N2 would be detrunked

  • - A smaller geographic area would be left without a north-south national route; in particular the medium-sized town of Carrickmacross would remain connected to the national primary road network

Overall, the Drogheda routing is more likely to be chosen, as detrunking large sections of national routes in Ireland is politically and economically difficult. Towns lying along a national route benefit from the connectivity this provides and would not appreciate having it rescinded. The town of Carrickmacross would stand to be a loser following such a move.

There is an unresolved issue with the numbering of routes. There are three possibilities:

  • 1. The new route retains its current numbering, meaning that the N2 will continue to begin at Dublin and run to Monaghan via Ashbourne and Slane, and the part of the new route between Drogheda and Ardee will continue to be numbered N33. The disadvantage of this approach is that the new route would be titled "N33/N2", which is awkward. Many motorists will assume the Dublin-based N2 is the primary route and continue to use it.

  • 2. The N2 is downgraded between Dublin and Ardee and renumbered to something else. The new route is numbered N2 in full meaning that the N2 now starts at Drogheda, runs west, then rejoins the current alignment. The disadvantage of this approach is the huge amount of signage that would need to be amended and the familiarity problems this would present to Dubliners in particular.

  • 3. The N2 is downgraded between the end of the M2 Ashbourne-Drogheda motorway, described elsewhere, and Ardee and renumbered as a regional route. The rest of the route is numbered N2 in full. A fair amount of signage would need to be amended in this case.

Overall, I believe the third numbering option will be chosen as it is more logical and strikes a good balance between removing unnecessary parts of the existing route while leaving as much of it intact as possible.

Full information and the latest updates on the Northern Ireland part of this project are available here.

Note: In March 2013, this page was updated. It used to be called "N2 M1-Castleblayney-Border". The proposed route used to be a dual carriageway from Dundalk to Castleblayney to the Northern Ireland border. Now it starts at Drogheda.

Update 2019: As part of the recently announced Capital Investment Plan, the N2 will indeed be dualled from Ardee to the Northern Ireland border. It's slightly less ambitious than the proposal here, as the Carrickmacross and Castleblayney bypasses, and the N33, won't be changed in order to save on costs.

Please give your opinion on this road proposal. Rate it out of 10, and whether you think the standard (road width) is appropriate.

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Wikipedia page on this road


Origin M1/N33 Junction, west of Drogheda
Terminates A5, Northern Ireland Border, north of Monaghan
Places Served Ardee, Carrickmacross, Monaghan, (Derry)
Routes Spawned -
Intersects M1, N34