M1 motorway (Republic of Ireland)

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M1 motorway
Mótarbhealach M1
N15 roadN16 roadSligoN17 roadN26 roadN5 roadN4 roadN5 roadLongfordWestportN17 roadGalwayM6 motorwayN18 roadM18 motorwayLimerickM7 motorwayM20 motorwayN24 roadN21 roadTraleeN20 roadM8 motorwayN22 roadCorkLondonderry/DerryLondonderry/DerryN13 roadN14 roadN13 roadN15 roadArmaghBelfastBelfastN2 roadN3 roadN4 roadM1 motorwayM3 motorwayM4 motorwayDublinN7 roadM7 motorwayN11 roadM9 motorwayKilkennyM11 motorwayN10 roadN11 roadN24 roadM9 motorwayN30 roadN25 roadN25 roadWaterfordN25 road

Clickable image
Route information
Part of
Length87 km (54 mi)
HistoryCompleted 1983–2005
Santry Bypass: 1983
Airport Motorway: 1985
Dunleer Bypass: 1993
Balbriggan Bypass: 1998
Dunleer to Dundalk: 2001
Drogheda Bypass: 2003
Airport to Balbriggan: 2003
Dundalk Bypass: 2005
Major junctions
South endDublin
Major intersections

North endBallymascanlon
Dublin Airport, Swords, Balbriggan, Drogheda, Dundalk
Highway system

The M1 motorway (Irish: Mótarbhealach M1) is a motorway in Ireland. It forms the large majority of the N1 national primary road connecting Dublin towards Belfast along the east of the island of Ireland. The route heads north via Swords, Drogheda and Dundalk to the Northern Irish border just south of Newry in County Armagh, where it joins the A1 road and further on, the M1 motorway in Northern Ireland. It also forms a significant part of the road connection between Dublin and the Northern Irish cities of Newry, and Lisburn. The route is part of European route E01.


The Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge carries the Drogheda bypass across the river Boyne.

Almost the entire length of the N1 has been upgraded to motorway standard and is designated the M1 motorway. It runs from the Junction 3 of the M50 ring road in Dublin, past Cloghran, Swords, Balbriggan, Drogheda, Dunleer, Castlebellingham and Dundalk before ending at Ballymascanlon north of Dundalk. It by-passes many towns and villages through which the N1 travelled.[1] The original N1 route now forms the R132.[2] At Ballymascanlon, it becomes the N1 dual carriageway and continues to the border with Northern Ireland. The motorway section of the N1 uses the M1 designation. Small yellow route markers along the motorway route also read N1.

The motorway was built in several stages as short disconnected bypasses, replacing the original N1 route. The first section opened (in 1983) was from Whitehall to Coolock Lane followed (in 1985) by the Airport Motorway between Whitehall and Dublin Airport, only the third section of motorway opened in the Republic. 1980s style direction signs were still intact on this route up until 2006. Part of this original M1 is now a spur to Dublin Airport, while another part between Whitehall to the Port Tunnel portals is now narrowed to two+one lanes (although still grade-separated) as a result of the Dublin Port Tunnel work.

There are toll fees for use of the motorway between junctions 7 and 10, the section which forms the Drogheda bypass. Work began in 2004 on a bypass of Dundalk, and was completed three months ahead of schedule in 2005, extending the motorway to just south of the border.

Construction finished in 2007 on a cross-border stretch of grade-separated dual-carriageway linking the northern end of the M1 with the A1 near Newry in County Armagh. This was opened to traffic on 2 August 2007. Its length is 14 km (8.7 mi), 4.6 km (2.9 mi) north of the border and 9.4 km (5.8 mi) south of the border. This allows traffic to flow freely from Dublin Port on motorway/dual-carriageway standard road to the Hillsborough Roundabout, located south of Lisburn.

A 120 km/h (75 mph) speed limit applies on most of the M1, the exception being a 100 km/h (62 mph) limit between Junction 1 and Junction 2 at Dublin Airport. The lower speed limit is credited to the much higher volumes of traffic on this stretch. Fingal County Council raised the limit on this section to 100 km/h (62 mph) in June 2022.


M1 northbound in County Louth
The M1 from the air, at its junction with the M50 near Dublin, Ireland

As of 2011 all junctions feature their number on road signs.

County km mi Junction Destinations Notes
County Dublin 1 R 139 – Malahide

M 50 – Southbound

Continues as M50 towards Dublin Port and city centre.
2 R 132 – Airport
3 R 125 – Ashbourne, Swords Northbound entrance and southbound exit only.
4 R 132 – Skerries, Rush, Donabate (northbound)

Swords, Malahide, Donabate (southbound)

Lusk Service Area
5 R 132 – Balbriggan South (northbound)

Rush, Lusk (southbound)

6 R 122 – Balbriggan, Naul (northbound)

Balbriggan, Skerries, Naul (southbound)

County Meath 7 R 132 – Julianstown, Drogheda (South) (northbound)

Julianstown, Balbriggan (North) (southbound)

M1 Toll
8 R 152 – Duleek Northbound exit and southbound entrance only.
9 L 1601 – Drogheda, Donore (northbound)

Drogheda, Donore, Duleek (southbound)

Toll at northbound entrance and southbound exit.
River Boyne Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge
County Louth 10 N 51 – Drogheda, Navan, Collon Drogheda Hospital, Slane
11 R 132 – Monasterboice Northbound entrance and southbound exit only.
12 R 169 – Dunleer, Collon
13 R 170 – Dunleer Northbound exit and southbound entrance only.
14 N 33 – Ardee, Derry (N2) Letterkenny
15 R 166 – Castlebellingham, Tallanstown
Castlebellingham Service Area
16 N 52 – Dundalk (South), Mullingar Ardee, Blackrock
17 N 53 – Dundalk (Centre), Castleblayney Crossmaglen
18 Dundalk (North), Carlingford (R173) Greenore, Ravensdale (R132). End of motorway, continues as N1.
19 R 174 – Ravensdale Northbound entrance and southbound exit only.
20 Carrickcarnan, Jonesborough (B113) Northbound exit and southbound entrance only. Exit sliproad crosses border.

Continues as A1 into Northern Ireland.

1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

All-Ireland route[edit]

The upgrade of the N1 is now complete in the Republic of Ireland, the first major route to be completely upgraded to motorway/dual carriageway standard (outside of Dublin city centre) as per the National Development Plan. The Northern Irish authorities have no plans to replace the A1 route (currently dual carriageway) with a motorway, although many junctions have now been grade separated. Currently, to drive from Dublin city centre to Belfast, one travels along the M1 (Republic of Ireland), N1, A1 and M1 (Northern Ireland).

Motorway service areas[edit]

The first official on-line motorway service area in Ireland opened on the M1 on 8 September 2010, located near Lusk. A second near Castlebellingham (M1 North service area) opened on 29 September 2010. Each location has northbound and southbound facilities, with no connection across the motorway between each side. Open 24 hours a day, they provide fuel and food and are of a design similar to those found in other European countries. The service areas are run by a consortium of companies known as Superstop.

ITS on the M1[edit]

As with other sections of Irish motorways which feature variable-message signs, the M1 is also connected to an intelligent transportation system (ITS) providing real-time journey time information for motorists. The system works by recognising vehicle number plates at intervals along the motorway, and uses this information to calculate average vehicle speeds and hence travel times. Northbound, VMSs near Malahide and Balbriggan provide information on the journey times to the Drogheda (J7) and Dundalk (J16) exits. Similar signs southbound provide information on the travel time to Dublin Airport and the Dublin Port Tunnel.

Roadside art on the M1[edit]

Roadside art is funded under the Percentage For Arts Scheme where 1% of the scheme budget is allocated to roadside art with a cap of €63,000. The local authorities decide on a theme and are responsible for commissioning the work, usually by open competition.[3] There are several examples along the M1

  • The Beehives. Three corbelled beehives on the Balbriggan bypass by artists Robert McColgan and Irene Benner made of cut stone in 2001 – Inspired by the tale of St. Molach, a beekeeper.[4]
  • An Tarbh Donn, a three-metre-high (9.8 ft) bull on the Dundalk bypass by artist Micheál McKeown. Of metal mesh on a concrete base. Inspired by the Bull in the Táin Bó Cúailnge.[5]

See also[edit]


KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/si/0053.html Archived 10 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine S.I. No. 53/2012 — Roads Act 1993 (Classification of National Roads) Order 2012
  2. ^ http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/si/0054.html Archived 9 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine S.I. No. 54/2012 — Roads Act 1993 (Classification of Regional Roads) Order 2012
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 June 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Fingal Arts | Home". Archived from the original on 14 April 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Create Louth – the home of the arts in County Louth Ireland". Archived from the original on 1 June 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2022.