M1 motorway (Republic of Ireland)

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The M1 in County Louth

The M1 motorway is a motorway in eastern Leinster. It is the major motorway in the Ireland, serving routes to and from Dublin and it and a section of the M7 were the first stretches of motorway opened in the Republic, in 1983.

The M1 is part of the N1 national primary road connecting Dublin towards Belfast along the east coast of Ireland, and indeed the M1 is the majority of the length of the N1. The route heads north by way of Swords, Drogheda and Dundalk to the United Kingdom border just south of Newry in County Armagh, where it joins the A1 road. The latter continues the link to Belfast by way of 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

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 Swords, Balbriggan Drogheda and Dundalk before ending at Ballymascanlon north of Dundalk, bypassing the intermediate towns through which the original route travelled.[1] The original N1 route now forms the R132.[2] At Ballymascanlon, it becomes the N1 dual carriageway and continues to the United Kingdom border. 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 Ireland. 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 8.7 miles (14.0 km), 3 miles north of the border and 6 miles 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.


The junctions are:

M1 reduced motorway IE.png
Northbound exits (read down) Junction Southbound exits (read up)
Start of M1 motorway Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png Malahide (N32), ALL OTHER ROUTES (M50 Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG)
Motorway continues as M50 for Dublin and Dublin Port
Dublin Airport, Swords (South) (R132) Motorway Exit 2 Ireland.png Dublin Airport, Swords (South) (R132)
Swords (Centre) (R125) Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG No exit
Skerries, Rush, Donabate (R132) Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG Swords (North), Malahide, Donabate (R132 (R126))
Lusk services Motorway Services Ireland.png Lusk services
Balbriggan (R132) Motorway Exit 5 Ireland.PNG Lusk, Rush (R132)
Balbriggan, Naul (R132) Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG Balbriggan, Naul (R132)
Julianstown, Drogheda South (R132) Motorway Exit 7 Ireland.PNG Julianstown, Drogheda South (R132)
Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Drogheda, Duleek (R152) Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG No exit
Drogheda, Donore Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNG Drogheda, Donore
Drogheda North, Navan (N51) Motorway Exit 10 Ireland.PNG Drogheda North, Navan (N51)
No exit Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG Monasterboice (R132)
Dunleer, Collon (R169) Motorway Exit 12 Ireland.PNG Dunleer, Collon (R169)
Dunleer, Dromin (R170) Motorway Exit 13 Ireland.PNG No exit
Ardee, Derry (sic) (N33 (N2)) Motorway Exit 14 Ireland.PNG Ardee, Derry (sic) (N33 (N2))
Castlebellingham, Tallanstown (R166) Motorway Exit 15 Ireland.PNG Castlebellingham, Tallanstown (R166)
Castlebellingham Services Motorway Services Ireland.png Castlebellingham Services
Dundalk, Mullingar (N52) Motorway Exit 16 Ireland.PNG Dundalk, Mullingar (N52)
Castleblayney, Dundalk (N53) Motorway Exit 17 Ireland.PNG Castleblayney, Dundalk (N53)
Dundalk, Ballymascanlon (N52) Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNG Dundalk, Ballymascanlon (N52)
Entering the United Kingdom
Road continues as A1
Entering Republic of Ireland
Start of N1
Jonesborough Note: Sliproad crosses the border half way up Motorway Exit 20 Ireland.PNG Jonesborough, Carrickcarnan (R132), Customs and Excise

Motorway Service Areas

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

While some other sections of Irish motorways also feature Variable-message signs, the M1 is the only one connected to an Intelligent transportation system 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

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 10-foot high bull on the Dundalk bypass by artist Micheál McKeown; a metal mesh on a concrete base. Inspired by the Bull in the legend Táin Bó Cúailnge.[5]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about M1 motorway (Republic of Ireland))


  1. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/si/0053.html S.I. No. 53/2012 — Roads Act 1993 (Classification of National Roads) Order 2012
  2. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/2012/en/si/0054.html S.I. No. 54/2012 — Roads Act 1993 (Classification of Regional Roads) Order 2012
  3. http://www.arts-sport-tourism.gov.ie/pdfs/English-text5.htm
  4. http://www.fingalarts.ie
  5. http://www.createlouth.ie
Motorways in the Republic of Ireland