N3 road (Ireland)

N3 road (Ireland)

N3 national IE.png

N3 road
Route information
Length: 205 km (127 mi)

(bypassed routes in italics)

Road network

Roads in Ireland
Motorways • Primary • Secondary • Regional

The N3 road is a national primary road in Ireland, running between Dublin, Cavan and the border with County Fermanagh. The A509 and A46 roads in Northern Ireland form part of an overall route connecting to Enniskillen, and northwest to the border again where the N3 reappears to serve Ballyshannon in County Donegal.

Rush hour congestion between Navan and Dublin city is very heavy (up to 22,000 vehicles per day on parts of the N3 in 2002), and problems occur at most built-up areas between these points. A tolled motorway bypass replacement, the M3 motorway, was opened to traffic on the 4th of June 2010. The bypassed section from Clonee to the border with County Cavan has been reclassified as the R147.



The old N3, between Clonee and Dunshaughlin

The route is known as the Navan Road as it leaves Dublin, passing near the Phoenix Park's northeastern exit and bypassing Castleknock.

It passes through a major junction with the M50 motorway and then bypasses Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart and Clonee with a dual carriageway. The dual carriageway changes into the M3 motorway near the Meath border by-passing Dunshaughlin and Navan. Near Kells the route continues as the N3 dual carriage way to the border with County Cavan. It then passes through Virginia, past Cavan Town and continues past Butlersbridge and through Belturbet. The route then crosses the border with Northern Ireland, becoming the A509 to Enniskillen. The A46 road connects Enniskillen and the Donegal border, becoming the N3 across the border at Belleek, and connecting to Ballyshannon.

N3 upgrade

The National Roads Authority in conjunction with Cavan and Donegal County Councils plan major improvements to the N3 route in Ulster. It is currently planned that the Virginia bypass will be developed as 12.5 kilometres of type two dual carriageway. Type two dual carriageway has reduced width or no hard shoulders and also a reduced width median. This approach significantly cuts land acquisition costs.

M3 motorway

M3 motorway IE.png

M3 motorway
N15 road N16 road Sligo N17 road N26 road N5 road N4 road N5 road Longford Westport N17 road Galway M6 motorway N18 road M18 motorway Limerick M7 motorway M20 motorway N24 road N21 road Tralee N20 road M8 motorway N22 road Cork Londonderry/Derry Londonderry/Derry N13 road N14 road N13 road N15 road Armagh Belfast Belfast N2 road N3 road N4 road M1 motorway M3 motorway M4 motorway Dublin N7 road M7 motorway N11 road M9 motorway Kilkenny M11 motorway N10 road N11 road N24 road M9 motorway N30 road N25 road N25 road Waterford N25 roadM3 motorway (Ireland).png
About this image

Mano cursor.svg Clickable image
Route information
Part of N3 national IE.png
Length: 51 km (32 mi)
Existed: 2007 – present
History: Completed in 2010
Major junctions
  N52, N51
To: Kells, County Meath
Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Navan, Kells
Road network

Roads in Ireland
Motorways • Primary • Secondary • Regional

Part of the old N3 route has been bypassed by the construction of 51 kilometres of new motorway. This stretch of motorway, designated M3, was opened on June 4, 2010. The M3 begins near the end of the dual carriageway outside Clonee and terminates south west of Kells just before the N52. The entire scheme does not terminate at this point as a new realigned N3 continues to bypass Kells before terminating near the County Cavan border. The scheme also includes the N52 Kells northern bypass. Since completion, the M3 now bypasses Dunshaughlin, Navan, and Kells.


The motorway was contested because the route passes near the Hill of Tara and through the archaeologically rich Tara-Skryne valley or Gabhra. The planned route corridor was approved by An Bord Pleanála (Ireland's planning appeals board) in August 2003.[1][2]

Motorway reclassification

On 30 September 2008, the Department of Transport announced the second round of proposed motorway reclassifications under the Roads Act 2007. A short section of the existing dual-carriageway N3 bypassing Clonee, from northwest of Mulhuddart to the start of the M3 toll motorway scheme, is affected by this. Following a public consultation process, on 10 July 2009 the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, made a Statutory Instrument reclassifying this section of the N3 as motorway effective from 28 August 2009.[3] It was the first section of M3 to come into being.

Motorway project details

  • The most expensive single contract road project ever undertaken in Ireland coming in at approximately €650 million according to SIAC.
  • It is tolled at two locations, one point north of Navan and another point between Dunshaughlin and Clonee for 45 years running from 2007. The Government have the option to buy out this contract at any time. The price level of tolls is controlled by the Board of the NRA and they can reduce, increase or remove the tolls as they see appropriate (as is the case with every other toll road in Ireland e.g. Dublin Port Tunnel weekend price reduction). Should they lower the tolls on the M3 the government would have to make up the difference of what is owed yearly to Eurolink M3 Ltd through tax revenue. Thus Eurolink are guaranteed a certain agreed return from their investment and would not suffer from any reduction in toll revenue from either a toll reduction or the planned opening of the Navan rail line. The toll revenue is collected by a private company on behalf of the state as a means to pay the private sector consortium annually for their initial once off investment in constructing the road.
  • It is the longest road project ever to be constructed in Ireland including nearly 100 kilometres of new or upgraded road including 49 km of new M3, 10 km of new N3, 20 km of new link roads and interchanges, and approximately 15 kilometres of local road improvements, footpaths, cycle lanes and new bridges.
  • It was originally planned to open in 2006.
  • An Bord Pleanála initially approved the project on 22 August 2003. Exactly 4 years later, on 22 August 2007, they directed that the excavation of the Lismullin monument did not require fresh planning approval.


N3 Dual Carriageway
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
M50 motorway Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG: Dublin Port, Bray and ALL OTHER ROUTES (M50) Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png M50 motorway Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG: Dublin Port, Bray and ALL OTHER ROUTES (M50)
Motorway Exit 2 Ireland.png
Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG
Clonee, Damastown Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG End of motorway
M3 motorway
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
Start of motorway Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG Clonee, Damastown
Pace Interchange: Dunboyne, Trim (R154), Ratoath (R155) Motorway Exit 5 Ireland.PNG Pace Interchange: Dunboyne, Trim (R154), Ratoath (R155)
Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Dunshaughlin, Kilcock Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG Dunshaughlin, Kilcock
Skryne (R147), Johnstown Motorway Exit 7 Ireland.PNG Skryne (R147), Johnstown
Navan (South) Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG Navan (South)
Navan (North), Delvin, Athboy (N51) Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNG Navan (North), Delvin, Athboy (N51)
Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Kells Motorway Exit 10 Ireland.PNG Kells
End of motorway Start of motorway
Road continues as N3 for Cavan, Enniskillen and Ballyshannon

See also


  1. ^ Eileen Battersby (26 May 2007). "Is nothing sacred?". The Irish Times. 
  2. ^ Glenn Frankel (22 January 2005). "In Ireland, Commuters vs. Kings". The Washington Post: p. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27671-2005Jan21.html. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  3. ^ http://www.transport.ie/upload/general/10978-SI_255_OF_2009-0.PDF

External links

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