A8 (Northern Ireland)
|Length:||14.7 miles (23.7 km)|
|Meets:||A8(M), A57, A36, A2, Harbour|
|Old route now:||B56|
|Route outline (key)|
The A8 originally started on the A6 in the Glengormley area of Newtownabbey. However, the construction of the M2 in the 1960s gave rise to a bizarre motorway spur, which was numbered A8(M); it did at least provide easier access to the motorway (and thus Belfast). In more recent years the southernmost section of the A8 has been downgraded to become part of the B56 and so the A8 now starts at the northern terminus roundabout of the A8(M).
The road heads north, initially as dual-carriageway and so of more-or-less the same standard as the A8(M). A couple of roundabouts later the road narrows at the junction of the B94 to Ballyclare. At the next roundabout the A57 is met and Ballynure is bypassed.
The A8 now heads northeastwards, passing no more places of any size until reaching Larne. The road widens to D2 again a mile or so out of town and then passes along a new route through Larne: it originally used Main Street but now runs a short distance to the south. The road goes over the A2 after which a road bears off to the left to join it. The A8 then follows a straight route across reclaimed land alongside the sea and entering the harbour area. Exactly where the A8 ends is a matter for debate but according to signs it goes over two roundabouts before ending at the gates of the Port of Larne, from where ferries can be taken to Scotland.