B30 (Northern Ireland)
|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Corcullioncrew (border) (H887130)|
|Distance:||14.6 miles (23.5 km)|
|Meets:||A25, B134, A29, B135, A37, R179|
|Route outline (key)|
The B30 is a cross-country road in south County Armagh. From the A25 to the A29 it runs through the Ring of Gullion Area of Natural Beauty. This is a geologically unusual area, the finest Ring Dyke in Britain or Ireland formed by ancient volcanos. This environment provides a very scenic drive, but also presents some road engineering problems.
The road starts on the A25 to the west of Camlough. The original northern end of the B30 was on the banks of the lough itself but this section of the A25 has been bypassed and so the B30 has been extended along the old road in both directions. The two halves of the B30 meet head-on and then TOTSO south at the road's original starting place. This A25 bypass was built around 1970 when it was expected that the A25/B30 junction would be flooded by a higher water level in the lough owing to a pump storage hydroelectric scheme. In this scenario, the B30 would have been diverted along the B134. In the end, the electric scheme wasn't completed, although a half finished tunnel from the works can be seen on the mountain.
The road proceeds southwest, up Sturgan hill, followed by relatively straight and level stretch before reaching Lislea, where the B134 joins on the right and then becomes the dominant number in a multiplex south for over half a mile, with the B30 taking on the direction of the B134. That road turns off towards Forkhill to end the multiplex and the B30 turns southwestward once more.
The section for 2 miles or so beyond the B134 junction had been somewhat improved and is fairly straight, but this is then followed by some bends before reaching the hamlet of Aughanduff. The road then climbs and descends Silverbridge hill, in a relatively slow section. At Silverbridge, it crosses the route of the older coach road from Dundalk to Armagh, now unclassified, which also used this bridge. After the bridge it bends sharply right and makes a beeline for the A29, the modern Dundalk-Armagh route. It meets this at Ford's Cross, named after a 19th-century landowner who promoted road widening schemes on his property. The 19th-century design of two straight narrow roads meeting at a crossroad with limited visibility proved lethal in the motor age and the modern crossroads is a staggered 1960s design. Reflecting NI road design in that period, the A29 here has hard shoulders (despite only being S2 otherwise) and the B30 also gains these for a short distance either side of the junction.
The B30 is of generally better quality in the flatter countryside from the A29 to Crossmaglen than many of the previous sections. Along the way, it passes the village of Creggan and passes over a stone bridge, with limited road space pedestrians here been facilitated with a modern parallel footbridge. At Crossmaglen, the B135 is met, after which the B30 zigzags through the large square to reach a T-junction. It TOTSOs left here onto Blaney Road and then takes the next right turn, thus having to give way to an unclassified road. After leaving town, the B30 makes a slight detour to the north to avoid the gradient of the older direct road and then reaches Cullaville, this diversion was a mid 19th century construction as it is not shown on the earliest OS maps. The B30 is, in fact, the only classified road by which this village can be reached from the North.
After crossing the A37 at a crossroads in the centre of the village, the B30 continues on past the Gaelic football ground to reach the stone Art Hamill's bridge over the River Fane. The river marks the border and so the B30 ends here; the road ahead is the R179.