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Baile Átha Cliath
Location Map ( geo)
GPO O'Connell Street.jpg
The Spire and GPO on O'Connell Street.
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Highway Authority
Dublin City
Forward Destination on
M1, N2 (M2), N3 (M3), N4 (M4), N7, N11, M50
Next Terminal & Intermediate Destinations
Blessington • Cork • Derry • Dublin Airport • Galway • Limerick • Navan • Sligo • Wexford
Nearby Terminal & Intermediate Destinations
Dublin Port
Other Nearby Destinations
Bray • Naas • Tallaght
This article is about the city.
For other uses, see Dublin (disambiguation)

Dublin, located on the east coast of Ireland at the mouth of the River Liffey, is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland and the country's most signposted destination.

The literal meaning of the city's Irish-language name Baile Átha Cliath (usually abbreviated to Áth Cliath on roadsigns) is "hurdles-ford-town". The name "Dublin" (Irish: dubhlinn, "black pool") is a reference to the small lake, used for mooring ships, which once lay close to the Liffey and the "hurdles ford" which crossed the river close to the modern R108.

While it was the Vikings who first established a trading port on the Liffey's banks, it was the Normans who enabled the city to become the main city of the island of Ireland. The Georgian period saw one of the city's greatest periods of growth and today it is Georgian architecture that gives the city its character. In 1916, the Easter Rising against British rule took place here. The area around O'Connell Street was mostly rebuilt in the 1920s after suffering severe destruction in the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War which followed it.

Today Dublin is a major tourist destination, famous not least as the home of Guinness stout.


As might be expected, the Republic of Ireland's road numbering system radiates from Dublin, the hub of which is O'Connell Bridge. This is originally where the N1, N4, and N11 all met, although since completion of the M50 motorway ring all National routes inside the ring have been reclassified as Regional roads. As of 2016, the majority of the old signs had not been removed.

On each side of the city, crossings of the River Liffey are by tolled roads: the M50 Westlink on one side and the East-Link Bridge on the east coast. The recently widened motorway carries the majority of the traffic, meeting all the major radial routes. A third toll road, the relatively recent Dublin Port Tunnel, relieves the former N1 through north Dublin and connects the port to the motorway network.

There is also an Inner Orbital and an Outer Orbital, created out of existing streets in the city, including the aptly-named North Circular Road. Various one way systems are in operation, including along The Quays, Customs House, around Trinity College, Parnell Square, Pembroke Street, Capel Street (twice) and Stoneybatter. These, coupled with many turn restrictions at signalised junctions, mean journey planning is essential.

While Dublin might not have become as notorious for its traffic as nearby capital London, it has been slow to explore solutions to its traffic problem.

Wide Streets Commission

Dublin's modern traffic problem arguably began with the Wide Streets Commission of 1757. This commission was created to address problems with congestion on Dublin's narrow medieval streets, which were blocked by pedestrians, horse-drawn vehicles and cattle. Over the following 100 years, the commission demolished buildings to create wider or even entirely new streets.

By the 21st Century, the work of the Wide Streets Commission continued to be paying dividends. The wide thoroughfares made it easy for cars to drive right into the centre of the city, whereas most other cities of the same age were having to keep cars out.

This unique selling point quickly became a victim of its own success. The widened streets soon became overloaded with traffic, especially at key junctions which had not been designed to handle so many cars.

Motoring Heyday

Primary route road signs.
Cabra Cross, historically an important junction when entering the city.

The N11 Stillorgan Dual Carriageway, built in the 1950s, was one of the first major road improvements in the country. Passing through leafy Dublin 4 and its institutions, some would say this was an inevitable choice of route to receive such investment. The growth of the suburbs mean this road is now festooned with traffic lights, and suffers congestion where the upgraded road wasn't extended into the city centre.

The first was the General Traffic Plan (Schaechterle, 1965), which mainly focused on two ring roads. The second, the Central Dublin Traffic Plan (1973), involved a motorway running around the northern side of the city centre, and a grade-separated dual carriageway running along the western side.

Neither plan came close to being delivered. Land being held for the creation of new roads turned derelict and severely damaged the reputation of inner city Dublin, but it did allow for isolated road improvements to be introduced along the line of some of the original plans. This included the controversial dual carriageway along Patrick Street (now R137), opened in 1989.

The outrage at the Patrick Street work pretty much killed any remaining ambition to widen roads in the city centre, leaving a series of dual carriageways such as Summerhill (R803) that don't really serve anywhere.

Dublin Port was, unsurprisingly, a source of many HGVs entering the city. The influence of this can still be seen in the layout of many key junctions, such as Cabra Cross.

Current Thinking

Liffey Quays cycle route.
A new (2020) cycle lane on the Liffey Quays.

Dublin's city centre continued to be dominated by car traffic well into the 2000s. The work of the Wide Streets Commission did at least allow quality bus corridors to be introduced along key routes into the city, while allowing cars to still use the same road. The first one, along the N11, opened in 1999.

The city's main focus became the completion and upgrade of the M50, which would remove a lot of through traffic from the city's radial routes. By 2002, this allowed a series of roads to become public transport corridors, including the closure of Frederick Street.

The expansion of Dublin's suburbs beyond the M50, especially with regards to large shopping centres, caused traffic levels to continue to grow. A tram system, known as the Luas, began in 2004, creating an alternative travel option for some commuters but increasing journey times for existing car traffic.

A pro-cycling, pro-pedestrian policy only began to emerge in the late 2010s, with particular areas of attention being a cycle route along the Liffey Quays and the possible closure of College Green - both are notorious congestion hotspots. A signage review in 2020 removed many long-distance destinations from road signs in the city, and added clearer car park information.

Much of the city's long-term transport planning is focused on BusConnects. First revealed to the public in 2018, this will involve a review of every radial route in the city, ensuring that suitable cycle and public transport provision is provided. In many places this will involve widening the carriageways.


Route To Notes


Aerfort AIRPORT · Droichead Átha DROGHEDA · Béal Feirste BELFAST


Cill Dhéagláin ASHBOURNE · Doire DERRY


An Uaimh NAVAN


Sligeach SLIGO


Orbital motorway


An Nás NAAS For M7 Luimneach LIMERICK, M8 Corcaigh CORK,
and M9 Port Lairge WATERFORD


Bré BRAY · Loch Garman WEXFORD N11 / M11


Tamhlacht TALLAGHT · Baile Coimín BLESSINGTON







Dublin Inner Orbital Route • Dublin Outer Orbital Route • E01 • E20 • E104 (Dublin - Killeen) • E105 (Dublin - Rosslare) • E107 (Dublin - Cork) • E108 (Dublin - Shannon) • E118 (Old System) • E122 (Old System) • E124 (Old System) • E125 (Old System) • E126 (Old System) • EuroVelo 2 • L1 • L6 • M1 (Republic of Ireland) • M11 (Republic of Ireland) • M32 (Republic of Ireland) • M50 (Republic of Ireland) • N1 • N2 • N3 • N4 • N7 • N11 • N31 • N32 • N50 • N81 • R101 • R102 • R103 • R104 • R105 • R106 • R107 • R108 • R109 • R110 • R111 • R112 • R113 • R114 • R115 • R117 • R118 • R121 • R122 • R123 • R124 • R131 • R132 • R133 • R134 • R135 • R137 • R138 • R147 • R148 • R801 • R802 • R803 • R804 • R805 • R806 • R807 • R808 • R809 • R810 • R811 • R812 • R813 • R814 • R815 • R816 • R817 • R818 • R819 • R820 • R824 • R825 • R833 • R834 • R839 • R840 • T1 • T2 • T3 • T5 • T7 • T35 • T42 • T43 • T44 • T5A
Related Pictures
View gallery (302)
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Destinations in the Republic of Ireland
Major CitiesCork • Dublin • Galway • Limerick • Waterford
Terminal DestinationsArdee • Athlone • Ballina • Ballyshannon • Belturbet • Belview Port • Blackrock • Borrisokane • Cashel • Castlebar • Castleblayney • Cavan • Charlestown • Clonmel • Cork Airport • Dingle • Donegal • Drogheda • Dublin Airport • Dublin Port • Dún Laoghaire • Dundalk • Dungarvan • Ennis • Enniscorthy • Ennistimon • Foxford • Kenmare • Kilkenny • Killarney • Killorglin • Kilrush • Letterkenny • Longford • Malahide • Mallow • Mitchelstown • Monaghan • Mullingar • Nenagh • New Ross • Port Laoise • Rathcoole • Ringaskiddy • Roscommon • Rosslare Harbour • Shannon • Sligo • Stranorlar • Swanlinbar • Tallaght • Thurles • Tipperary • Tralee • Tullamore • Westport • Wexford
Intermediate DestinationsAn Clochán Liath • Athy • Ballyhaunis • Bangor • Birr • Blessington • Cahersiveen • Carlow • Clifden • Dún Fionnachaidh • Durrow • Foynes • Glenties • Kilkee • Listowel • Na Cealla Beaga • Navan • Roscrea • Skibbereen • Tuam
Other PlacesArklow • Bandon • Bantry • Boyle • Bray • Cahir • Carrick-on-Shannon • Castleisland • Claremorris • Clonakilty • Clones • Fermoy • Gorey • Gort • Granard • Kells • Kinnegad • Knock Airport • Loughrea • Naas • Pettigo • Port of Cork • Shannon Airport • Swinford • Swords • Tramore • Wicklow

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