M8 (Republic of Ireland)
|Location Map ( geo)
|146.1 km (90.8 miles)
|M7, N75, N62, N74, N24, N73, N25, N40, N8
|Route outline (key)
The M8 is part of the NRA's 'Southwest Corridor', making it a key priority for upgrades.
Port Laoise – Kilworth
The M8 starts at Ballycuddahy, some 18 km south-west of Port Laoise. It is a toll motorway, but drivers heading south-west will have paid the toll already as the booths are on the M7. You cannot join the M8 from the M7 going east, nor can you exit the M8 to the M7 going west towards Limerick. The route is two lanes each way almost throughout and is very rural in nature. It passes the towns of Cashel, Cahir, and Mitchelstown before reaching the north of Fermoy
Kilworth – Cork
You now enter the start of a second section of toll motorway along the route. This bypasses Fermoy and Rathcormac between junctions 14 and 17. 18 km long and it contains two toll plazas. The main plaza is just north of Watergrasshill, with smaller north facing toll booths at junction 15 at Fermoy. At junction 18, the speed limit reduces to 100 km/h as the route goes onto the older Glanmire bypass. There are sharper bends as the route goes around the village. The route then ends at the Dunkettle Interchange. The M8 ends on the roundabout as the N25 goes over the roundabout. The remaining short section of N8 then heads into Cork city centre.
As with most motorways in Ireland, there are no online service stations. However, offline service areas are provided. Smaller than their equivalents in the UK, they nevertheless provide parking, petrol, toilets, and hot food. On the M8, there are services at junction 3 and junction 8.
The route bypasses the old single carriageway N8 (now R639) that used to go through many towns and villages. Some of the bypasses were built as high-quality dual carriageways and opened as the N8, before being re-designated motorways in 2008 and 2009. The route was finished, with the opening of the final section from the M7 to Johnstown, at 1600 on the 28th of May 2010.
The 1998 Road Needs Study concluded that the existing N8 did not need to be a motorway, as a dual carriageway would be sufficient.
The majority of the route is relatively quiet with no major plans for improvements. However, at the end of the route at the Dunkettle Roundabout, long queues occur on a regular basis and there are now plans to turn this junction into a fully free-flow junction.
Irish Statute Book
- Roads Act 2007 (Declaration of Motorways) Order 2008 - This instrument converts the following sections of the N8 to motorway: Cashel Bypass, Urlingford to Cashel, Cashel to Mitchelstown, Mitchelstown to Fermoy
- Roads Act 2007 (Declaration of Motorways) Order 2009 - This instrument converts the following sections of the N8 to motorway: Watergrasshill to Glanmire, Glanmire Bypass