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Location Map ( geo)
Youghal Bridge - Flickr - 6864892503.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (105)
From:  Dunkettle Interchange (W734725)
To:  Rosslare Europort (T138123)
Via:  Midleton, Dungarvan, New Ross
Distance:  187.8 km (116.7 miles)
Meets:  M8, N8, N40, R623, R624, R907, R629, R907, R634, R671, R673, R674, R911, R672, N72, R676, R677, R679, R680, R710, N9, R861, N29, R704, R700, R723, R733, N30, R736, R735, R738, N11, R769, R730, R739, R740
Highway Authorities

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Traditional Counties

Cork • Kilkenny • Waterford • Wexford

Route outline (key)
N25 Cork Southern Bypass
N25 Cork – Rosslare Harbour

The N25 is the principal route across the south coast of Ireland, carrying traffic between the cities of Cork and Waterford, as well as the tourist areas of West Cork and County Kerry, to the port of Rosslare (and thus France, South Wales, and England).

Most of the road is still single carriageway, but of the wide type common in Ireland. Although the major cities of Waterford and Cork are both bypassed by motorway-standard roads, and parts of the N25 are subject – as are motorways – to a 120 km/h limit, no section of this route has been designated as a motorway.

The N25 is part of the NRA's 'North/South Corridor' and 'Western Corridor', making it a key priority for upgrades.


Rosslare – Waterford

Start of the N25 at Rosslare Harbour

The N25 begins at the first roundabout out of the Rosslare ferry terminal complex. There is a sharp climb up the hill, and we are into Ireland proper. For its first few kilometres, the route runs fairly uneventfully across flat countryside here, passing nothing in particular until we get to the Wexford bypass. This takes the road around the west of the town, to meet the N11 from Dublin, which terminates at the New Ross Road Roundabout; the N25 continues by turning left. From here, things start to get a bit hillier, as the road runs across countryside and farmland, passing to the south of Carrickbyrne Hill. Near Carrickbyrne, there is then a turning for the R735, which connects with the N30 shortly before Enniscorthy (in case you missed the N11 at Wexford). After passing through Ballinbaloola, the N25 descends towards New Ross.

Until the opening of the New Ross Bypass on 30 January 2020, the N25 ran through the town. However, thanks to the €217m bypass - which incorporates the Rose Fitzegerald Kennedy Bridge, the route now avoids the urban area completely. The newly-dualled N30, which arrives from Enniscorthy via the eastern section of the new bypass, connects with the N25 at the Ballymacar Roundabout, which features a segregated left-turn filter to enable N25 traffic travelling westbound to avoid the roundabout completely; the R723 now follows the old route of the N25 from the Ballymacar Roundabout into the town centre. The new bypass is a modern dual-carriageway, although it initially lacks hard shoulders and has a steel crash barrier separating the traffic flows as it follows a fairly direct course towards the River Barrow. About halfway along its length, the Landscape Interchange is grade-separated and provides access to the R733, which heads out of New Ross towards Arthurstown on the Barrow Estuary. The N25 gains hard shoulders and a concrete central reservation after this junction, and descends towards the brand new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge. This cable-stayed structure, which boasts three towers to support the carriageway - the central tower being the tallest, with a slightly shorter tower either side - is now the longest bridge in Ireland. There is a layby on either side of the bridge, allowing traffic in each direction to stop before crossing the river.

The road resumes its original route at the Glenmore Roundabout, where the New Ross Bypass ends. Again, the R723 follows the old route of the N25 into the town, while a segregated filter lane once more allows westbound traffic on the N25 to avoid the roundabout completely. After New Ross we are back into countryside, although slightly less hilly than before, on the route towards Waterford. Now in County Kilkenny, the route heads southwards as a wide S2 with hard shoulders. The large Luffany Roundabout marks the start of the Waterford City Bypass, and also provides a junction with the N29 Port of Waterford access road that carries goods traffic to and from the Belview container port. The port was relocated out of the city centre in 1992, and the N29 - which is one of the shortest national primary routes in the country - was purpose-built to link it to the N25.

The Suir Bridge, bypassing Waterford, under construction in 2009

The dual-carriageway just north of Slieverue, a dormitory town of Waterford City which is actually located over the county boundary in County Kilkenny, is the first stretch of the (tolled) Waterford City Bypass. Despite the construction being of similar standard to the M8 Fermoy scheme, the Waterford Bypass remains a non-motorway class road. There is no M25 in Ireland just yet; a fact reinforced by the 100km/h speed limit.

The new bypass sweeps around the northern and western edge of the city, and the Waterford suburb of Ferrybank, connecting with the N9 Dublin road at the Grannagh grade-separated interchange; the N9 in turn promptly links to the N24 Limerick road. The N25 then crosses River Suir via the Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge, a striking 475 metre-long cable-stayed bridge west of the city, and finally makes landfall in County Waterford. The toll plaza is located immediately over the bridge and, as is typical for Irish toll bridges, movements in both directions are tolled. Beyond the plaza, the Western Link Interchange - a grade-separated dumbbell junction above the N25 - connects to the Waterford Outer Ring Road, the R710. The last section of the Outer Ring Road opened concurrently with the Waterford City Bypass, and connects the N25 with the southern and western parts of the city. The final stretch of the city bypass actually circumvents Kilmeaden (the old N25 is now the R680), before resuming its original route near Matthew's Cross.

Waterford – Dungarvan

The sharp ascents and descents of our route over the next 10 kilometres or so could give some indication as to why the recently dualled sections of the road have not been designated as motorway. West of Kilmeaden (yes, the cheese brand is named after the town, although it has not been produced there since 2005), the nonetheless impressive Waterford City Bypass bypass ends at an at-grade roundabout with the R680, which to the left joins up with the old course of the N25 through Kilmeaden into Waterford, and to the right heads for follows the course of the River Suir all the way to Clonmel. A 1-kilometre-long wide-single-carriageway realignment connects the new N25 to the old road.

About 5 kilometres of bends lie ahead on the original alignment, which is still with intermittent hard shoulders, before the start of the Kilmacthomas Bypass. This extraordinarily wide WS2 opened in 2001 (and was evidently planned with an upgrade to D2 in mind), dropping downhill as with a climbing lane on the other side. At the bottom of the hill, there is an at-grade junction for the now-bypassed town of Kilmacthomas (the link road goes under the mainline), before a long climb uphill. The wide, straight road continues for another 10 kilometres before passing through the small village of Lemybrien. The gradual descent into Lemybrien is similarly long and straight, and provides ample opportunity to view the Comeragh mountains (to your right), and also to clock up some speeding fines if you're not careful!

Beyond Lemybrien, the road begins its climb again into the foothills of the Comeraghs. A climbing lane 1 kilometre outside the village provides two lanes in our direction as the road curves slightly to the left before sweeping to the right. Another downhill section is followed by another uphill climb (aided by another climbing lane) towards Dungarvan. A 60km/h speed limit marks the start of the descent into Dungarvan. The road swings left and we are briefly driving south-east, before a long hairpin known locally as "The Pike" brings us back due west. Traffic coming up the hill against us is given an extra climbing lane here, although using it can be somewhat fraught.

Some early stages of planning were carried out with a view to replacing the whole stretch from the start of the 60km/h limit to a point west of Dungarvan with a new road, but no firm dates or plans have yet been disclosed. The existing road here is narrow, skirting woodland on its northern side, and it widens again only as we near Dungarvan. About 2 kilometres east of the town, the N72 National Secondary Road begins its journey to Kerry as a right turn off the main N25, aided by a filter lane for turning traffic, and a central island separating the traffic on the side road. Dungarven is a scenic town, and there are attractive views from the road as it crosses the Colligan River. However, many users of the N25 will remember Dungarvan for its roundabouts: no fewer than seven await the traveller between the eastern and western edges of this town.

Dungarvan - Midleton

The N25 passes Dungarvan to the north and west before leaving the town behind by closing right up to the waterfront. In 1998, one of the opening stages of the Tour de France followed this route from Dungarvan all the way into Cork (using the N8 to enter the city itself), so it should come as no surprise that there is plenty of climbing ahead of us. Safe in the knowledge that the next roundabout is 20 kilometres away, a wide single-carriageway leads us inland again before we negotiate a long curve to the right as we begin the long ascent into the Knockmealdown Mountains, treated to a long climbing lane in our favour. Just as we begin this ascent, a left turn for the R674 would lead us onto the peninsula that leads to the village of An Rinn (Ring, English) and Ceann Heilbhic (Helvick Head).

The small peninsula leading out to An Rinn and Ceann Heilbhic (the home of Erin's Hope Monument and an RNLI lifeboat station) is Munster's most easterly Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). Following a law change in 2005, signs to destinations in the Gaeltacht are in Irish only. For that reason, An Rinn and Ceann Heilbhic are signed from the N25 in Irish only.

As we climb, we get a good view of the coastline for the first time since leaving Rosslare. This section of road boasts some spectacular views back towards Dungarvan, An Rinn, and Ceann Heilbhic to the right, although these are certainly better for traffic coming the other way! A layby on the right halfway up the hill allows those making the descent to stop and take a look. Irrespective of the width of the road and the provision of a climbing lane, we are subject to a 60km/h limit - which is regularly enforced! After an enormous arc to the left causes us to almost turn back on ourselves, we find that we are driving along the highest point of the route. If we still wish to gaze over the bay, a layby offers this opportunity, although the view is not as good as that offered on the lower section.

Youghal Bridge, where the N25 crosses the River Blackwater

From here, the road is wide and runs through a relatively sparsely-populated area with unremarkable scenery, until we come close to the seaside town of Youghal. For a while, we find ourselves back beside the water, with views across Youghal Bay on the left and the forested banks of the Blackwater river estuary ahead. We cross the mouth of the River Blackwater on Youghal Bridge, a 20th-century concrete structure. The town of Youghal itself is bypassed from a roundabout north of the town, from which the former route of the N25 through the town centre and Youghal Harbour now takes the number R634. At the start of the bypass, which is a wide S2 with hard shoulders, we cross the River Tourig, and enter County Cork, Ireland's largest by area, and the last on the N25's course.

The bypass is just over 3 kilometres in length, and allows grade-separated accesss to Youghal Business Park before rejoining the original route of the N25 (the R634) at a grade-separated limited-access junction to the west of the town. Beyond Youghal, the traffic picks up, and there is a very long wide straight with a hatched central area to separate the flows and deter overtaking. As we approach Killeagh the road quality drops somewhat – this is a 20-kilometre stretch of variable quality, but well-aligned, road. The two un-bypassed towns of Killeagh and Castlemartyr each provide ample opportunity for delays. In the centre of Killeagh the N25 crosses the River Dissour and passes along a main street lined with colourful buildings and local businesses. Although slightly less colourful, Castlemartyr is similarly bustling, and the route crosses the River Kiltha close to its centre. Both of these towns have, not surprisingly, been earmarked for bypasses, but plans for these schemes appear to have been terminally delayed, even when there was money available to secure them.

After a further 14 kilometres, through which the N25 continues as a wide S2 with hard shoulders, and passes right alongside Lough Aderry, we arrive at the first junction for Midleton, home of the distillery that produces the Jameson whiskey brand (as well as Paddy, Power's, and the eponymous Midleton whiskey). Midleton lies to the north of the N25, and is initially accessed by the R907, which leaves us via a T-junction to the right. Up a short hill, and we meet our first roundabout since Youghal. Here the R630 crosses our path, heading from Midleton town centre down the pensinsula which forms the eastern shore of Cork Harbour, to Whitegate (with its power station and oil refinery). After this roundabout, the Midleton bypass (opened in 1986) begins, first as a low-quality dual-carriageway, but improving in quality as it approaches Cork.

Midleton - Cork

Between Midleton and Cork, the last stretch of the N25 is known as the East Cork Parkway. From the LILO near the Europa Business Park (your last chance for Midleton!), all of the junctions are fully grade-separated. The last cross-median junctions are being blocked, although one interesting feature of this section of the N25 is an unused junction, complete with traffic lights(!), which was intended to have been the at-grade entrance to a major complex for the American biotech firm Amgen. Thankfully for those who use this road daily, the plans were put on hold (along with the company's other expansions in the USA), and the traffic lights were never commissioned.

An overbridge dumbbell for Carrigtwohill marks the start of the 120km/h speed limit, as well as numbered junctions, as the N25 now approaches Cork. Approximately 5 kilometres later another dumbbell over the mainline - Junction 3 at Tullogreen - provides the exit for Cóbh. One oddity here is that the traffic leaves after the overbridge, and tuns back towards the roundabout on our side of the dumbbell. The road now passes alongside Slatty Water and crosses both Brown Island and Harper's Island before crossing the water and arriving on Little Island (the largest of the three!). The exit - Junction 2 for Little Island and Glounthaune - marks the start of the D3 section of the N25. This continues, running close the railway from Midleton and Cóbh into Cork, up to Junction 1, the Dunkettle Interchange, where the N25 ends. You can go straight ahead on the N8 into Cork city centre, turn right onto the M8 towards Fermoy and Port Laoise, or left onto the N40 Cork Southern Ring Road.


A scheme is progressing as part of the National Development Plan 2018-2027 to improve the N25 between Carrigtohill and Midleton[1]. The purpose of the scheme is to upgrade the dual carriageway to a modern standard - this section is particularly old, having been widened online, and has numerous crossings of the central reservation and property accesses.


Under the old T and L system, the N25 was the T8 from Rosslare To Wexford, the T12 to just outside New Ross, the T7 to Waterford, and the T12 again to Cork.

The original route through Wexford is now an extended R730 to the Harbour Bridge and station and the R769 westwards from here.

The N25's old crossing of the River Barrow, in New Ross

Prior to the opening of the New Ross bypass and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, the N25 skirted the very centre of town to run along the quayside, and turned left to cross over the River Barrow. Although a fairly modern concrete structure, this crossing was congested and a source of delay.

The Waterford Bypass was officially opened at approximately 12:30pm on 19 October 2009 by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen, 10 months ahead of its proposed schedule, costing more than €500 million. The old route through Waterford is a short extension of the N29 (since the Waterford Bypass starts one roundabout further out from this), then the R711 to the Rice Bridge, an eastward extension of the R680 to Kilmeadan, and a short piece of the L4020 to rejoin the original route some distance west of Waterford.

In Dungarvan, the original line of the road ran was along what is today the R911 through the town.

At Youghal, the N25 originally ran through the town centre and alongside Youghal Harbour; this is now the R634.

The fully dualled Cork East Parkway from Midleton to Cork was opened around 1988, and is consequently a lower standard than more recent High Quality Dual Carriageways, with some remaining at-grade junctions, although these are being closed off. The original N25 ran along Old Youghal Road, which is now the L3004.

The western end of the N25 was originally at its current location with the N8. However, in 1999 it was extended along the Cork Southern Ring Road, which has since been renumbered as the N40.


Wexford Council




Related Pictures
View gallery (105)
N25 at the Jack Lynch Tunnel - Coppermine - 16208.JPGN25 Cork South Ring - Coppermine - 16203.JPGN25 Waterford city bypass - Coppermine - 22571.jpgN25 NewRoss Bridge Description - Coppermine - 15725.jpgN25 between Midleton and Carrigtwohill - Coppermine - 6081.jpg
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