|Via:||Kells, Mullingar, Birr|
|Distance:||177.7 km (110.4 miles)|
|Meets:||N2, N3, N51, N4, M6, N80, N62, N65, M7|
|Route outline (key)|
The N52 is a cross-country route connecting northeast to southwest Ireland.
From Ardee, the road heads first to Kells, which it skirts by means of a surprisingly high quality bypass. It then goes on to Mullingar, where it crosses the N4, and proceeds to the M6 at Tyrrellspass. It multiplexes with the motorway from junctions 4 to 5, then leaves south to run around Tullamore on the bypass and on through Birr and Borrisokane, ending on the M7 at Nenagh.
An amended OpenStreetMap trace for this route awaits uploading to the SABRE Wiki.
The N52 originally started at Dundalk, passing along Anne Street and the Ardee Road, this section is now the R171 and the L3168. In January 2001 the N52 ended at Jct 14 of the M1, then the terminus of the M1, connecting to the town by the new link road to that junction. The N52 subsequently took over this link road and the eastern bypass (former N1) when the M1 bypass opened in 2005. However, the section north of Ardee was downgraded in 2012, to encourage through traffic to use the alternative and much superior route via the M1 and N33. This section is now officially the R215, as indicated in Transport Infrastructure Ireland mapping; however, as of 2016 directional signage had still not been changed, including newly erected signage, and the section continues to be shown as N52 "on the ground" and on Openstreetmap. Louth County Council continues to refer Ardee-Dundalk road as the N52 in official documents.
The route as far as Tullamore had earlier been part of the T9 Dundalk - Cork trunk road. Between Mullingar and Tyrellspass, the N52 runs on a completely different alignment from that of the original route. The old road is, in places, the R400, the L1122, and the R389. It ended in the centre of Nenagh on what was the N7 (now the R445).