|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||43.6 km (27.1 miles)|
|Meets:||N10, R910, R697, R909, R691, R695, R699, R698, R692, R690, R696, R706, N24|
The N76 begins at the Waterford Road Roundabout on the N10 at Smithlands on the southern edge of Kilkenny. It circles the city before turning towards the south-west and heading directly for County Tipperary, passing the town of Callan along the way. It ends on the N24 at Kilheffernan Roundabout, some 6 kilometres east of Clonmel town.
Section 1: Kilkenny - Callan
The first section of the N76 is a wide modern road, which opened in conjunction with new sections of the N10 and the N77 to form a ring road around the eastern and southern fringes of Kilkenny city. It starts out as an S4, with two passing in each direction, before narrowing into a wide S2 with partial hard shoulders and a cycle lane separated from the main carriageway by a green verge. It passes through the Kells Road Roundabout, from which the R697 heads south on a course which parallels the N76 to the Kells, before reaching the Callan Road Roundabout. A long filter on the approach to the roundabout separates traffic intending to turn right into the city, along the original route of the N76 (now numbered R909), from that intending to continue with the N76 towards Callan.
Heading away from the city, the speed limit is 60km/h as was pass several new-build housing developments to our right, and the road narrows down to become a standard S2, flanked by broad pavements to either side. We are informed of the distances to Clonmel (49km), Carrick-on-Suir (41km, for which we will need to watch out for the R696), and Callan (15km). The 60km/h limit remains in place as we begin to pass through farmland, as there are some outlying residential areas intermingled with the farms for some distance. At Tennypark the road acquires hard shoulders and the speed limit raises to 100km/h as we into the open and very flat countryside.
We pass along a long wide straight before the roads begins very subtly to meander, and clumps of trees rise up to punctuate the verges. The N76 passes through Rose Hill without the village impeding our progress, and the road begins to undulate gently. The hard shoulders have disappeared by the time we reach Cuffesgrange. After a further kilometre or two, at Ballymack we are offered the chance to turn right at a T-junction onto the R691, which heads towards Cashel, or left at a second T-junction, for the ruined Burnchurch Castle. We regain the shoulders again, and pass the colourful the Duggan Steel distribution centre to the right. A left turn offers access to the village of Tullamaine, located just to the east of the road, before descending gradually to cross a tiny stream and climbing gradually again, on approach to Callan town.
At one time the N76 passed right through the centre of Callan, but it now follows bypasses it to the west. The beginning of the bypass is marked by a staggered crossroads, where one local road follows the original route of the N76 into the town while another heads out into the country. The bypass is a wide S2 road with hard shoulders as it curves its way around Callan. One third of the way around the bypass, the R695 departs to the right, heading back towards Kilkenny via Kilmanagh, while a local road enters the urban area. After this crossroads the N76 straightens out and passes over the King's River. Two thirds of the way around the bypass, a pair of T-junctions combine to send another local road out into the country to the west of the town, while the R699 runs east through the town's centre before continuing across country to rendezvous with the M9 at Junction 10, near Knocktopher. The bypass ends where its final junction, a T to the left, sets the R698 off towards Windgap.
Section 2: Callan - Clonmel
To the south of Callan, the N76 retains its hard shoulder for a kilometre or so until narrowing down to become a standard S2 once more. At Kilbride Glebe, the R692 begins at a T-junction to the right, heading across the border with County Tipperary to Mullinahone. The N76 is destined for Tipperary too, passing the Kilbride Glebe graveyard and crossing the Kilbride River before crossing the county boundary. This is a false start, however, as we passing back into County Kilkenny two kilometres later. The N76 regains its hard shoulders, albeit rather unevenly, before crossing the border again after a further three kilometres, just before Ninemilehouse.
Shortly before entering the village, the R690 leaves us via a T-junction on the right, bound eventually for Urlingford. The village of Ninemilehouse is a cluster of tidy houses, a pub, and a filling station, through which the N76 is subject to a 50 km/h speed limit, but it is not long before we are returned to the countryside. The road is then a standard S2, running in a straight line for most of the way to Grangemockler. This settlment is rather larger, and are subject to a 50km/h limit again as we pass the church, a pub, and a convenience store in close succession on the left, and a second pub among the houses on the right. There is a filling station and located just before we cross the Lingaun River via a bridge that would scarcely be noticeably were it not for the stone walls being painted with blue and yellow stripes.
Once the road returns to a 100km/h limit and regains narrow hard shoulders, it shadows the river for a kilometre or so, in a position which is slightly elevated above the farmland through which the water flows. We continue on our direct south-westerly course after the course of the river turns away, making swift progress through the forested area between Kilcash Wood and Curraghdobbin Hill. The speed limit drops to 80km/h and the road narrows to lose its shoulders again as we pass through the trees. A 10% descent through the woodland brings us to the T-junction on the left with the R696, which is where we must leave the N76 if we wish to head to Carrick-on-Suir.
After the turning, the N76 deviates away from the south-westerly course it has followed since Kilkenny, to adopt a more westerly route. This is achieved by negotiating a very long uphill curve to the right, and by the time the road straightens again we have broken clear of the wood. We are treated to a view of the mountains of County Waterford in the distance, beyond the lush pastures that line the left-hand side of the road. The limit returns to 100km/h and the road regains partial hard shoulders as it now proceeds directly for Clonmel. The Slievenamon Range is visible nearby to the right as we approach the slightly staggered crossroads where a local road crosses our path between the villages of Ballypatrick and Ballyneill; the road widens to accommodate turning filters for turning traffic.
The road then narrows and pursues a more undulating course as it enters its final stretch. It passes through some very attractive countryside before we pass the Ormond Store, Bar and Lounge, where the R706 crosses our path on its way from Kilsheelan to the south towards the Ballyboe Airstrip and Fethard to the north. After the crossroads, the N76 climbs a little before crossing the Limerick-Waterford railway. After this, the route begins its final descent into the Suir Valley. For its last half-kilometre, the road takes a climbing lane in the opposite direction, while yellow stripes across our side of the road warn of the need to slow for the impending roundabout. A narrow central reservation appears to separate the traffic flows before the road twists quite abruptly to reach its end. Immediately before the Kilheffernan Roundabout on the N24, the traffic in our direction is filtered; here we can turn left towards Kilsheelan and Carrick-on-Suir, or right to nearby Clonmel.
Prior to the construction of the Kilkenny ring road, the N76 began on the N10 near the city centre, not far from Kilkenny Castle and the River Nore. It exited the city by following College Road, which takes its name from the adjacent campus of St Kieran's College. This road is now numbered the R909, and it meets the present course of the N76 at the Callan Road Roundabout.