|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Drumcondra, Dublin (O160362)|
|Distance:||7.9 km (4.9 miles)|
|Meets:||R132, R803, R105,R834, M50, R101, R801, R111, R118|
The R131 is an important road on the east side of Dublin, connecting the industrial area around Dublin Port to the residential area near Booterstown. It is a major route to the port not just in Dublin, but also in Dun Laoghaire.
The road starts on the R101 (former N1) in Drumcondra. It meets the River Tolka and then becomes East Wall Road, which used to be the city's shoreline. The residential area of East Wall fell from grace when the Docklands closed, but is now moving up again with the opening of new shopping centres.
From a roads perspective, this section of the R131 is hampered by a low railway bridge near North Strand. Thankfully the opening of the Dublin Port Tunnel means not so many HGVs go this way (except when the tunnel is closed), the bridge and its diversion along the R834 still poses a problem.
At Dublin Port, it's not just the R131 that experiences a turn of fortune, but the whole East Wall Road does too. The road appears to end at a set of traffic lights, but instead turns a corner and becomes a D3 dual carriageway, with overhead gantry signs and everything. This junction, nicknamed 'The Turn' when clarification is required, was less prominent before all the land was reclaimed. It was upgraded when the Port Tunnel needed something to connect to.
From here onwards, the road is on the new line reserved for the Eastern Bypass, though it seems unlikely to be built.
The next junction incorporates the very unusual Alexandra Road level crossing. This is rarely used, but is very disruptive when it is. After this the road squeezes past the refurbished Point Depot, shopping centre and Port Terminal 3, coming to a roundabout which was, until 2013, bisected by another railway line. Small sections of track can still be seen along North Wall Quay, and inside the Port Gates.
Here the R131 uses Tom Clarke Bridge to cross over to the south side. This lifting bridge was built with a long section of link road, named Toll Bridge Road, which was built on reclaimed land. Signage here is alarmingly minimal, especially considering the proximity of the port.
After a large roundabout, the road turns onto the dual carriageway called Sean Moore Road. The wide roads here were clearly designed with heavy HGV usage in mind, and have somewhat lost their status with the opening of the tunnel, although they are still well-used by freight.
At Irishtown there is a large signalised junction, and the R131 has another change of heart. It turns left and becomes a residential road, running along the seafront of Sandymount Strand (with views across Dublin Bay), but also passing people's houses and a few tight mini-roundabouts.
At Merrion Gates, the R131 crosses the railway to Rosslare. This level crossing is a source of local frustration given its heavy use, as the railway runs up to every 10 minutes in each direction. The level crossing itself is inter-worked with the traffic likes on the R118, where the R131 ends immediately after the railway.
One proposal, 2016 plan which is still being developed, involves diverting the R131 through Merrion Hall and the church, allowing it to cross the railway on a bridge. The old level crossing would then become a cycle path.