Irish Roads

Road Classes
Primary Roads
Road Projects
Roads in Detail
The North
Items of Note



Details of the N6 national primary road.

Terminal Destinations:

Dublin -> Galway [1]


The N6 is 157.3 km long, commencing at the M4 (Dublin-Sligo road) Junction 11 near Kinnegad, and proceeding west through counties Westmeath, Offaly and Galway, before terminating in the city of Galway. The route connects Dublin, via the N4, to Galway and the west of Ireland. The section of the N6 under motorway restrictions is the M6 motorway.

Route description:

The N6 commences at Junction 11 on the M4 (which is Junction 1 on the N6), with the eastbound carriageway subject to motorway restrictions as the M6 motorway. This initial short section of dual carriageway/motorway was constructed as part of the N4 Kilcock/Kinnegad Bypass (M4/M6 Motorway PPP Scheme), which opened in 2005. Junction 2 on the N6 was also constructed as part of this scheme, being an access point to Kinnegad and the old route network (for example the R446, the bypassed section of N6).

The next section of the N6, to Tyrellspass, is also dual carriageway, and opened on 5th Dec 2006 as part of the Kinnegad-Athlone Phase 1 (Kinnegad-Kilbeggan) scheme, part of which was completed early (the entire scheme is due for completion Q4 2007). Junction 3 of the N6 is located along this section at Rochfortbridge, which is served by the R400. The opened section finishes at J4, Tyrellspass. The N52 from the north meets the N6 here. Between Kinnegad and Tyrellspass, the old N6 (now R446) passed through Milltownpass, proceeded as narrow two lane to Rochfortbridge, and continued onwards to Tyrellspass.

From Tyrellspass, the N6 runs west as two lane carriageway through Killavally and Newtownlow, with the N52 diverging to the south from the N6 at Kilbeggan. Northwest of Kilbeggan, the N6 enters County Offaly, and passes through Horseleap. About 8km west of Horseleap, the N6 again enters County Westmeath, and passes through Moate a couple of kilometres further west. Here the N80 commences along the N6, and leaves the town to the south. The N6 continues west, with another route south, the N62, commencing at Fardrum along the N6.

A short distance west of Fardrum, the Athlone Bypass section of the N6 commences, with a dual carriageway bypass of the town looping around Athlone to the north. Construction on this project started in 1983, and the road was opened in June 1991 having cost IR£34-36 million. The bypass has five grade-separated junctions. At the second junction along the bypass, the N6 is met by the N55 from the north. The N6 crosses the River Shannon into County Roscommon between the third and fourth junctions on the bypass. At the fourth junction, the N61 commences, leaving to the north. The N6 continues around Athlone to proceed in a southern direction west of the town, where the dual carriageway and bypass end.

The N6 runs southwest through Cornafulla and Ballydangan in County Roscommon, entering County Galway just east of Ballinasloe (about 20 km southwest of Athlone). On entering Ballinasloe the N6 crosses the River Suck (a tributary of the Shannon) and winds through the town.

The N6 continues southwest past Garbally, Aughrim and Kilreekil. Further west of this, the N65 commences, leaving the N6 to the south. The N66 commences further along the N6, running west into Loughrea (about 30km southwest of Ballinasloe). The town itself has been bypassed to the north by the N6. The 3.75km single carriageway Loughrea Bypass was officially opened on 25 Sep 2005, having cost €18 million. The bypass has at-grade junctions, with roundabouts at the start, end and middle, and two other intermediate junctions.

After the Loughrea Bypass, the N6 continues in a western/northwestern direction, passing through Craughwell about 12km northwest of Loughrea. A further 16km or so northwest, just east of Oranmore, the N18 meets the N6 from the south, and the N6 follows a dual carriageway access road around Oranmore into Galway.

The N6 dual carriageway into Galway was constructed in various stages between 1983 and 1996. It comprises a bypass of Oranmore and a relief road around/into Galwaycity centre, where it ends at the Quincentennial Bridge. All junctions along the route are at-grade roundabouts. The N18 joins the N6 from the south at the start of the Oranmore bypass, and leaves to the north just north of Oranmore. The N17 leaves in a northeastern direction from the N6 near Galway city centre, and the N84 commences along the N6 directly north of the city centre. The N6 ends a short distance after the Quincentennial Bridge, at the end of the Quincentennial Bridge approach road where the N6 meets the N59 from the northwest.

Upgrades under construction and planned:

Two schemes are underway along the N6 corridor as of February 2007,with both Kinnegad to Kilbeggan and Kilbeggan to Athlone projects proceeding, both part of the 57.5 km Kinnegad to Athlone project. This will continue high-quality dual carriageway between the M4 and the N6 Athlone Bypass. Phase 1, Kinnegad to Kilbeggan, costing about €230 million will comprise 28 km of dual carriageway between the M4 and a junction near Kilbeggan connecting to the existing route network. About 20km of this scheme, from Kinnegad to Tyrellspass, was officially opened ahead of schedule on the 5 Dec 2006. Phase 1 construction began in April 2005 and is expected to be completed by Q4 2007. Phase 2, the 29 km Kilbeggan to Athlone dual carriageway, commenced construction in June 2006 and is due for completion by Q3 2008.

Two other projects will continue the N6 as dual carriageway as far as Galway. These are Ballinasloe to Athlone and Galway to East Ballinasloe. The former scheme, providing 20 km of high quality dual carriageway connecting to the western end of the Athlone bypass, is in planning as of February 2007. The latter scheme is due to commence in 2007. The Galway to Ballinasloe scheme is a public private partnership (PPP) project, meaning some or all of the costs of construction are from private expenditure, and the finished road scheme will be subject to a toll. The project will run from directly east of Galway to east of Ballinasloe, with 56 km of high quality dual carriageway to be built. The estimated completion date is 2010.

An outer bypass of Galway is in planning, involving 17 km of dual carriageway extending the N6 around the north of the city. As of February 2007 this scheme is proceeding through EIS/CPO stages.


[1] Traffic Signs Manual, Chapter 2, Appendix 2, Table A2.2 - Terminal Destinations for National Routes : National Primary Routes, Dept. of Environment, 1994.


S.I. No. 187 of 2006 - Roads Act 1993 (Classification of National Roads) Order 2006 [PDF - 353 kB], Dept. of Transport website, accessed 25 Oct 2006.

Cullen turns sod on €230m Kinnegad/Kilbeggan Bypass, Dept. of Transport website, accessed 21 Feb 2007.

Seanad Éireann, Vol 135, 7 Apr 1993, Roads Bill, 1991: Second Stage, Parliamentary Debates, Oireachtas Debates website, accessed 21 Feb 2007.

Dáil Éireann, Vol 401, 10 Jul 1990, Written Answers - Athlone By-Pass, Parliamentary Debates, Oireachtas Debates website, accessed 21 Feb 2007.

Goodbye To Another Major Bottleneck As Transport Minister Martin Cullen Opens Loughrea Bypass, Press Release, Dept. of Transport website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Roads to the West, Institute of Engineers of Ireland, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Scheme Activity 2007, NRA website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Cullen turns sod on €230m Kinnegad/Kilbeggan Bypass, Press Release, Dept. of Transport website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Minister Cullen Turns Sod on N6 Kilbeggan to Athlone Phase 2, Press Release, NRA website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Major National Road Schemes in Planning, NRA website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Appendix 1 National Road Projects to Start in 2007; National Roads Programme for 2007 [PDF - 32.7 kB], NRA website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Proposed N6 Galway City Outer Bypass, Galway City Council website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.


N6 Loughrea Bypass, official website, Galway County Council, accessed 25 Feb 2007,

N6 Loughrea Bypass, Maps, Galway County Council website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

Map of N6 Kinnegad/Athlone Phase 1 (Kinnegad/Kilbeggan) [PDF - 215 kB], NRA website, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

N6 Ballinasloe to Athlone Dual Carriageway, project website, Roscommon County Council, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

N6 Galway to Ballinasloe, project website, Galway County Council, accessed 25 Feb 2007.

© Copyright 2007 Conal Watterson
(except where otherwise noted).

Last updated: 25 February 2007.