Want to do some holiday driving with the kids? The Irish countryside offers you a massive expanse of the world to explore, from the rocky coasts to the gentle valleys. That said, preparing for a road trip isn’t always easy. You have to keep road safety in mind so that you can get from Point A to Point B with as much ease as possible.

When planning your trip beware that there are some roads in Ireland that are more dangerous than others. If you’re going to be passing over any of these motorways, make sure that you’ve got safe driving on your mind.

dangerous irish roads

Ballina to Dromore West Road

The drive from Ballina to Dromore West Road is a beautiful one. It’s not the environment here that’ll bring you trouble on your road trips though. Instead, it’s the state of the road. As of 2008, the European Road Assessment Programme declared, in coordination with the Minister for Transportation, that the stretch of road between Ballina and Dromore West Road was one of the least safe passages in Ireland.

This motorway sees more accidents than most roads throughout Ireland to the point where drivers are still asked to drive down it with utmost caution. Although the road has since been repaired and reassessed since the 2008 declaration, you’ll want to stay focused if you happen to find yourself on it.

The Cliffs of Moher

For a change of view, you might want to consider taking your family down to the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare. This west coast drive allows you sweeping views of the ocean, not to mention an expansive glimpse at Ireland’s coastal countryside.

That said, the weather in this area is known to cause drivers some trouble. Combine the stiff sea air with some of the troubles that the roadway itself has seen, and you may find that this path is one to avoid - or at least one to take extra precautions on while driving.

dangerous roads in ireland

M1 to the Co Louth Border

Ireland’s national primary road, the N1, is actually made up of most of the M1 motorway. This road guides travellers between Dublin and eastern Belfastalong and it extends down into the rest of the UK as part of the European route E01.

In short, this road sees a significant amount of traffic on a daily basis. While the road conditions will vary with the seasons, it’s the traffic that presents the real threat. Keep your eyes peeled while using this motorway. While it makes for an engaging, cross-country road trip, it will also expose you to drivers who may have a different understanding of roadway law than you.

Gap of Dunloe

While urban motorways may be more inclined towards accidents, Ireland’s rural roads don’t treat their drivers with any more sympathy. Take, for example, the stretch of road that travels through the Gap of Dunloe. This road rests 731 metres above sea level and guides drivers through the Macgillycuddy Reeks. For the unenlightened, the Macgillycuddy Reeks make up Ireland’s most significant mountain range.

gap of dunloe

The environment isn’t the only thing that’ll challenge drivers on their journey through the Gap of Dunloe. The views in this area are captivating, drawing tourists from all around the world out of Ireland’s larger cities. As a result, local drivers looking to go on a road trip will have to contest not only with their fear of heights but with the multiple tour buses that navigate this same motorway.

N5 Longford to Cloonshannagh

The N5 makes up Ireland’s most populated motorway. It connects the far-flung Longford with Westport, some 132 kilometres across the country. It is, to a point, the popularity of this road that makes it one of the most dangerous roads in Ireland. The traffic you’ll have to contest with while road tripping down this motorway requires you to stay focused.

Not only that, but the condition of the road has been in flux since the early 2000s. While the road has been resurfaced, you’ll often find construction zones and rough areas limiting your ability to drive as a steady clip. However, if you take caution in these areas to ensure your safety on the road, you’ll be just fine.

irish roads

N30 from Enniscorthy to Jamestown

Much the same can be said for the N30, which runs between the cities of Enniscorthy and Jamestown. Like the N5, this motorway sees its fair share of Irish traffic. Combine that popularity with the official 350 kilometres of high risk sections reported between 2002 and 2006, and you can see why the motorway developed its dangerous reputation.

Like the N5, though, the N30 has seen a reasonable amount of reconstruction over the past decade. As you drive down it now, you can enjoy the sight of passing havens. Just make sure you pay attention to the traffic around you. The road may have been reconstructed, but its popularity still makes it risky to drive on.

Using motorways in any country can be a little dangerous, depending on your familiarity with the area. If you’re going to head out on a road trip though, you need to ensure that you can be focused on longer drivers. It’s attention to the world around you that’ll keep you safe on some of the most dangerous roads in Ireland.