Today in Transportation History – 2009: The M6 Motorway Opens Up East-West Travel in Ireland

The M6 motorway was fully opened in the Republic of Ireland. This road, combined with the M4 motorway, serves as a key connection between the cities of Dublin and Galway. (Motorways constitute the highest category of roads in Ireland; the designation for these routes begins with the letter M and may include up to three digits.)

The M6 spans 92 miles (148 kilometers) from the town of Kinnegad to the outskirts of Galway, with M4 covering 38 miles (61 kilometers) between Dublin and Kinnegad. This merger of the two motorways to form a Dublin-Galway route became the first major interurban corridor directly linking two large cities in the Emerald Isle. M6 also has the distinction of being one of Ireland’s longest motorways.

Starting in 2005, the M6 was constructed in a total of five stages. The first segment, which covers 14 miles (22 kilometers) between Kinnegad and the village of Tyrrellspass, was opened in 2006. The final section, spanning 34 miles (56 kilometers) from the town of Ballinasloe to Galway’s outer limits, was finished several months ahead of schedule.

The opening ceremony for this remaining portion of the M6 took place in Ballinasloe at around eleven o’clock on the morning of December 18, 2009. Those in attendance included Noel Dempsey, minister for transport; and Peter Malone, chairman of the National Roads Authority (since merged with the Railway Procurement Agency to form Transport Infrastructure Ireland). It was Dempsey who cut the ribbon formally inaugurating the final part of the M6.

For more information on the M6 motorway, please check out and the 8 December 2009 Connacht Tribune article “Motorway to open next week – 6 months early” at

Information on Ireland’s broader network of motorways is available at

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