The 2023 National Ploughing Championships get underway tomorrow, Tuesday, September 19 in Ratheniska, and An Garda Síochána have detailed their traffic management plan.
Over 200,000 people a expected to descend on the village, so traffic is expected to be an absolute nightmare once again.
The Garda traffic plan has six colour-coded routes as follows:
- Yellow – Traffic from southeast (Carlow)
- Purple – Traffic from east and north / (Dublin)
- Grey – Traffic from southeast / (Kilkenny)
- Green – Traffic from west / northwest (Galway)
- Brown – Traffic from southwest (Limerick/Kerry)
- Blue – Traffic from South (Cork)
Gardaí are requesting that all road users avoid the N80 Stradbally, and all approach roads to Ratheniska village, from 6am Tuesday until 8pm Thursday.
Those travelling on these days are urged to allow additional time journey time.
Drivers on the yellow route will travel through Simmons Mill Crossroads on the N80 and continue towards Stradbally via the Windy Gap.
At Court Square, Stradbally, traffic will turn left on the L3857 (Timahoe Road) and go to Timogue Crossroads where it will turn right onto the L7835 (one-way system).
Traffic will then proceed to parking beside the event grounds (yellow car parks on the left of the L7835).
For traffic on the purple route, patrons will exit the M7 at junction 15, and proceed left on to the L3930 where it will travel to Vicarstown.
In Vicarstown, it will turn right onto the R427 and travel to Stradbally, where traffic will turn right onto the N80 and then turn left at Abels Corner back onto the R427.
Traffic will proceed to parking beside the event grounds (purple car parks on the left and right of the R427).
Traffic on the grey route will take the N78 through Castlecomer before turning left at Newtown crossroads and continuing along the R430 to The Swan.
Just outside The Swan village, traffic will turn right onto the R426 and continue to Timahoe village and continue through Timahoe village on the R426 towards Money Cross.
At Loughteague Lane, traffic will turn right onto the L78354 (grey car park on the right of the R427)
For the green route, traffic will move west on the N80 towards Mountmellick town, and will take a left onto the L20972 at Bay Road.
At Kennels Cross, traffic will turn right onto the R419 and travel on to the R445 (old Dublin road), turning right and proceeding to Portlaoise.
In Kilminchy, Portlaoise, traffic will turn left and then turn right at Rathbrennan onto the R425, travelling towards Bloomfield Cross.
At Bloomfield Cross, traffic will turn left onto the N80 and proceed to Dysart, where it will turn right onto a one-way system along the L6772 as far as Ratheniska village (green car park just beside the event grounds).
The brown route will take patrons on the M7 to exit at junction 17 Togher/Portlaoise, where traffic will proceed left onto the N77 towards Portlaoise town.
Traffic will be diverted right at Meelick onto the L6310 where it will turn right onto the R426 and onto Sheffield Cross.
At Sheffield Cross, traffic will turn right again and proceed onto Money Cross to parking beside the event grounds.
Traffic travelling northbound on the R445, through Mountrath, will be diverted back onto the M7 at junction 18 where it will proceed to parking with the rest of the traffic on the brown route (brown car park on the left of the R426, just beside the event grounds at Ratheniska).
Traffic on the blue route will exit the M8 at junction 4 for Johnstown/Urlingford, proceeding onto the R439 (old N8), where it will travel to Durrow.
From Durrow, traffic will continue along the N77 to Abbeyleix, then turn right onto the R425 to Ballyroan village.
From Ballyroan, traffic will continue to Cashel Cross, bearing right onto the R427 to Money Cross and will proceed to parking beside the event grounds (blue car parks on the left and right of the R427).