In an effort to promote Ireland as a self-drive tourist destination, the Irish Roads Authority has announced that the M6 linking Dublin and Galway will be switched from a left-hand-drive motorway to a right-hand-drive highway in early June.
The 200 km route serves as a major gateway for those traveling to the country’s west coast, and officials expect the change to encourage more visitors from North America and mainland Europe to make the journey.
“Tourists are afraid of driving on the wrong side of the road,” said Niall Gibbons, chief executive for Tourism Ireland. “This change will make it easier and safer for them to travel across the country.”
More than 1,200 roadsigns will be replaced and sixteen crossover lanes will be installed to complete the adjustment. Fergus Moone of the Irish Roads Authority said, “With these changes, you can expect the M6 to rank among the world’s most popular driving routes.”
Ring of Kerry Next
Plans are already underway for a similar lanes shift in County Kerry in Ireland’s Southwest. To mark the right-hand-drive switch, officials intend to change the name of the “Ring of Kerry” to “Kerry’s Emerald Loop.”
“We’ll have reprint a lot of brochures, but we think the new, modern name will attract new visitors, especially those named Kerry, Kerri, and Carrie.”
The M6 changeover is the largest new roads project in Ireland since severe budget cuts halted plans to build a state-of-the-art suspension bridge to connect Ireland with Scotland.