A55 Monagh Bypass, Belfast
Provides a direct link from the M1 motorway (via Kennedy Way) around to the suburbs of the upper Springfield and Ballymurphy.
Total Length
1km / 0.6 miles
See below for photos.
See Also

General area map

West Belfast has done fairly well in terms of major roads, being home to the only part of the Belfast Urban Motorway that was ever built (the Westlink), as well as the M1 motorway, the Old Golf Course Road towards Poleglass and, of course, the Monagh Bypass. It is also home to some of the most congested roads in the city, in particular the Falls Road and Glen Road. As west Belfast has grown more and more, so the need for improved roads has become apparent. The Monagh Bypass was part of this strategy.

I am unsure as to when the road opened; however it is clear that it was never completed. At its northern end the road suddenly reduces to two-lane single-carriageway and turns sharply to the right to join the existing Springfield Road. It seems clear that there was a plan to extend it further, possibly to Ballygomartin Road. This would be difficult because the Monagh Bypass is already quite far into the Belfast Hills and the topography is increasingly slopey here.

In the minutes of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 30 April 2001, MLA Joe Hendron says "Close to the mountains is the Monagh bypass, which is really a motorway. If you asked people or senior civil servants today why the Monagh bypass suddenly stopped at the mountainside — that is going back some years ago — many people would say that it is just as well, because the mountains are still there. However, there were plans to build a motorway cutting right through there and to save the hills all around it. That would have been a place of great beauty. I do not make the argument for motorways; I simply say that decisions were taken to build a motorway, and then all of a sudden it was stopped. It is difficult to find out precisely why that happened." While the use of the word "motorway" is probably mistaken, it does seem that there was a plan to build a much more extensive dual-carriageway here. There are no current plans to extend it.

The Monagh Bypass forms part of the A55 Outer Ring, of which there is another much longer section of dual-carriageway in the east of the city.


Travelling south on the Monagh Bypass, towards Kennedy Way. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]

At its top end, the Monagh Bypass ends abruptly here where it reduces to one lane in each direction, and turns sharply right to become the Springfield Road. The area where the road would have continued is now an Irish Traveller camp site. [Photo by Wesley Johnston]