Usual 30-minute commute left me in freezing gridlock for hours

Eimear Cotter

The journey from Blanchardstown to Drogheda normally takes me 30 minutes but last night it took me two-and-a-quarter hours.

As I made my regular trip home, I was reminded of the scenes from Independence Day when all the people are queuing to leave the big cities in their droves.

I left Blanchardstown Shopping centre car park at 6.05pm and didn't arrive home to Drogheda until 8.20.


Blanchardstown was busy enough. There were a lot of cars on the road but, in fairness, the council had been out gritting the roads and they were clear of snow.

It took longer than usual to get on the M50 but once I got there it was fine. There was no snow on the road and the traffic was moving.

Listening to the radio, I started to wonder why everyone was making such a fuss about the delays in getting home. At 6.40, I took the M1 turnoff on the M50. Almost immediately, there was a tailback with the cars queuing to get onto the M1.

I crawled through the roadworks to Swords.

By about 7.20 or so, I was sitting on the M1, hardly moving at all. The snow shower had turned into a blizzard and the wind was howling around the car. It felt like the end of the world. It was a nightmare.

At this point, I really needed to go to the toilet and it was all I could think of for the whole journey home.

I also had some sweets in the boot and I was trying to decide whether to get out of the car to get them, but it was too cold.

I got to the M1 toll plaza at 7.50. I had heard on the radio that there was an hour-and-a-half tailback to Julianstown so I decided to stay on the M1 and go through the toll plaza.


It took me 30 minutes to get to the toll plaza from the Julianstown turn-off on the M1, something like three or four kilometres.

At the toll plaza there were cars, lorries, jeeps and trucks spread across the road seven or eight wide, all queuing to get through.

I started to wonder where all the gritting machines were.

After queuing for about 15 minutes, crawling to the toll plaza, I finally got through just after 8pm.