ESB’s Archives website now showcasing the development of electricity network from 1929 – 1977

  • Minister Denis Naughten launches updated interactive electrification map at 2017 Ploughing Championships, available at www.esbarchives.ie
  • Original connection dates available for when Irish towns, villages and parishes connected as part of the Shannon and Rural Electrification Schemes 

20 September 2017

To celebrate its 90th anniversary, ESB is showcasing the stories of when each town, village and parish in Ireland was connected to Ireland's electricity network.

Constructed in 1929, Ireland’s network was the first fully integrated (generation, transmission, distribution, marketing and sale) national electricity service in the world and has played a significant role in the development of the nation.

When ESB was established in 1927, only 45,000 homes had electricity, usually from a local authority or private electricity supplier. Electricity was expensive, with suppliers using various systems and different standards. By 1978, the Shannon Scheme (1929) and the Rural Electrification Scheme (1946) had connected over one million Irish homes and businesses to the ESB network. The new interactive feature can be accessed on www.esbarchives.ie

Speaking at the launch of the new addition to the ESB Archives website at the National Ploughing Championships this morning, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten comments: “This interactive map chronicles when each town, village and parish were connected to the ESB network, highlighting electricity’s transformative role in the building of modern Ireland. It is a window into our past. Fascinating data is provided around population, numbers of homes connected, public lighting, and previous local electricity suppliers. This rich tapestry of information brings to life Ireland’s electrification experience and will no doubt be a useful resource for organisations and individuals in every corner of the country with an interest in local history.”

ESB Networks Managing Director, Marguerite Sayers, who hosted Minister Naughten in the ESB Networks tent, says: Developing on the interactive Rural Electrification map first launched in 2016, ESB’s archivists have meticulously researched the company’s annual reports, completing over 1500 stories from both the Shannon and the Rural Electrification Schemes. This is a valuable interactive and educational tool which charts the course of ESB’s rollout of electricity from its foundation in the midst of the Shannon Scheme construction 90 years ago, until 1977 when the last communities under the rural electrification scheme were connected.”

The data is compiled from company records and ESB’s Archives would love to hear from people who have further photos, facts or stories of electricity in their locality. For further information visit esbarchives.ie; email esbarchives@esb.ie, follow @ESBArchives or phone + 353 1 6042146.

ENDS/