Book launch of ‘Then there was light’

… this was a special experience in their lives and in their country’s history – it was something they would never forget.

Edited by PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney (Ballpoint Press, 2016)

Edited by PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney (Ballpoint Press, 2016)

Denis Naughten TD Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment was on site at ESB’s stand (No. 293) at this year’s Ploughing Championships to launch the book ‘Then There Was Light’, a unique collection of stories from a wide range of contributors recalling their memories and experiences of the Rural Electrification Scheme.

‘Then There Was Light’ charts one of the defining projects that modernised Ireland. Edited by PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney and published by Ballpoint Press, it presents the eyewitness accounts of both ESB employees and the general public, as they recall the suspicions, worries and wonder surrounding the bringing of the light.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Naughten stated:

This book is eminently readable and hugely enjoyable. The wide variety of stories from the sixty or so diverse contributors form a social record of both the events and the people behind the scheme that shaped modern Ireland. This book highlights with great colour the perspiration and inspiration behind this hugely significant project for rural Ireland, from which we can draw many lessons as we face future challenges.

Co-Editors PJ Cunningham and Dr Joe Kearney note their pleasure in documenting the events and occurrences surrounding the electrification of rural Ireland that may otherwise have been lost for future generations.

A documentary containing stories from the book and other interviews is due to air on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday, 5 November 2016 – exactly 70 years to the day since the first pole was erected in the Rural Electrification Scheme.

The book is for sale online at and available on Kindle devices worldwide.