Oldtown switches on again

The village hall in Oldtown with event organiser Maura Norton

The village hall in Oldtown with one of the event organisers Maura Norton

On the night of 25th January, 2017 a packed audience at Oldtown village hall in North Co Dublin participated in a reenactment of the first rural electrification switch on ceremony which took place in the same venue back in January 1947.

oldtown-handshake

Charlie Rooney (right) who also attended the original switch on in Jan 1947 shakes hands with ESB retired staff member Christy McBride. Christy, originally from Oldtown, worked with ESB for 47 years. On left is Peter Rooney, son of Charlie.

The hall was in darkness except for the light coming from a handful of oil lamps as Oldtown resident Charlie Rooney, who attended the original ceremony 70 years ago, flicked the switch to light up the charming corrugated hall.

oldtown-watching-more-power

Audience enjoying our movie “More Power to the Farmer”

ESB Archives were delighted to be part of this wonderful night and to get to hear so many stories from the area.  We made a presentation telling the story of rural electrification using local maps, photos and stories from our collections and revealed how the original switch on was covered in the national press back in 1947.

newspaper-clips

Just like on that historic January night of 1947 we also showed a short feature film.  “More Power to the Farmer” was a promotional film produced by ESB in the 1950s and was shot in the area. It featured landmarks and  people known to many members of the audience including the Donnelly farm in Kilsallaghan where the first pole was erected in November 1946.  One member of the audience, Patricia Lynam, actually appeared in the film.

patricia lynam jan 2017

Patricia Lynam who appeared in the movie shown on the night, ESB’s 1950s ‘More Power to the Farmer’

Mayor of Fingal, Darragh Butler, Charlie Rooney & Una O'Brien

Mayor of Fingal, Darragh Butler, Charlie Rooney & Una O’Brien

Mayor of Fingal, Darragh Butler attended and made a short speech complimenting the Rolestown / Oldtown Historical Society on organising the evening and in particular the MC for the night Una O’Brien and event organiser Maura Norton.

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