Connecting Cork to the national grid

Electricity in the county before ESB

Cork had electricity before the establishment of ESB in 1927. ESB’s annual reports record 20 local electricity suppliers in the county — that means 20 individuals or companies who had permits to commercially supply electricity to 3 or more homes and businesses in their local area. The reports do not record when each local supplier was first established, merely the number of consumers they supplied, as well as the year the supplier was acquired by ESB.

Cork’s 20 local electricity providers were as follows:

  • Bandon Milling and Electric Lighting Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 415 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 580 in 1939, before being acquired by ESB around 1939—1940.
  • Bantry Electric Light Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 330 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 381 in 1937, before being until acquired by ESB around 1937—1938.
  • St Ann’s Hill Hydropathic Co. Ltd., Blarney, was in operation before 1927. It supplied 3 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 9 in 1949, before being acquired by ESB around 1949—1950.
  • Buttevant Electricity Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 132 homes and businesses by March 1929, and was acquired by ESB in June 1929.
  • Patrick O’Connell supplied electricity in Carrigtwohill before 1927. He supplied 3 homes and businesses in 1931, and was acquired by ESB around 1938—1939.
  • Charleville Electricity Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 166 homes and businesses by March 1929, and was acquired by ESB in November 1929.
  • Clonakilty Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 270 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 285 in 1930, before being acquired by ESB in January 1931.
  • Cobh Electricity Supply Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 467 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 493 by 1930, when it was acquired by ESB.
  • Cork Electric Supply Co. Ltd. was in operation in Cork City before 1927. It supplied 4,225 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 5,198 by March 1930, before being acquired by ESB in April 1930.
  • Doneraile Saw Mills Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 63 homes and businesses in 1929 and was acquired by ESB around 1935—1936.
  • Dunmanway Electric Lighting Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 222 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 260 in 1936, before being acquired by ESB around 1936—1937.
  • Rev T Tobin at St Colman’s College supplied electricity in Fermoy before 1927. He supplied 7 homes and businesses in 1929, when his supply was acquired by ESB.
  • J O’Connor and Sons, Kanturk, were in operation before 1927. They supplied 2 homes and businesses in 1929, when their supply was acquired by ESB.
  • J O’Neill and Sons Ltd. at the Kinsale Electric Light Works were in operation before 1927. They supplied 160 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 178 by March 1930, and were acquired by ESB in June 1930.
  • Macroom Electric Light Co. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 154 homes and businesses in 1929, and was acquired by ESB around 1934—1935.
  • JD Russell at the Electric Light Works supplied electricity in Mitchelstown before 1927. He supplied 150 homes and businesses in 1920, and was acquired by ESB in July 1930.
  • Mrs S J Fitzgerald, Strand Street, supplied electricity in Passage West before 1927. She supplied 3 homes and businesses in 1929, before being acquired by ESB.
  • Skibbereen Gas and Electric Light Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 248 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 307 in 1937, when it was acquired by ESB.
  • Richard Farrell Ltd. at the Electric Saw and Corn Mills supplied electricity in Youghal before 1927. He supplied 3 homes and businesses in 1929, before being acquired by ESB.
  • Avon Oat Meal Mills, Youghal, was in operation before 1927. The number of homes and businesses it supplied is unrecorded, and was acquired by ESB around 1928—1929.

Shannon Scheme: connecting larger towns and villages to the national grid

The Shannon Scheme first began to generate electricity for the national grid in October 1929, and began to supply the larger cities, towns and villages of Ireland. From 1929, 62 cities, towns and villages across Cork were directly supplied by the Shannon Scheme:

  • Ballinacurra, November 1929
  • Ballineen, 1933—1934
  • Bandon, 1931—1932
  • Bantry, 1937—1938
  • Bishopstown, 1929—1930
  • Blarney, 1930
  • Boherbue, 1935—1936
  • Broadford, 1943—1944
  • Buttevant, 1930
  • Carrigaline, 1935—1936
  • Carrigtwohill, 1940—1941
  • Castlelyons, 1939—1940
  • Castlemartyr, 1935—1936
  • Castletownroche, 1936—1937
  • Charleville, 1930
  • Clonakilty, 1930—1931
  • Cobh, 1931—1932
  • Cork City, October 1930
  • Cloyne, November 1929
  • Courtmacsherry, 1937—1938
  • Crookstown, 1949—1941
  • Crosshaven, 1929—1930
  • Drimoleague, 1942—1943
  • Drinagh, 1936—1937
  • Dromahane, 1936—1937
  • Dromina, 1933—1934
  • Dromtariffe, 1936—1937
  • Doneraile, 1935—1936
  • Dunmanway, 1935—1936
  • Enniskeane, 1933—1934
  • Fermoy, 1929—1930
  • Freemount, 1951—1952
  • Glandore, 1937—1938
  • Glanmire, 1939—1940
  • Glanworth, 1937—1938
  • Glengariff, 1947—1948
  • Haulbowline, 1939—1940
  • Innishannon, 1937—1938
  • Kanturk, 1929—1930
  • Kildorrery, 1941—1942
  • Killeagh, 1941—1942
  • Kilworth, 1949—1950
  • Kinsale, February 1931
  • Leap, 1937—1938
  • Macroom, 1934—1935
  • Mallow, 1929—1930
  • Midleton, 1929—1930
  • Milford, 1943—1944
  • Millstreet, 1929—1930
  • Mitchelstown, December 1930
  • Mogeely, 1941—1942
  • Monkstown, 1929—1930
  • Newmarket, 1929—1930
  • Newtown, 1943—1944
  • Passage West, 1932—1933
  • Rathcormac, 1943—1944
  • Rosscarbery, 1949—1950
  • Skibbereen, 1937—1938
  • Timoleague, 1938—1939
  • Upper Aghada, 1937—1938
  • Whitegate, 1937—1938
  • Youghal, November 1929

For more information on the connection of these towns, for instance relating to the number of homes and businesses connected, see our connections map here.

Rural Electrification Scheme: connecting rural townlands and villages to the national grid

The Rural Electrification Scheme began in 1946, to bring electricity to Ireland’s rural areas, including smaller villages. During the roll-out of the scheme, Cork was divided into 92 rural areas. More details on each of these areas is available here.

Post-development: connecting the islands to the national grid

To date, 7 islands off the coast of Cork have been connected to the grid:

  • Bere Island, 1958
  • Cape Clear, 1996
  • Coney Island, 1999
  • Dursey Island, 1979
  • Haulbowline Island, around 1939
  • Long Island, 1960s—1980s
  • Whiddy Island, 1960s—1980s

For more information on the connection of these islands, see our connections map here.

Generation stations

Since 1927, 4 generating stations have been built in Cork. Click the links below to read more about each station.

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