Connecting Offaly to the national grid

Electricity in the county before ESB

Offaly had electricity before the establishment of ESB in 1927. ESB’s annual reports record 6 local electricity suppliers in the county — that means 6 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.

Offaly’s 6 local electricity providers were as follows:

  • Birr Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. supplied electricity in Birr and Crinkhill before 1927. It supplied 342 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 596 in 1947, before the supply was acquired by ESB around 1947—1948.
  • Tullamore Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. It supplied 221 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 240 in 1930, when it was acquired by ESB.
  • R Perry and Co. Ltd. supplied electricity in Belmont before 1927. It supplied 1 home or business in 1929, rising to 29 in 1956, before the supply was acquired by ESB around 1956—1957.
  • The Town Commissioners in Edenderry supplied electricity before 1927. The number of homes and businesses they supplied is unrecorded, and it was acquired by ESB in June 1928.
  • MP O’Brien ran the Universal Providing Stores, also known as the Electric Light Co. Ltd. in Edenderry, before 1927. He supplied 6 homes and businesses in 1929, when it was acquired by ESB.
  • The town of Clonsast was supplied by the Portarlington Electricity Supply Co. Ltd., which was in operation before 1927. It supplied 186 homes and businesses in 1929, and was acquired by ESB in September 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, 14 towns and villages across Offaly were directly supplied by the Shannon Scheme:

  • Balinagar, 1939—1940
  • Banagher, 1930
  • Birr, 1947—1948
  • Clara, 1930
  • Cloghan, 1935—1936
  • Clonsast, 1931
  • Crinkill, 1947—1948
  • Daingean, 1938—1939
  • Edenderry, 1930
  • Ferbane, 1930
  • Frankford, 1937—1938
  • Kilcormac, 1937—1938
  • Moneygall, 1953—1954
  • Tullamore, 1931—1932

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, Offaly was divided into 27 rural areas. More details on each of these areas is available here.

Generation stations

Since 1927, 3 generating stations have been built in Offaly. Click the links below to read more about each station.

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