Connecting Ireland to the National Grid 1927—1978: Note on sources & explanation of terms.

We provide below an explanation of the field Information displayed on our map/database and where it was sourced from.

Location:

Location refers to either a city, town, suburb, village, ESB rural area, island* or ESB generation station connected to the grid between 1927 and 1978.

County:

The county of the above location.
Note, a small number of ESB rural areas extend into more than one county. eg Ticknock rural area had homes in Co Dublin and Co Wicklow.

Connected to Grid:

This shows the year the location was connected to ESB’s national grid.
Note: if a town had electricity before ESB (see below) then ESB would have had to continue to run the local system and upgrade it before connecting it to the grid.  This meant that often such towns were connected to the grid a year or so after other nearby towns previously with no electricity.

For locations connected by the national Shannon Scheme the information was sourced from ESB’s Annual Reports. This information is either contained in the main body of the text, which periodically lists the number of towns connected in any given year, or in appendices listing the ‘Number of Consumers’ in any given year. The first of this type of appendix appears in the report for the year ending 31st March 1931. The date a town was connected to the grid is taken as either: the exact month and year indicated in the annual report, i.e. August 1929; a date range of a year, i.e. 1929—1930, where the town is recorded as being connected as of 31st March 1930; or the year the town first appears in the appendices listing consumer numbers. Where a consumer number is listed as ‘1’ for a given year, i.e. 1940, and then makes a significant jump in volume, i.e. to ‘100’ in 1941, the date of connection is taken as 1941, as this is the year the majority of the town’s population received supply.

For those locations connected to the grid since 1947  by the Rural Electrification Scheme the year of first connection is sourced from ESB’s REO News magazine and/or Annual Reports.

Scheme/Type:

This shows which ESB scheme first connected the location. Urban areas were typically connected by the Shannon Scheme and the rural areas by the Rural Electrification Scheme.
This field can also be used to filter and show Generation Stations and Islands. (* We’ve included details on islands even though most were not connected to the grid until well after the 1970s)

Electricity Before ESB?

Was someone commercially selling electricity in this location before ESB?

If answer is Yes then we provide whatever information we have on the previous supplier.

Information relating to local electricity suppliers in Ireland before the establishment of ESB in 1927 is based on information gathered in the appendices to ESB’s Annual Reports. These appendices generally record the name and address of the local supplier, the number of homes and businesses it served, and in some cases, the unit cost of the electricity provided. Early appendices record the date individual suppliers were acquired by ESB, but for the most part, this information is spread throughout the main body of the text in the reports 1929—1966.

Appendix III to the annual report for the year ending 31st March 1929 is the first comprehensive list of this kind published in the annual reports, and its format is replicated in subsequent reports until 1960. These appendices record only those individuals or companies who had permits to commercially supply electricity to 3 or more homes and businesses in their local area. If a local company supplied electricity before ESB was established, it is listed in Appendix III of the 1929 report, but does not record when the supply was first established. Similarly, these appendices do not record local suppliers who: supplied less than 3 homes or businesses; operated ‘unofficially’, i.e. without a permit; provided electricity purely for their own consumption, i.e. using a diesel generator; or went out of business prior to the establishment of ESB in 1927. Archival sources relating to the date of establishment of these pre-ESB suppliers, if they survive, are most likely to be found in local county archives services, or alternatively mentioned incidentally in local or national newspapers. ESB Archives does not hold material relating to local electricity suppliers beyond what is already contained in the company’s annual reports, all of which are available to download and search online free of charge here.

In relation to ESB Archives’ map, local suppliers which existed before 1927 was established are given a start date of ‘before ESB’, while the start date of local suppliers which were set up after ESB was established is taken as the first time that supplier appears in the appendices to the annual reports as a permitted undertaking. Likewise, the date each supplier was acquired by ESB is taken as either: the exact month and year indicated in the annual report, i.e. August 1929; a date range of a year, i.e. 1929—1930, where the supplier is recorded as being acquired as of 31st March 1930; or the year the supplier last appears in the appendices to the annual reports.

Homes:

Only available for Rural Electrification connections. Shows the number of homes connected in this location by the first phase of Rural Electrification as reported in ESB’s internal staff magazine REO News.

Poles:

Only available for Rural Electrification connections. Shows the number of poles used in this location by the first phase of Rural Electrification as reported in ESB’s internal staff magazine REO News.

Cable:

Only available for Rural Electrification connections. Shows the km of cable used to connect all homes in this location by the first phase of Rural Electrification as reported in ESB’s internal staff magazine REO News.

Street Lamps:

Information relating to the towns with electric public lighting contracts is based on the appendices to ESB’s annual reports for the years 1931—1933. These appendices list the number and total wattage of lamps in individual towns. They also detail the ‘normal lighting hours’ of each town, as well as the number of units consumed in any given year.

Population:

Only available for towns/villages connected by National Shannon Scheme. Sourced from tables found in ESB’s annual reports. Population shown is from most recent census at time of towns connection to grid.

We want to hear from you!

This project in a work is progress. We will add to (or correct) our database records if further information comes to light. If you have any further information, photographs or know of any other useful sources relating to how Ireland was electrified etc., please contact us at esbarchives@esb.ie.

*

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.