Electricity in Ireland pre-ESB

Our recently launched interactive map of Ireland captures how and when over 1,300 Irish towns, villages and parishes were connected to the national grid.

It also records the names and locations of roughly 180 local companies who commercially supplied electricity in Ireland before the establishment of ESB in 1927.

Click here for more information on the data used to create this map.

‘The first 100 years of electricity supply’

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a special feature article entitled ‘Dublin’s Electricity Supply – The Years before the ESB’, printed in the November 1981 issue of ESB’s marketing magazine Prospect, which outlines the widespread adoption of electricity for domestic and commercial use from its first invention in 1831. The article explores the rise of electricity in Dublin from 1880, explaining in more detail how local electricity suppliers interacted with their customers before they were acquired by ESB.

You can read the full article here (downloads as PDF).

Electrical catalogue, 1911

The article includes a souvenir catalogue originally published by the Electricity Supply Committee of the Dublin Corporation in 1911:

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It also contains a number of electrical facts and historical advertisements:

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Other historical articles in Prospect

The story of life in Ireland before widespread electricity featured in a number of other issues of Prospect magazine. The May 1975 printed an article on the history of electric cars, while the July 1974 issue of Prospect also featured an article about a range of early electrical appliances on display at the British Science Museum, including everything from heaters and washing machines, to automatic tea-making machines. You can read the full article here (downloads as PDF).

click on any image to start slideshow

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