ESB celebrates St Patrick’s Day

A selection of some of our most successful St Patrick’s Day exhibits over the years.

Dublin, 1950  

One of the first ESB exhibits was in the industrial pageant at the St Patrick’s Day Parade during Rural Electrification. The display took the form of “four lorry-borne exhibits.” 

 “The display itself got first-class commendation from press and radio reports, and from the many small boys along the route, to whom the transformer and switchgear brought Buck Rogers to life.” (REO, March, 1950) 

Dublin, 1953 

“The parade organised by the National Agricultural and Industrial Development Association was of the usual successful standard. It was blessed with reasonably good weather and was watched by a considerable crowd of spectators all along the route.” (REO, March 1953) 

The ESB exhibit comprised of the two Tasker Trailers. On the roof of one trailer was mounted the ‘big Magic Tap’ which was spouting out water. The roof space on the second Trailer displayed a huge hammer. 

Tasker trailer, with magic tap
Tasker trailer, with magic tap  

Limerick, 1962 & 1963  

Having received the 2nd prize in the National entry in 1962, the Limerick District team pulled out all the stops for 1963 and won the National Entry in the St Patrick’s Day Parade.  

O’Connell Street, 2nd prize winner, Limerick, 1962,  

The exhibit from the year before showed an assembly of headgear, protection equipment and transformers, being operated by three white-helmeted linesmen. 

1963 exhibit

“The domestic scene was to go on the lower section of the float; the longitudinal sides were to be open for viewing from both sides, and the other ends were to resemble the gable ends of a house. The upper platform was to represent the exterior scene, depicting the electrical supply to the ” house”, and consisting of a sawn-off pole with transformer, cross-arm, and all the usual (and unusual) trimmings.” (ESBJ, April-May, 1963) 

Dublin, 1970 

The Faran 4, Tralee District Office floral float won first prize in the Festival of Kerry and was the ESB exhibit in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin.

ESB Rose of Tralee float, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, 1970 

Cork, 1971 

The ESB float for Cork City was awarded the Perpetual Silver cup for most original entry, 1971 

ESB float passing through Patrick Street

Dublin, 1972 

Over 50,000 people saw St Patrick’s Parade in Dublin, 1972 and ESB floats were featured in Movietone news coverage of the parade.  

“Spectators of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin will see Ireland’s longest single piece of transport equipment, the ESB’s Giant Road Transporter, which will carry the display in the parade. The transporter, which is used for carrying heavy pieces of electrical equipment, is 127ft long by 11′ 6″ wide, weighs 120 tons and can handle a pay load of 250 tons. It has 48 wheels, all hydraulically suspended and all of which are capable of turning to take up the turning circle the trailer is following.” (ESBJ, March 1972) 

ESB float passing GPO in O’Connell street, 1972

Waterford, 1988 

ESB’s first year participating in Waterford’s St Patrick’s Day parade resulted in very complimentary comment.  Seven members of staff spent hours sawing, hammering and painting to fully restore the ‘plugtop’ exhibit.

‘Plugtop’ exhibit

Mullingar, 1995

ESB won 2nd prize overall out of fifty entries at the Mullingar St Patrick’s Day Parade. The ESB theme was “Past and Present 1895/1995.”

Sligo 1999

ESB scooped the top prize at Sligo’s St Patrick’s Day Parade, with their entry based on the ‘Millennium Bug.’ The entry was awarded first prize in the Industrial and Commercial section. The float showed ‘bugs’ coming out of a giant PC being rounded up by bug catchers, made up of staff and their families in colourful costumes.

‘Millennium Bug,’ Sligo