Connecting the Islands

We are currently researching electricity connections to Ireland’s islands. We will continue to add connection dates to our database as we gather more information. If you have information on a particular island that you would like to share, please contact

The information below provides an overview of the supply of electricity to Ireland’s islands.

1940s – 1960s
A number of  islands close to the mainland were connected as part of the Rural Electrificiation Scheme including Arranmore and Achill.

During the 1970s there were five Gaeltacht Islands – the three Aran Islands, Cape Clear and Tory island supplied with diesel generators. These were funded by the Department of Gaeltacht and run and maintained by local island cooperatives.

ESB acted only as contractors/consultants in the installation and maintenance of these generators.

Under The Electricity Supply Act 1976 (Final phase of Rural Electrification) some islands qualified for connection to the grid including Dursey (1979) and Inisbiggle (1978).

Late 1970s – early 1980s
A requests for supply to three more islands, Inisturk, Clare Island and Inishbofin were made by the government who believed supply should be available to these islands at the same standard and rate as mainland customers. ESB looked into costings for connections to the mainland grid but it was not feasible at this time.

Under a new Government directive, ESB took control of the supply of the eight main islands listed above. They worked in association with the island co-operatives and continued to maintain the diesel generators.

1990s – 2000s
Improved technology and European funding allowed a number of islands who previously had no ESB supply and many of those who had ESB Generators to receive connection to mainland grid via submarine cable connections.


ESB extending supply to Inishbofin and Clare Island, 1998

Click on the articles below to read more about how ESB brought Power to Ireland’s Islands.

‘Our Contribution to the Islands’ (Electric Mail, 75th Anniversary Edition, 2002)

‘Our Islands’ (REO News, December 1955)

Aran Islands, Co. Galway
‘Electricity Has Come to Inisheer Island’ (Electric Mail, January 1975)

‘ESB Men Build the Networks for Inishmore’ (Electric Mail, June 1975)

‘Minister Switches on Island’s Electricity Scheme’ (Electric Mail, December 1976)

‘Aran Islands Go Electric’, (Electric Mail, January 1998)

Arranmore, Co. Donegal
‘Staff Complete Laying of New Cable to Arranmore Island’ (Electric Mail, September 1982)

Cape Clear, Co. Cork
‘Cape Clear Island Electricity Scheme is Switched-On’ (Electric Mail, December 1971)

Clare Island, Co. Mayo
‘New Era for Inisbofin and Clare Island’ (article Electric Mail, July 1998)

‘Clare Island and Inishbofin, off the Mayo coast, are the latest off shore islands to be connected to the National Grid’ (Electric Mail, August/September 1998)

‘Silent night, bright lights on Clare Island’ (Electric Mail, January 1999)

Coney Island, Co. Sligo
‘Coney Island to get Electricity 50 Years After Rural Electrification’ (Electric Mail, December 1999)

‘ESB Switch on Coney Island’ (Electric Mail, January 2000)

Inishbofin, Co. Galway
‘New Era for Inisbofin and Clare Island’ (Electric Mail, July 1998)

‘Clare Island and Inishbofin, off the Mayo coast, are the latest off shore islands to be connected to the National Grid’ (Electric Mail, August/September 1998)

Inishfree, Co. Donegal
‘Celebration of Light as Electricity Arrives on Inishfree Island’ (Electric Mail, October 2000)

Inis Treabhair, Co. Galway
‘Let There Be Light’, (Electric Mail, September 2001)

Inishturk, Co. Mayo
‘The Last Great Switch-On, Inishturk gets the light’ (Electric Mail, July August 1987)

Spike Island, Co. Cork
‘More Power to Spike Island’ (Electric Mail, March 1983)

Valentia, Co. Kerry
‘Valentia Link’ (ESB Journal, November 1959)