Electric Generations, the Story of Electricity in the Irish Home

We are delighted to support a fascinating new exhibition Electric Generations coming soon to dlr Lexlcon, Dún Laoghaire, 2 October – 2 December 2017 and Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester, 8 March  – 31 May 2018. Electric Generations shows how the reception and understanding of electricity by different generations varied across the twentieth century, reflecting… Continue Reading


Happy 4th July to our American friends!

Happy 4th July to all our American friends! Did you know that on 21 October 1929, Franklin D Roosevelt, then Governor of New York and later 32nd President of the United States, wrote to EA Lawler, ESB and Ireland’s first Public Relations Officer, to express his interest in the ‘splendid’ Shannon Scheme? While the original… Continue Reading


Shannon Scheme cigarette cards

Check out a selection of our recently digitised series of 40 collectable ‘Shannon Electric Power Scheme‘ cigarette cards, dating from 1925-1929, issued by the Imperial Tobacco Company Ltd., WD & HO Wills. The front of the cards display various photographs, maps and technical drawings of the scheme, with detailed descriptions on the reverse. Click on… Continue Reading


ESB Books: The Shannon Scheme

Andy Bielenberg (ed.), The Shannon Scheme and the Electrification of the Irish Free State: An Inspirational Milestone (The Lilliput Press, 2002). ISBN: 1-845351-007-3 (cased) ISBN: 1-845351-008-1 (paper) Click the image on the left to download a PDF copy of the book. File exceeds 10MB so may take a few seconds to download. Synopsis The Shannon… Continue Reading


1920s

From early beginnings ESB realised that the education of the public as to the progress and possibilities of the Shannon Scheme was essential to its success. Following a visit to the United States where Thomas McLaughlin investigated the publicity systems of many of the big Public Utility Companies, he recommended that a Public Relations Department… Continue Reading


The story before the Shannon Scheme

In Ireland, street lighting on any scale was unheard of before the middle of the 17th century. People going out after dark carried their own lights. The first recorded public electricity supply scheme in Dublin was outside the Freeman’s Journal offices on Prince’s Street with the establishment of the Dublin Electric Light Company with a… Continue Reading


Public Relations

From early beginnings ESB realised that the education of the public as to the progress and possibilities of the Shannon Scheme were essential to its success. Following a visit to the United States where Thomas McLaughlin investigated the publicity systems of many utility companies, he recommended that a Public Relations Department should be established. On… Continue Reading


Working Life

The Shannon Scheme was the biggest engineering project in Europe of its time, demand for employment was high with workers flocking from all parts of Ireland and Scotland to seek employment. In September 1925 an advertisement appeared in the national press for 3000 unskilled workers for construction work at Ardnacrusha. Wages were set at thirty-two… Continue Reading


Thomas McLaughlin

Thomas McLaughlin, First Managing Director of ESB, 1896 – 1971 The Shannon Scheme is perhaps the most important industrial project ever completed in the Irish state and to this day it continues to make a significant contribution to the industrial, commercial and social development of the country. One of the driving forces behind the Scheme was… Continue Reading


Shannon Scheme – Video

Following the foundation of the Irish Free State It becomes clear that to progress industrially, Ireland would have to develop and use its natural resources. An Irish engineer, Dr. Thomas A. McLoughlin proposed damming the River Shannon and building an electric power station at Ardnacrusha, a few miles from Limerick, which would bring power to… Continue Reading