Stations_Ardnacrusha aerial


Station: Ardnacrusha
County: Clare
Fuel type: Hydro
Capacity: 86MW
Status: Active
Commissioned: 1929
Upgraded: 1934


Ardnacrusha has the distinction of being ESB’s first hydro station. It is also Ireland’s largest river hydroelectric scheme and operates on a purpose-built canal connected to the Shannon.

Ardnacrusha was a ground-breaking development in 1929 and unique in that the national grid (110kV) was constructed at the same time. For these reasons, it was a model for large scale electrification schemes worldwide. At the time, the 86 MW capacity was enough to meet the electricity demands of the whole country. Today, Ardnacrusha represents around 2% of our total installed capacity.

It utilises three Vertical-Shaft Francis Generators (Units 1, 2 and 3 – 1929) and one Kaplan Turbine Generator (Unit 4, 1934). Water is delivered to the turbines by four large, cylindrical steel structures known as penstocks. Each penstock is 41m long, 6m in diameter and can deliver around 100 tonnes of water per second.

Ardnacrusha Station featured on Atlantic Tales,  Clare FM radio documentary, broadcast on 4th Sept 2022. Pat Flynn visited the station to find out all about its fascinating history.  The programme includes interviews with station manager, Brendan Shine, colleague Dermot Finnan and ESB Senior Archivist, Tanya Keyes.

Click the images below for more information relating to the operation of the Shannon Scheme, including both Ardnacrusha and the Parteen Weir.


Ardnacrusha PR Pamphlet, 1970s

Ardnacrusha PR Pamphlet, 1980s

Ardnacrusha PR Pamphlet, 1980s

Parteen Weir_1980s

Parteen Weir Pamphlet, 1980s



Ardnacrusha Fisheries and Weir (from “A Heritage Inventory of ESB Buildings in Ireland” )