The above image from the ESB Archives is the original map used to plan connection for rural areas in Louth
In an ongoing project charting the course ESB’s rollout of electricity across Ireland, between 1929 and 1978, ESB Archives have created an interactive map where users can find out when different parts of Louth and the rest of the country was connected to the national grid.
The resource charts the course of ESB’s rollout of electricity from its foundation during the Shannon Scheme construction when it was established in 1927, until 1978 when the last communities under the rural electrification scheme were connected.
According to the archives, Louth had electricity before the establishment of ESB in 1927. Four local electricity suppliers had permits to commercially supply electricity to 3 or more homes and businesses in their local area.
It does not show when each local supplier was first established, merely the number of consumers they supplied, as well as the year the supplier was acquired by ESB.
The archives shows that the four local electricity providers in Louth were as follows:
- Ardee Electric Co. Ltd. was in operation before 1927. The ESB Archives says it supplied 120 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 139 in 1936, when it was acquired by ESB.
- Carlingford Electricity Co. Ltd. was also in operation before 1927, supplying 44 homes and businesses in 1929, rising to 113 in 1950, when it was acquired by ESB.
- Dundalk Urban District Council, like the Ardee and Carlingford companies, was in operation before 1927, supplying 985 homes and businesses in 1929, and was acquired by ESB in March 1929.
- Smallwares Ltd. in Castlebellingham began to supply electricity in 1939, serving 14 consumers recorded by 1951, when it was acquired by ESB.
The smaller villages in Louth began to be connected to the national grid, a few years after the Rural Electrification Scheme began in 1946. During the roll-out of the scheme, Louth was divided into 14 rural areas. It is possible to find out a whole host of information on each rural area here.
This is a fascinating insight to one of the most important technological innovations to have impacted on people’s lives in Ireland in the 20th Century.