Powering ahead in Ardnacrusha for 85 years

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

IRELAND was in uncertain times, as it is now, when Ardnacrusha Power Station was built said Taoiseach Enda Kenny at its 85th anniversary.

IRELAND was in uncertain times, as it is now, when Ardnacrusha Power Station was built said Taoiseach Enda Kenny at its 85th anniversary.

He was speaking at a special ceremony at Ardnacrusha Power station to mark the founding of the ESB.

Mr Kenny honoured two of his predecessors at the ceremony, W.T. Cosgrave and his son, Liam.

Liam Cosgrave was nine years of age when he accompanied his father W.T Cosgrave - President of the Executive Council in the first Free State government - to the original opening in 1929.

“W.T. Cosgrave was a true patriot that made the brave decision to harness the power of the Shannon to produce electricity for the Irish people. What a legacy they have left us, one that makes us justifiably proud as a nation and as a people.

“Ardnacrusha remains a symbol of the visionary thinking of these men and women and their passion for their country. Their determination was not to effect radical change but to be that radical change,” said Mr Kenny.

He described the opening on July 22, 1929 for the young Liam Cosgrave as a “big day for a small boy”.

Mr Cosgrave said it “means a lot” to be invited back.

His recollections of the day are that it was “very exciting” but the weather was very bad.

“It was a great occasion and it’s nice to be back. Ardnacrusha revolutionised industry and agriculture at the time and endured ever since and expanded.

“They are very kind to present me with a copy of a painting by Sean Keating,” said Mr Cosgrave.

Ardnacrusha was built at a cost of 5.2m old Irish pounds by the German company Siemens.

That figure represented almost one quarter of the entire annual budget of the new Irish government.

Construction work on the massive project, in which 5,000 people were employed, began in August 1925, and the ESB was established by the Government in August 1927.