Rural Electrification

The Quiet Revolution Exhibition in association with the E.S.B.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Rural Electrification which began in November 1946 by the ESB.

This national programme was rolled out during the mid-twentieth century and such was its impact across the entire island it became known as the ‘Quiet Revolution’. Paddy Dowling from Linkardstown, Tinryland was one of the first eleven engineers recruited by the ESB and he was very heavily involved in the planning and coordination of this scheme. For this enormous work he was awarded the ‘Carlow Person of the 20th Century’ in 1999 by the Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society.

Carlow town had been to the fore of electricity generation since the late 19th century when on June 24th 1891 Milford Mills, Co. Carlow began generating electricity for Carlow Town using the power of the River Barrow on whose banks the mill is located. In the early 1890s the English based company Messrs J. E. H. Gordon & Co. Ltd. entered into an agreement with the Carlow Town Commission to supply electricity to Carlow town from the mill, owned by the Alexander Family.

Carlow County Museum and the ESB Archives have worked together over the past number of months to develop a special temporary exhibition marking this anniversary. The exhibition in the Museum will be opened until the end of the year and admission is free.

ESB First Pole
The erecting of the first pole in the Rural Electrification Scheme at Kilsallagh, Co. Dublin, November 1946. On the right is W.F Roe, Engineer in Charge and Carlow’s Paddy Dowling, Deputy Chief in Charge. Photo reproduced with the permission of the ESB Archives.


Carlow County Museum

College Street, Carlow Town. 059 9131554

September – May Opening Hours:

Mon- sat 10.00am – 4.30pm