11 August-ESB (Electricity Supply Board)

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) was established in Ireland under Electricity Supply Act of 1927. It was one of the first major industrial undertakings of the newly established Irish state. Its purpose was take charge of existing electrical schemes in Ireland and take responsibility for Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme then under construction. Engineers, Mr Paddy Dowling, Linkardstown, Tinryland County Carlow and Mr William F. Roe, 25 Patrick Street Kilkenny, were among its first eleven employees.

During the 19th century Irish scientists played a major role in the development of electricity. In 1884 Charles Parsons, whose family were from Birr County Offaly and who was educated at Trinity College Dublin invented the first steam turbine. His invention made cheap and plentiful electricity possible for the first time. Fr Nicholas Callan Professor of Physics at Maynooth College developed an electric motor which Siemens in Germany used as a basis for the production of a generator in 1886.

However despite these developments by 1922 the provision of electrical power in Ireland was confined to places such as Dublin and other major centres of population. Smaller urban areas and most of rural Ireland did not have the benefit of electricity. For instance Carlow town had its own electricity supply from 1891, whereas it would be several more years before nearby Kilkenny City would have a supply of electricity.

From 1922 the Irish Government adopted a progressive approach to the provision of electricity. As part of that policy Patrick McGilligan (Minister for Industry and Commerce), despite sustained opposition, established the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme. The scheme, which was proposed by Dr Thomas McLoughlin from Drogheda, involved damming the river Shannon and building a power station at Ardnacrusha. Dr McLoughlin was later appointed as Managing Director of the ESB. Work began on the scheme in September 1925 and it was officially opened on July 22nd 1929. It was one of the largest engineering projects in the world at the time.

When completed the Shannon Scheme supplied electricity to the cities and larger towns in Ireland. Smaller villages and rural areas were not connected to the grid. The rural electrification scheme commenced on November 5th 1946 at Killsallagahan in County Dublin. The scheme was led by William Roe and Paddy Dowling. Electricity was gradually brought to all parts of the country until 2003 when the islands of Inishturbot and Inishturk off the west coast were finally connected to the national grid. Today the ESB is composed of several different companies and has almost 8,000 employees.

The Electricity Supply Board (ESB) was established to organize the supply of electricity in Ireland in the year 1927 On This Day.

Shannon Scheme photo

Siemens-Bauunion plant and machinery being unloaded at Limerick docks for Shannon hydro-electric scheme by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 2011-03-25 20:41:55

Photo by National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Shannon Scheme photo

ESB at the ERF Trade Show RDS 1994

Photo by desomurchu archive gallery


06 August-Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy was a poet who was a native of Mayo. He was a member of Aosdána and served as poet-in residence at nine American Universities. He died at his residence in Sri Lanka in 2018.

Richard Murphy, poet and member of Aosdána, was born at Milford House County Mayo in the year 1927 On This Day

Mayo photo

Photo by Peter Mooney

27 August-Canadian Women Not Persons

Emily Murphy was appointed the first female judge in Canada in in 1916. Her rulings however, were challenged by lawyers because under Canadian law women were not ‘persons’. The challenge was based on a court decision of 1876 which stated: ‘Women are persons in matters of pains and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges’.

The British North American Act of 1867 established the Dominion of Canada. The ruling, which stated women were not persons, was made under that act. Murphy and four other Canadian women initiated a campaign to have the ruling overturned. Their petition to the Canadian Supreme Court in 1927 failed.

The women then took their case to the Privy Council of the British government. At the time it was Canada’s highest court. On October 18th 1929 women were declared as ‘persons’ under Canadian law. In its ruling the Privy Council stated: ‘the exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘persons’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?

A petition by Judge Emily Murphy and four other women to the Canadian Supreme Court to have women declared ‘persons’, failed in the year 1927 On This Day.

Nellie McClung brandishing a scroll declaring that Women are Persons




15 July-Countess Constance Markievicz

Countess Constance Markievicz was declared the first woman in history to be elected to the British House of Commons following the General Election of 1918. She was elected for the constituency of Dublin St Patrick’s. She stood for election whilst in Holloway prison in London. In line with the abstentionist policy adopted by the 73 elected Irish nationalist MPs she did not take her seat.

Countess Markievicz was born Constance Georgine Gore-Booth on February 4th 1868. She was the daughter of Sir Henry Gore-Booth of Lissadell House in Co Sligo. She married Count Markievicz, a Polish prince whilst studying art at Académie Julian in Paris. She was involved in the suffragette movement and, became involved in nationalist politics in 1908. She played an active role in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Following the Irish War of Independence the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed on December 6th 1921. The Treaty was ratified by Dáil Éireann on January 7th 1922. Those who lost the vote in parliament and were opposed to the treaty were led by Éamon de Valera. They walked out of parliament, took arms in opposition to the treaty and civil war ensued. Countess Markievicz joined the anti-treaty group and played an active part in the Civil War. The Fianna Fáil party was founded by de Valera in 1926. Countess Markievicz joined Fianna Fáil and was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1927. She died five weeks later.

Countess Markievicz died at the age of 59 in the year 1927 On This Day.

Countess Markievicz-Glasnevin Cemetery




24 April-Eamon Casey

Eamon Casey was appointed Roman Catholic bishop of Galway, Ireland in 1976. He had previously served as bishop of Kerry from 1969 until his appointment to the Galway diocese. Bishop Casey was a highly influential member of the Irish catholic hierarchy. He served as bishop of Galway until his resignation in highly controversial circumstances in 1992.

Eamon Casey was born in Firies, County Kerry, Ireland in 1927. Having studied at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth he was ordained a priest in 1951. He served as a priest in Limerick until he was appointed bishop of Kerry in 1969. He was appointed bishop of Galway on the retirement of Bishop Michael Browne in 1976.

In 1992 it was revealed that Bishop Casey had a relationship with Annie Murphy who was a native of America. They had a son Peter, who was born in 1974. Following the revelation Bishop Casey resigned. He moved to South America where he served as a missionary priest in Ecuador. Bishop Casey returned to Ireland in 2006. He died at the age of 89 on March 13th 2017.

Eamon Casey was born in the year 1927 On This Day.

Bishop Eamon Casey launching Trócaire’s campaign to boycott South African goods

Bishop Eamon Casey speaking to media after the assassination of Archbishop Romero