Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Progress in church renovations; flowers in Listowel and Electricity; the early days

St. Mary's early last week


Listowel looking lovely

We do not have the same amount of flower displays in Listowel as we used to. Some businesses do a great job and the town looks so much better with a bit of colour to brighten our days.


The Good old days

Photographer, Eric Luke, found some old negatives from his days photographing Slane concerts. The top photo is Mike Jagger in the 1980s and the lower one is of Security at Slane in the 1980s.


Electricity & Telephone Development in Listowel  (Michael Guerin)

Old lamp outside the Horseshoe in Lower William St.

Listowel was connected with the national telephone service in

Electricity was brought to the town early in 1913 when a
privately-run generating station was established behind the then
Temperance Hall. It was named The Listowel Electric Light and Power Company, (also called the Listowel & Cahersiveen Electric Light Co.) It was owned by a Mr. Cantwell who also operated the Ballybunion Electric Company.  Most of these generated Direct Current.
 It operated until September 1929 when its functions were taken over by the E.S.B.

Street lighting by electricity began in mid-1913, replacing the
paraffin-oil lamps which had supplied light in some of the
main streets, especially The Square, since the turn of the century.

This was twenty-one years after the erection of the first electric lighting plant in Kerry which had been installed by the Commercial Cable Company in its station at Waterville in May 1892 (Kerry Evening Post 28 May 1892).
These lamps were set on top of ornamental standards and were lit at nightfall by Michael (Mick) Lynch of Tea (Tay) Lane, Listowel's Iamplighter.
(information from John (Jack) Leahy, Ballygologue).

            The first ESB Area Supervisor was Jack O Connor followed by Walter Doyle.  Jackie Buckley and Connie Healy were absorbed into the ESB from the private companies. Tom Connolly- Gene Moriarty – Mick O Connor – Jack O Shea was the early ESB staff.
            Jackie Connolly joined in 1954 with various groups recruited for rural electrification in the 50s, such as Jerry O Keeffe, Paul Kennelly, Patsy Culhane the Carey Brothers in Rathea.
            The Rural Electrification Scheme commenced after the second world war in 1946, when the supply of materials were very scarce. Trees for the timber ESB poles could only be sourced in Finland at a reasonable and reliable price. Shipped to Limerick where they were treated with creosote to preserve them. Poles were then redistributed to small sea ports along the coast for rural electrification.

            In O’Connell’s Avenue (built 1933 to 40) electricity was not metered until around 1957 according to Paul Kennelly. Up to then electricity consumption was controlled by a Current Limiter. This was adjusted to allow from 0.45 to 0.75 amps of supply, allowing a few lights and an electric kettle. The ESB had an inspector out at night monitoring the lights on in each house. It was known that these Limiters were tampered with.

            Early plug and sockets were the German 2 pin and earth type followed by the 15amp 3 pin to be replaced by the British 13amp plug and socket we use today This was developed during the war with ring main to save copper wire.
            The Sacred Heart lamp was the first priority of householders in getting electricity. Rural electrification was part of The Quiet Revolution of the Irish Countryside bringing running water, lighting, heating, milking machines for the farmer and the electric kettle, irons and washing machines later and, of course, the wireless.
            This is only a brief account of the coming of Electricity to Listowel which will be researched and developed, but one good story to finish with is; Tom from Rathea went to visit his sisters Mary’s house near Listowel which had just got connected to electricity. Mary, very proud of new electric kettle, offered him a cup of tea from a whistling boiling kettle.
“No way,” said Tom, am I drinking any of that ELECTRIFIED WATER!
She had no option but to proceed with boiling a kettle of water on the TURF FIRE.

© This is only a brief account Michael Guerin 16/06/2014

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