The Quiet Revolution (2016)

Carlow County Museum and the E.S.B. Archives collaborated together to develop a special temporary exhibition in 2016 marking the 70th anniversary of Rural Electrification, which began in November 1946. 


The Rural Electrification Scheme has been described as one of the greatest social and economic developments in twentieth-century Ireland. The exhibition explored the bringing of the light to Carlow, from the first public lighting in 1891, to the implementation of rural electrification in the area (1947-1963). 

The exhibition featured original photographs and artefacts tracing the development of electricity, including appliances and farm machinery from the 1940s to 1960s, such as electric milking and butter machines.

- at the official opening of the exhibition on Tuesday 23rd August 2016

Those who worked on the scheme, including PJ Dowling, Carlow Person of the 20th Century, became known as the ‘Rural Pioneers’. The exhibition concluded in February 2017.

- the first pole being erected at Kilsallaghan, Co Dublin, on November 5th, 1946. Paddy Dowling is shown standing to the far right of the image. Photograph: Used with permission of ESB Archives
- photo: (L to R): ESB Archives and Heritage: Dr Kirsten Mulrennan, Brian McMahon and Brendan Delany, Archives and Heritage Manager

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