The Coming of Rural Electrification in Offaly and Laois
Since December 2014 John Gibbons, in conjunction with local history groups in Laois and Offaly, has recorded over forty people in relation to their memories about life before and after the introduction of the Rural Electrification Scheme. Phase 1 of the recordings, which was carried out in Offaly, consists of thirty people sharing their memories and stories.
In Offaly, the R.E. Scheme began in the Lusmagh area in December 1947 and was completed in Lisdowney around February 1962. In Laois the scheme began in December 1947 around Clonaslee and was said to be completed about April 1964 in Castlecuffe. A few of the people recorded had worked with the ESB on the Scheme in Offaly. Others lived in the general area of the scheme, and all had experienced life before the Scheme and afterwards when electricity was connected to their homes.
Transcripts, CD copies of recordings and associated material in relation to phase 1 has been deposited in the Offaly History Archives. This project is still ongoing in both counties.
In 2017 John Gibbons was awarded a BA in History from University College Dublin. He is a member of the Oral History Network of Ireland, and the Alternative Visions Oral History Group.
Since 2017 he has begun a new project, ‘Memories of a Working Life’, and has recorded over thirty people talking about their working lives. He plans to record some of those who worked with Bord Na Mona in previous decades.
John has published an article, ‘Freedom Pioneers: The Wexford Lockout of 1911-12’, in 100 Years Later: The Legacy of the 1913 Lockout by Ida Milne and Mary Muldowney. He published articles on Rural Electrification in Offaly in The Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society Journal, No.10, 2018, and in The Federation of Local History Society Journal No. 24, 2019.
For further information, please contact John Gibbons.
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