Memories from Donard Co. Wicklow: Rural Electrification of Ireland

By Urcela Nolan

Rural electrification was the greatest thing that happened in rural Ireland.

Growing up in Donard before electricity came to our village we used oil-lamps.
They had to be filled with paraffin oil, a wick had to be trimmed, and the Globe
had to be polished. If we broke the globe, we had to cycle to Dunlavin to buy a
new one.

When it was bed time, we had a candle, which was in a candle holder.

When the electricity was turned on, there was great excitement. My mother
bought an electric cooker, no more cooking on the range, or the oil stove, and
to have light at the turn of a switch was a wonder.

It was a great help to farmers, they were able to pump water from the well to
the farm yard. Some farmers were able to get milking machines.

Before this we had to carry the water from a spout up a hill, 2 buckets up a hill.
We also had a barrel at the back door to get rain water, which was used to
wash clothes in a big bath.

The rain water was also great for washing our hair, it kept our hair lovely and
soft and shiny, so when the water came to our house it made life easy to be
able to turn on a tap.

Another great thing to happen, we were able to get films in our area, we were
able to get Films every Friday night in our Town Hall, great excitement to be
able to get “Laurel and Hardy” or a good Cowboy Film.

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