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Final Stage

 

So much was written about the Shannon scheme that visitors from all parts began to pour on to the site to see what was taking place. At the first signs of this invasion, arrangements were made for guides to conduct them around in parties, so that they would not wander into places where they might interrupt the work or be in danger of injury. It became common for special excursions from all parts of Ireland to be offered by the railway companies and it was reckoned that during 1927, 1928 and 1929 over 250,000 people had been conducted over the scheme as sightseers. As the Scheme approached its final stage in July of 1929, President W. T. Cosgrave pressed a button and raised the gates of the intake weir at O’Brien’s Bridge to allow the first of many millions of tons of water from the dammed-up Shannon to trickle down the dusty rock bed of the canal to the closed sluice gates of the big penstocks at Ardnacrusha.

Visit the Shannon Works Poster
Visit the Shannon Works Poster

Areas served by the Shannon Scheme
Areas served by the Shannon Scheme

In the months that followed, the canal slowly filled to its present majestic volume. On October 29, 1929, when the embankments had satisfied all tests against pressure and seepage, the great turbines in the power station set the generators in motion. The electricity created travelled over the network of high tension lines to households all over the country, some of which were switching on electric lights, irons, cookers and other modern utensils for the first time. And so in Clare was completed the first step in our national electrification.