Rural electrification

rictor

SW Member
21 April 2021
187
50
Death of the Banshee (1996), interesting documentary on the process of rural electrification over a span of five decades. As difficult as it may be to believe today, there were still pockets of Ireland without electricity as late as 1970, with the ESB achieving 99% electrification by the mid 70s and complete electrification by the late 70s. As somebody born in the 1980s, I certainly cannot imagine life without electricity, though my Great-grandfather born in the 1890s and passing in the 1950s would have lived the majority of his life without the benefits of electrical power.

You'd think people would have thrown open their arms and welcomed the arrival of electricity, yet funnily enough, there was much reticence among a large portion of the population. Some saw electricity as a potential waste of money, an extra and unnecessary bill. The thought of running a washing machine and washing clothes at a cost, when it could be done at no cost by hand seemed ridiculous to many. Yet I'm sure for many women, the arrival of contraptions such as the washer and dryer brought a form of relief considering that the traditionally tedious method of washing and drying by hand were no longer required. Others rejected electricity due to a fear that it would lead to fire and property destruction, thus leading to many refusals to ESB requests to tie their homes up to the grid. Before wired radios plugged into electrical sockets were a reality, radio batteries were a prized belonging, used sparingly and brought to a shop when in need of recharging. One woman who'd recently had electricity installed at her home decided she wanted to bring her radio to one of the neighbouring houses. She took a sharp knife and cut the chord of the radio in order to do so. After the accompanying fright, I'm sure that was the last time she made such a griveous error. It had never occurred to her that the radio needed to be unplugged at the wall.

Before electrification, to make a cup of tea would require a visit to the nearest water source, be it a river or well and a fire for heat, topped off with milk from a recently milked cow. With the arrival of 'the light', or 'the electric' as some coined it...you could fill a kettle with water from a tap run on an electric pump, topped off with milk from the fridge. I'm sure that alone must have amazed many who were accustomed to fetching water, fetching milk and lighting a fire- all to simply make a cup of tea.

With the arrival of electrification across Ireland came the arrival of the television. People who might not have travelled outside of their local communities for years on end, if not a lifetime suddenly found imagery from all around the world on display on a box in the corner of the room. Many a SeanchaĆ­ detested the arrival of the television. Since time immemorial, the Irish as a people loved nothing more than partaking in storytelling around a fire. Yet with people glued to TV screens, old traditions died out. RTE came to replace SeanchaĆ­s with their fireside tales of banshees and fairy bushes. While life in Ireland was certainly primitive and hard by today's standards in practical everyday terms, I think the decline of storytelling due to the rise of television was certainly unfortunate. Ireland and its ancient folklorish ways gave way to soap operas and late night talk show rubbish. Though perhaps it's simply the case that we didn't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater, embracing television which the below documentary is after all, while clinging to, and preserving the more interesting aspects of our traditional heritage.

 

Oblivion

Member
12 April 2021
184
59
Well, many places in Ireland still don't have connected water, having to rely on their own wells, and TBH most are probably happy they are not connected to the fluoride muck.

Its crazy to think Ireland was so far behind other countries when it came to installing electricity in people's homes.
 

rictor

SW Member
21 April 2021
187
50
I think in comparison to our ancestors, we have weak immune systems. They came into contact with nature a lot more than we do in our more sanitised age. I imagine drinking from rivers, getting muck on your hands etc. makes for a hardier immune system, better able to fend off dangerous diseases and pathogens.

That said, modern medicine is the great balancing act. I for one can't imagine the torture of having to endure a toothache before the advent of modern painkillers and dentistry. I think I'd go insane and jump off a cliff.
 

Dogtanian

Member
15 April 2021
95
68
I think in comparison to our ancestors, we have weak immune systems. They came into contact with nature a lot more than we do in our more sanitised age. I imagine drinking from rivers, getting muck on your hands etc. makes for a hardier immune system, better able to fend off dangerous diseases and pathogens.

That said, modern medicine is the great balancing act. I for one can't imagine the torture of having to endure a toothache before the advent of modern painkillers and dentistry. I think I'd go insane and jump off a cliff.

You would think they had better immune systems but it was the Antibiotic that really changed things.

Now they want to pump us full of chemicals.
 

Rawleen McElsausageogle

Member
Founding Member
17 October 2021
86
11
Well, many places in Ireland still don't have connected water, having to rely on their own wells, and TBH most are probably happy they are not connected to the fluoride muck.

Its crazy to think Ireland was so far behind other countries when it came to installing electricity in people's homes.
You are not behind if you use your own well. Its the same and all comes out of a tap.
 

Rawleen McElsausageogle

Member
Founding Member
17 October 2021
86
11
I never heard anyone regret getting the light, which is what electricity was called. The benefits were better light, radio fridges and cookers. Then came the washing machine which relieved drudgery. There was electricity before the government type but generators were driven out in 1927.
 

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