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Back to Press Releases 17 October 2022

ESB marks the 70th Anniversary of the Erne Stations

  • The Erne Stations were officially opened by former Taoiseach Seán Lemass in October 1952 and continue to play an important role in ESB’s transformative drive to achieve Net Zero by 2040  
  • There are a number of initiatives to mark this milestone including an art and photographic exhibition detailing the construction, design and operation of the Erne Scheme  

14 October 2022

ESB is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its River Erne Generating Stations at Cliff and Cathaleen’s Fall, Ballyshannon with the official opening of an art and photographic exhibition depicting the construction and history of the Erne Scheme.

The art and photographic exhibition will be open to the public at Dorrians Imperial Hotel, Ballyshannon on Monday, October 17 (3pm-8pm), Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, October 19 (2pm-8pm), Thursday, October 20 (11am-5pm) and Friday, October 21 (10am-3.00pm).

The exhibition includes a selection of over 100 photographs on the theme of heritage and looking to the future, selected by ESB Archives. Also included in this exhibition are six pieces of art, commissioned by ESB during the construction of the scheme – this will be the first time they will be displayed locally.

Over the coming months, the exhibition will be housed in Donegal County Museum, Letterkenny, Fermanagh County Museum, Enniskillen and Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff – its tour will finish the year at the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon.

To mark the milestone, ESB will also be recognising the contribution of the local community by donating to a number of local organisations including Liquid Therapy, Rossnowlagh; Donegal Water Safety Committee; Donegal Bay Community First Responders; Osmand House, Bundoran; Ballyshannon Day Centre Committee; and The Fermanagh Trust. Representatives from ESB will also be visiting local schools over the coming months to showcase the history of the stations and its Net Zero by 2040 strategy.

John Gallagher, ESB Plant Manager Erne Stations, said: “Since being commissioned, the Erne Stations have ensured ESB has been a mainstay in the local community. We are proud to be deeply embedded in South Donegal and as we look forward to how the stations can continue to play a role in ESB’s future, it is important to recognise what has been achieved here over the last 70 years.”

The River Erne hydroelectric stations were both constructed between 1946 and 1955, in its time, the project was the largest construction project in Europe. Cliff can generate enough power to supply over 12,000 homes while Cathleen’s Fall can deliver power for around 26,000 homes.

A major refurbishment programme was carried out between 2009 and 2016, ensuring the stations will continue to play an important role to provide clean electricity in line with ESB’s Net Zero by 2040 strategy.