Ardnacrusha Power Station opens to the public
03 July 2017
The Ardnacrusha Experience has a newly refurbished visitors' centre - image by Andres Poveda
Members of the general public can now visit Ardnacrusha Power Station to enjoy a unique visitor experience into Ireland’s first national hydro-electric station in County Clare.
The guided tours can accommodate groups of up to 30 people and runs for approximately 90 minutes. All bookings can be made online at www.esb.ie.
Feedback from school groups, who have been enjoying the tours for the last eight weeks, has been hugely positive, with Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra in Rathmore, Co Kerry praising the “excellent learning experience for geography, engineering and physics perspectives.”
Meanwhile, students from Oola National School, Co Limerick, said that the tour was most beneficial and educational, with compliments for the “excellent guides and staff who answered all questions”.
Pupils from Scoil Íde Primary School in nearby Corbally, Limerick City were also among 4,000 lucky visitors to experience this industrial and architectural wonder this summer. Sixth class pupil Grace Finnan said: “The building is so big. Even though I am afraid of heights, it was so cool to look out and see Thomond Park and the rest of Limerick.”
Meanwhile, Abbie Kiely enjoyed the Seán Keating paintings on display. “It was amazing to hear the stories of the people in the pictures and what they represented through the history of Ireland.” For classmate Liam McInerney the paintings were also a highlight. “I really liked the colourful old posters and cards on display,” Liam adds.
ESB first began facilitating tours from the general public in June 1928 and welcomed over 85,000 visitors within the first nine months. To mark the 90th anniversary of its foundation, ESB has been delighted to revive this tradition with dedicated school and public tours during the summer months.
Visitors are welcomed to the Ardnacrusha Experience at the newly refurbished visitors’ centre before going out on site to view the impressive headrace canal, locks and tailrace. Once inside the station, the living heritage of Shannon Scheme is brought to life through a series of animations which celebrate the history and impact of this iconic project. Visitors are given access to the very heart of the station with unique views of the turbine hall and a visit to the original control room.
ESB’s Alan Bane, Plant Manager at Ardnacrusha, explains that the station supplied 100 per cent of the nation’s electricity in 1929. “Our workplace is an important historic site in Ireland’s development, so it has been a source of great pride to everyone who works here to open our gates to the public this summer. The four turbines are still humming, supplying same 86 megawatts of renewable electricity as when they were first installed. The country’s development has been such in the meantime that the power station now represents about two per cent of total installed capacity.”
Alan explains that the building of the Shannon Scheme began in 1925 and took four years, involving 4,000 Irish and 1,000 German workers with contractor Siemens-Schuckert. “It involved the construction of a 12km long head race canal, hydro-electric station and tailrace. Water is delivered to the turbines by four large, cylindrical steel structures known as penstocks. Each penstock is 41m long, 6m in diameter and can deliver around 100 tonnes of water per second. At the time of completion in 1929, it was one of the largest hydro-electric stations in the world, while a national (110Kv) voltage grid – also a world first – was constructed at the same time, bringing light to Ireland’s major towns and cities.”
The fledgling Irish Free State recognised the need to develop and use its natural resources to modernise Ireland. The total cost of the project was IR£5.2 million, about one fifth of Irish Government revenue in 1925. Alan concludes: “It was a phenomenal undertaking, and the construction of the Shannon Scheme remains a source of inspiration for all of us at ESB as we face into the energy challenges of the coming decades.”
You can book a tour of Ardnacrusha at esb.ie.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2017/07/03/ardnacrusha-power-station-opens-public/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ardnacrusha-hall.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/ardnacrusha-hall-300x300.jpgNewselectricity,ESB,Limerick,renewables