Electric Generations The Story of Electricity in the Irish Home

10 October 2017 / News
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Electric Generations

The Story of Electricity in the Irish Home

dlr LexIcon, Dún Laoghaire, 2 Oct-2 Dec 2017

Electric Generations shows how the reception and understanding of electricity by different generations varied across the twentieth century, reflecting the shift from an unfamiliar power to a fundamental feature of everyday life. The exhibition includes an array of advertisements, pamphlets, magazines and domestic objects.

The exhibition begins by exploring how people initially Feared that this new power could be harnessed to cause harm to neighbours and enemies. The next section, Functionality, focuses on the campaign for popular acceptance of domestic electricity. The final section, Freedom, illustrates how the electrical home was marketed as desirable and empowering for women.


Two associated events will take place in dlr LexIcon during the run of the exhibition. On Monday 16 October at 6.45pm in the Studio Theatre, 4 speakers will each speak for 15 minutes on related topics:

·       Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist at the ESB, ‘Charting social change through ESB advertising’.

·       Lorna Sixsmith, author How to be a Perfect Farm Wife​, 'Electricity and the Farm Wife'

·       Owen Davies, Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire, 'Supernatural Fear'

·       Ciara Meehan, Head of History at the University of Hertfordshire, 'From Functionality to Freedom: Electricity in the Home'.


Booking for this event is advisable on Eventbrite.ie, Search Electric Generations. All are welcome.

On Wednesday 15 November, during Science Week, two documentary films entitled 40 Light Years from Parteen 1967 and Death of the Banshee 1996 will be shown, courtesy of ESB Archives. School groups (suitable for 4th-6th classes) will be invited to sessions in the morning at 9.45am and 11.30am and open sessions for adult groups at 2pm and 6.30pm. Free events – school bookings by emailing dlrlexiconlib@dlrcoco.ie, for lunchtime and evening showings, book on Eventbrite.ie, search Electric Generations.

An activity sheet about the exhibition, suitable for primary school groups can be downloaded from here. Teachers are welcome to visit the exhibition with their students.

The exhibition was created by Owen Davies, Ceri Houlbrook and Ciara Meehan of the University of Hertfordshire and Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist, ESB Archives.

Further enquiries, please contact Ciara Meehan c.meehan2@herts.ac.uk @ElectricGens

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