Watch: The opening of Donegal hydro electric station in 1952

The Erne hydro electric scheme at Ballyshannon was one of the greatest engineering feats in the north west of its time

Watch a fascinating piece of both Donegal and cross border social history with the opening of the Erne hydro electric station at Ballyshannon back in 1952, thanks to British Pathé news. 

The opening and switching on of the turbines was conducted by Minister of Industry and Commerce Sean Lemass on October 1st, 1952 and was the first official cross border initiative between North and South since the foundation of the State. 

Those in attendance included local dignitaries as well as the Bishops of Clogher and Raphoe.

The idea to plan the River Erne for power had been mooted as far back 1920s and the success at Ardnacrusha, but it was not until 1946 that construction started at two locations on the river between Belleek in County Fermanagh and Ballyshannon in County Donegal.

It was a massive post war construction project bringing large amounts of employment and money to the local economy and reshaping the topography of the Erne town forever.

Cathaleen's Fall was the larger and downriver of Cliff power station.

Construction of the reinforced concrete gravity dam started in 1946 and was not completed until 1955.

You may even spot some locals there as well. Let us know if you do . . .  

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