Recent Irish industrial history is a much neglected subject and the collection below represents one completed project and several that I would like to do, or see done by someone else
This is a brief history of a general purpose electrical company which was created by C.O. Stanley to provide the Republic of Ireland with home-grown manufacture at a time of high import tariffs.
Irish Sugar Co
Comhlucht Siucre Eireann Teo was set up by the Government in the 1930s to overcome Britain’s blockade during the ‘Economic War’. It also provided farmers with income from a much-needed rotation crop. This had the effect of reducing dependence on imports and was of particular importance during the second world war. Sadly the four factories were a casualty of privatisation, business speculation and EU rules.
Bord na Mona
The cutting of turf from peat bogs has always provided individuals with a fuel for winter, but it takes an incredibly long time to dry and a wet spring/summer can present considerable problems. Bord na Mona was a State founded company which developed new technologies for fast drying of milled turf. This was supplied directly to power stations, compressed into an easily transportable for use in city dwellings and was the basis for agricultural peat-moss.
In response to shortages as a result of the UK/Irish Free State Economic War of the 1930s the Government decided to set up its own alcohol factories. Three young Irish engineers (Cogan, Condon and Molloy) were sent to Herkenbosch in the Netherlands to learn about distillation processes. Richard Molloy had a degree in Chemical Engineering from UCC and an MSc in Brewing from Birmingham. In 1938, a company was established under the Industrial Alcohol Act to manufacture alcohol from potatoes. Five factories were built in fairly remote areas to use up surplus potato crops generated through overproduction or by the presence of disease (Cooley, Carndonagh, Labadish, and ???). In addition to alcohol the Cooley factory produced small quantities of acetone and chloroform whenever it was not possible to import these from wartime UK.