Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium to take place at the Hunt Museum

Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium

Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium – The Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium will take place at the Hunt Museum on Thursday, September 24 from 1.30 to 4 pm.

Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium to take place at the Hunt Museum

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Colin Ryan

Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium

The Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme was one the first major developments by the Irish Free State in the 1920s.

The Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium, an exhibition detailing the impact of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme, will take place at the Hunt Museum on Thursday, September 24 from 1.30 to 4 pm. Speakers will include Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist at ESB Archives, McKayla Stehr, History Instructor from the Department of History & Political Science at Fresno City College in California, and Peggy Ryan, Hunt Museum Docent.

The symposium is a part of ‘Europe at Work’ – a collection of stories and digital objects about working in Europe made available to all on the Europeana website located HERE. Attendees are invited to come and contribute their stories and participate in a Q&A on the day. Due to social distancing requirements, numbers are very limited.

The Hunt Museum began collecting stories, artefacts and memorabilia for the exhibition back in May, when they reached out for anyone with connections to the Shannon Scheme at Ardnacrusha to share objects and stories related to the construction of the scheme.

The Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme was one the first major developments by the Irish Free State in the 1920s. It played a pivotal role in the development of Ireland in the 20th Century and paved the way for the social, economic, and industrial development of Ireland. Its historical and industrial importance is undoubtable and will be recognized and discussed during the symposium.

Itinerary for the Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium

1.30 – Welcome & Introduction

           Dr Jill Cousins, The Hunt Museum

1.45 – Keynote 1: Shedding Light on the Shannon Scheme and the Electrification of Ireland.    

            Deidre McParland, Senior Archivist, ESB

2:15 – Q & A  – (largely from the audience in the room)

2:30 – Keynote 2.  “A Different Breed Altogether”: Defining Race and Identity Among Workers on                               the Shannon Scheme 

           Dr. McKayla Stehr, History Instructor, History Instructor, Department of History & Political  Science, Fresno City College, California 

3:00 – Peggy Ryan, Hunt Museum Docent, Kicks off round of stories from delegates & final Q&A

3:30 – Teas & Coffee in the Café

4:00 – Close

Keynote 1: Shedding Light on the Shannon Scheme and the Electrification of Ireland.    

 Deidre McParland, Senior Archivist, ESB

The foundation of ESB was based on a vision to continuously improve the lives of Irish people. Join Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist at ESB to hear about the story of the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme, Ireland’s first national grid and the largest engineering project of its kind in Europe at that time. Discover the transformative impact of the Scheme on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland all sourced from the rich heritage preserved in ESB Archives.

Keynote 2: “A Different Breed Altogether”: Defining Race and Identity Among Workers on the Shannon Scheme 

Dr. McKayla Stehr, History Instructor, History Instructor, Department of History & Political Science, Fresno City College, California 

This presentation will focus on the racial attitudes and sense of Irish identity that were explored through work on the Shannon Scheme. With German engineers and labourers stationed near Limerick and men from Connemara to Cork employed on the project, opportunities for defining Irishness made the Scheme more than just a means to achieve national electrification—it assumed the power to illuminate much broader discussions about who the Irish were and their place in the world. Did the Shannon Scheme symbolize Irish political achievement, German brilliance in engineering, or a postcolonial victory in light of the obvious British absence? Europeans were at work at Ardnacrusha, but they were constructing far more than a hydroelectric dam on the River Shannon. 

Ardnacrusha Memories Symposium

The Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme played a pivotal role in the development of Ireland in the 20th Century

The event will be streamed on Facebook but there are still a couple of places left if you would like to participate and tell your story on the day. To book your spot, click HERE. You can also contact [email protected] or ring 061 312833.

Tickets are 15 Euro each, with complimentary tea and coffee included in the purchase.

In addition, the Hunt Museum will also be hosting Ardnacrusha Memories Collection Days, where they will be collecting stories and memorabilia into the museum so they can digitise them and add to Europeana’s Europe at Work database, showcasing Ireland’s work history and the importance of the Shannon Hydro-Electric Scheme to the development of the Midwest and Limerick.

The Collection Days are on the 24th and 25th of September and to observe proper social distancing you will be required to book a slot HERE

You will be interviewed by one of the Hunt Museum Docents (volunteers) and your story will be recorded for posterity.  

For more stories on the Hunt Museum, click HERE.

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