PEAT AND ELECTRICITY IN IRELAND
Rathangan, Co, Kildare, Ireland
Patrick Bresnihan, Patrick Brodie, Laurence Fullam
This project aims to better understand the unlikely transformations that occurred as bog “wastelands” in the Irish midlands were converted into the industrial engine of Ireland’s modernisation during the 20th century. It aims to use this history to creatively intervene in plans that are currently underway across the cutaway bogs and former peat industrial communities of the Midlands. These include state-led plans for hosting data centres, fulfilment centres and large-scale renewable energy infrastructures in private “energy parks,” as well as more bottom-up projects for public eco-parks, incorporating retrofitted railway networks and re-wetted bog habitats. These are different visions for the future, positioned in highly unequal ways within prevailing political and economic contexts.
From the 1930s, the newly independent Irish Free State, later the Republic of Ireland, implemented large-scale infrastructure projects to provide electricity to the country, including the Rural Electrification Scheme and, most important for our purposes, the large-scale drainage and exploitation of the bogs.
About the Team
Patrick Bresnihan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Maynooth University. His research looks at different but related concerns around water, land, and energy in Ireland and how these speak to broader questions of colonial and postcolonial development, environmental politics and the ‘green’ transition.
Patrick Brodie is a media scholar and Lecturer in the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin. His research looks broadly at the environmental implications of digital media infrastructures.
Laurence Fullam has a background in Adult & Community Education. An experienced researcher with a particular interest in the concept of legitimacy, he has worked in the area of local development, managing a number of EU funded projects from concept to implementation. He has a keen interest in local history and a particular interest in archival sources. He is a founding member of Creative Rathangan Meitheal.