Open Minds

Modernism at the Movies

Details:

Screening of ‘Generate the State’
8pm, Thursday October 17th
FREE, Booking Advised, tickets available here

Building:

Belltable, 69 O’Connell Street, V94 FK0H
Architect: unknown, c. 1825
Façade by William Clifford Smith

Description:

Global Visionaries: Showcasing Limerick as a global crossroads where visionary people and places resonate.

OpenHouse Limerick, in collaboration with the Belltable and the Irish Film Institute Archives, are exploring the world of modernist architecture in Limerick through its theme ‘Modernism at the Movies’. We will look back at some of the pioneers of modernism, taking a trip through some of the landmark Free State modernist marvels. This year we wish to showcase ‘Generate The State’.

‘Generate The State’ documents the ambitious building of Ardnacrusha and the Shannon Scheme in the newly- established Irish Free State that revolutionised electricity production and supply in Ireland. The harnessing of the River Shannon to construct a hydro-electric power station at Ardnacrusha (1926-29) was one of the biggest architectural and civil engineering projects in the world at that time, involving thousands of men and an array of machinery. 

Initiated by Thomas A. McLoughlin, an Irish civil engineer working in Germany, it was a joint venture between the Irish Free State and the German company Siemens-Schuckert. The River Shannon was rerouted through the countryside, canalised into a head and tail race with its banks measured, graded and remade. Perhaps more significantly, the power station marked the beginning of the Rural Electrification Scheme – the first national network of its kind in the world – transforming social and productive life on the island. 

The scheme cost IR£5m, one fifth of the Irish state’s annual budget – and at a time of tremendous economic Difficulties.

Around 1,000 German and 4,000 Irish workers were involved in the construction phase between 1925 and 1929. Indeed, the magnitude of the scheme had it dubbed “the Eighth Wonder of the World’’.Celebrate this era of architecture as it deserves to be seen, on the big screen at the Belltable.

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