The ESB cooling tower at Allenwood in Kildare is demolished by a controlled explosion.

The construction of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) cooling tower at Allenwood, outside Celbridge in County Kildare began in 1949. Put into commission in January 1952 at the time it was built, the 286 foot high cooling tower was the highest reinforced concrete structure in Ireland.

The tower was used to cool exhaust steam produced in the process of generating electricity from the peat burning power station nearby. Allenwood ceased to be a peat burning station in 1992.

The day comes for the landmark structure to be demolished in a process technically referred to as a 'blowdown'. The explosion is carried out by British contractors. In spite of poor weather conditions local people gather to watch from a safe distance. The demolition goes to plan and the cooling tower collapses to the ground in seconds.

While the event is spectacular, for some onlookers the occasion is tinged with sadness. One young spectator is sorry to see the tower go because her grandfather worked in the power station for half of his life,

I miss it already.

The 40 acre site is being handed over to the Allenwood Development Association, a local community group.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 June 1997. The reporter is Ingrid Miley.