Survey Data

Reg No


Categories of Special Interest

Architectural, Scientific, Social, Technical

Previous Name

Cathaleen's Fall Generating Station

Original Use

Hydroelectric power station

In Use As

Hydroelectric power station


1945 - 1960


188745, 361303

Date Recorded


Date Updated



Hydroelectric power station complex, built 1946-55, comprising a reinforced concrete dam to the east with associated sluices and overflows/spillways to the north, and having multi-storey flat-roofed generating building and associated structures to the west and south. Generating hall constructed of steel and reinforced concrete having flat steel-framed roof structure. Liner strip lighting and full-height vertical window openings to main generating hall having metal-framed windows with horizontal glazing pattern; square-headed window and door openings elsewhere. Cement and/or roughcast rendered walls to buildings. Glass block glazing to roof over entrance hall. Interesting interior to generating hall having curved cantilevered concrete stairs. Located to the east of Ballyshannon, spanning River Erne. Lake to east created by damming the Erne.


This impressive hydroelectric power station is a significant element of the twentieth-century engineering heritage of Ireland. The main generating building itself is built in an austere minimalistic Modernist architectural style having flat-roofed block-like forms, linear strip lighting and a horizontal emphasis to the fenestration pattern. The interior of the main generating hall is an impressive open space, while the curved cantilevered staircase to the main stair hall displays elements of the contemporary International Modern movement. This station was originally commenced in 1946, and the main contractor involved was Cementation Company Ltd., Doncaster. The first electricity produced at the plant was on 30th of November 1951 and the plant was officially opened by Sean Lemass on October 1st 1952. It represents one of two separate hydroelectric plants at either end of the artificial lake created by the dam – the other being at Cliff (see 40910782) to the east. The Erne Scheme second largest hydroelectric generating complex in Ireland after the celebrated Ardnacrusha Power Station (20405308) on the Shannon in County Clare. It is also of historical significance as the first significant act of co-operation between the North and the Republic since Independence. The construction of this power station was highly controversial as it necessitated the destruction of the celebrated beauty spot known as Assaroe Falls, as well as the important fourteenth-arch late seventeenth-century bridge over the Erne at Ballyshannon, and the demolition of a number of country houses in the vicinity of the dam lake (including Camlin Castle, Stonewold, Laputa and Cliff House) as well as numerous farmhouses and vernacular houses etc. This substantial hydroelectric station is an integral element of the twentieth century built heritage and County Donegal, and of the wider engineering heritage of Ireland.