Poulaphuca cover

Beneath the Poulaphuca Reservoir – the 1939 Poulaphuca Survey of the lands flooded by the Liffey Reservoir Scheme.


Edited by Christiaan Corlett

Published in 2008, xxiii +352pp, hardback, illustrated

Published by Government of Ireland

One of the largest infra-structural schemes carried-out during the formative years of the State was the Liffey Reservoir Scheme.  With the construction of a dam at Poulaphuca, a large reservoir was created within the upper stretches of the River Liffey in Co. Wicklow.  The reservoir was designed to supply water to Dublin city and provide additional electricity supply to the national grid.  For many visitors to the area today this man-made lake seems as if it has been ever-present in the landscape.  However, as the water levels of the reservoir gradually rose in 1940 it submerged a historic landscape that only a few months previously hosted a thriving farming community.  The lives of these people would probably have entered the realms of mythology had it not been for the foresight of a small group of individuals.  Co-ordinated by Liam Price, small teams of people from various backgrounds volunteered their time and skills during the summer months of 1939 in an attempt to record as much information as possible about the landscape soon to be flooded.  This is the Poulaphuca Survey – a moment in time of a forgotten Irish landscape. The book contains over 300 photographs, drawings and maps of the area that was flooded and comprises the most complete record of a part of the Irish landscape that has been lost forever.