Siemens (Germany) actually came in with the lowest bid by a long shot. The German economy was in a downturn and they were desperate for projects and willing to do take a big risk with a fledgling state that was only barely up and running.
They brought all of their technical work force over from Germany from what I've heard of the project as there were very few people here at the time with civil engineering background / serious construction backgrounds. A small town was created near by to house the work force and several miles of electrified railway was layed to move machinery and people in and out! (These things are MUCH LESS labour intensive thesedays!)
The ESB (Electricity Supply Board) gained enormously at the time in terms of knowledge transfer as their engineers learned a lot from the Siemens, AEG and Asea people.
Also, given the fact that the Republic of Ireland had *just* violently seperated from the UK and there was about as much anti-British sentiment here at the time as there was anti-German sentiment in the UK the liklihood of a British company getting any sort of state contract here in those days was very slim indeed!
That project was primarly Siemens (GMBH) but also ASEA and AEG were involved.
Much of the early pre WWII installations here, even in domestic homes were done to german specs too..
E.g. we've always used 220V 50Hz and 380V 3-phase. (until recent european tweaks to 230V ratings.. you'll still find the power coming out of a socket here is close to 220V not 230V)
Also, the schuko plug/socket system was very much in use until quite recently. BS1363 was adopted and replaced it around the same time as it replaced BS546 in the UK.
and Diazed and Neozed (Siemens GMBH style) fuses were the norm here for decades, in fact even brand new consumer units still have a single neozed main fuse to protect them from overloading. http://www.ieee.org/organizations/history_center/milestones_photos/shannon.html
The Shannon project is one of the IEEE milestones projects. The above link gives you all the technical and historical details including a rather interesting map of the Irish National Grid as it was in 1929!
After WWII broke out, the poco here moved onto a much wider range of suppliers. They also rapidly built up a very large in-house engineering team that went on to design most of the subsequent power plants etc.. the company still exists as an international electrical engineering consultancy called ESBI.
Equipment came from multiple suppliers, Siemens and AEG reappeared in the 1950s.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 05-02-2005).]