Kells’ old Victorian Waterworks, which was built in 1897 and which has been restored by a group of local enthusiasts, was officially opened by Kells Town Council cathaoirleach, Cllr. Brian Curran, in August 2009.
It took local volunteers six years to complete the restoration of the facility, which is located beside the amenity centre in Kells Business Park. The restoration cost €250,000 but all the work was carried out voluntarily.
The waterworks was built and installed in 1897 by Kells Urban District Council to supply mains water the townsfolk.
Since its restoration, it is the only hydro-powered pumping station in Meath and the only known working station in the country.
The water was diverted off the Blackwater River, filtered through sand and then pumped up to a storage reservoir on the summit of nearby Lloyd Hill.
Two turbines were originally used to raise the water but were superseded by electric ones in 1952.
The site closed in 1980 when a new waterworks was opened at Lough Bane, near Oldcastle.
The original group consisted of around 35 people, but the core group of five, Ronnie McGrane, Willie Carr, Ken Martin, PJ McCaffrey and Charlie Rogers, kept the project going over the past seven years.
Visitors to the waterworks can now see, hear and feel the old hydro turbines working and will also be given a demonstration of the more modern technology which was used at the facility in the 1950s and ’60s.
The project has received awards from Meath County Council, An Taisce and The Heritage Council.