Great Irish Inventors

Great Irish People

What makes Ireland so great to visit is NOT the Rolling Fields, Cathedrals, Museums and Golf Courses and it’s not even the Guinness! What makes Ireland great is the people. We will now look at some of the most successful people that have lived on this Island, it will be split into 5 sections. The Top 5- Inventors, Politicians, Business Men, Sports People and Arts (Music, Literature, Acting). The first up will be the Irish Inventors and some of these will both stun and amaze you. The reason for this article is to give you an idea of how successful Irish people really are. We go along with the stereotype of the “Fighting Irish” or “Drunken Irish” but all these people had one thing in common and that is beautifully put in this Irish proverb.

“You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind.”

― Irish proverb

Top 5 Inventors

  1. John P. Holland- Invented Modern Day Submarine

John P. Holland was born on 24th April 1841 he was an Irish engineer who developed the first submarine commissioned by the US Navy and the Royal Navy. He was born in Liscannor County Clare (Population of 71 in 2006)

Holland initially worked as a teacher for several years before he moved to the US when he was 32 due to ill health. He then started working for an engineering firm but it was during his teaching days in Cork that he realized the best way to attack a ship would be through an attack beneath the waterline.

He drew a design, but when he attempted to obtain funding, he was turned away. Then as luck would have it or `Luck of the Irish’ Holland slipped and fell on an icy Boston street and broke his leg. While recuperating from the injury in a hospital, he used his time to refine his submarine designs and was encouraged by Isaac Whelan, a priest.

Holland continued to improve his designs and worked on several experimental boats, prior to his successful efforts with a privately built type, launched on 17 May 1897. This was the first submarine having power to run submerged for any considerable distance, and the first to combine electric motors for submerged travel and gasoline engines for use on the surface. She was purchased by the US Navy, on 11 April 1900, after rigorous tests and was commissioned on 12 October 1900. He died on 12th August 1914. There is a John P Holland Centre in Liscannor which gives you a great sense of who the man was and what he achieved.

  1. Arthur Guinness- Invented Guinness

I know I know, I said no one visits Ireland for the Guinness but this is about great inventors and Arthur Guinness is therefore a great inventor. He was born in 28th September 1725. He was born in County Kildare; the whereabouts are still up for discussion.

At 27, in 1752, Guinness’s godfather Arthur Price left him £100 in his will, thus again `The Luck of the Irish’ you say. Well there’s no prizes for guessing what he did with that money.

Guinness invested the money and in 1755 he had a brewery in Leixlip county Kildare. In 1759, Guinness went to Dublin and set up his own business. He took out a 9,000-year lease on a 4-acre site for an annual rent of £45 and the rest is history.

You can still see the Lease at the Guinness storehouse attraction at St. James gate in Dublin City.

Finally, here are some fun facts about Guinness,

  1. Nearly 40% of Guinness is consumed somewhere in Africa. Of five Guinness-owned breweries worldwide, three are in African nations.
  2. Guinness is so dedicated to settling the sort of obscure debates born in bars that in 1954, managing director Hugh Beaver launched a compendium of little-known facts called the Guinness Book of Records.
  3. Finally, Guinness is Dark Red, Yes Dark Red.
  1. Louis Brennan- Invented the First Guided Missile

Louis Brennan was born in Castlebar 1852 and he moved to Australia in 1861 with his parents. We are going to still claim him though. He was the inventor of the first practical guided missile or torpedo in 1877.

He also invented Brennan’s Gyroscopic Monorail. When Winston Churchill came to view it, he remarked, “Sir, your invention promises to revolutionize the railway systems of the world”.

Over the next three years, Churchill did his utmost to ensure Brennan’s invention would become the must-have transport system of the 20th century. He did not succeed, but nonetheless, Brennan must surely be Ireland’s most remarkable inventor.

In January 1932, he was knocked down by a car at Montreux Switzerland and died on 17 January 1932. On 11 March 2014, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny unveiled a Plaque for Brennan at in Castlebar at a ceremony honoring the inventor’s life and career.

  1. Humphrey O’Sullivan- Invented the Rubber Sole

Humprey O’Sullivan was a native of Skibbereen Co. Cork, like many Irish he emigrated to the States where he found working in a print shop and standing all day was killing his feet, so he attached small pieces of rubber to the soles of his shoes.

Humphrey gave up the printing profession, and today that $25,000 is valued in excess of 150 million dollars. The growth in recent years is the result of O’Sullivan Corporation moving from the rubber calendaring industry to the production of vinyl sheeting for many end uses. O’Sullivan now calenders vinyl for the automotive, medical, and industrial markets. Automotive products can be post embossed, laminated, printed, painted, and top coated to exact colour and gloss specifications. O’Sullivan vinyl is further processed by our customers into instrument and door panels.

These are installed in vehicles made by Ford. Chrysler, G.M., Honda, Toyota, Mazda, and Saturn. Medical products include vinyl for hospital air mattresses, blood bags and inflatable splints. Industrial product markets are swimming pool liners, loose-leaf binders, checkbook covers, furniture upholstery, luggage

covers, roofing materials, geomembrane pond liners, tractor seats, and gym equipment.

O’Sullivan employs approximately 1,000 people working together for a common goal… producing a quality product in the safest manner for total customer satisfaction. O’Sullivan has plants located in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Distribution warehouses are located in Pennsylvania for the east coast, Missouri for the midwest, and Nevada for the west coast.

  1. Patrick J McDonald- Invented ???

Patrick J McDonald was an Irish Immigrant, he immigrated as a baby in 1877, He opened a small food stand called “The Airdome” in Monrovia, California in the late 1930s. The stand served burgers and orange juice that cost ten and five cents, respectively.

By 1940, Patrick’s sons Dick and Mac McDonald had inherited and been operating their father’s small business, and moved the restaurant’s location in San Bernardino, California.

The brothers turned this into a restaurant whose featured dish involved barbecues. (with 25 barbecue items included in their menu), but the burgers still remained in their menu.

It was in the year 1948 where the true foundations of McDonald’s lay. When Mac and Dick McDonald realized that the burgers became more sought-after and successful sellers than their BBQ’s, the brothers reorganized their business into a burger restaurant. Their present menu since the refurbishing consisted of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, soft drinks, apple pies and milkshakes. It was quite a simple menu compared to their previous BBQ offering, but the very simplicity gave the business astounding success.

Five years after McDonald’s was established, the brothers opened its doors to franchising. Their first branch was erected in Phoenix, Arizona. Not long after, another branch opened in Downey, California, which is now McDonald’s oldest operating restaurant. Patrick McDonald did not technically start McDonalds but without him would it have started??

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