29 February-John Phillip Holland

John Phillip Holland, who is known as the father of the modern submarine, was a native of Co Clare Ireland. Holland’s submarine design was initially accepted by the US Navy and later by other navies around the world.

John Phillip Holland was born in Liscannor, County Clare in 1840. His father was a coastal patrolman with the British Coastguard Service. Holland grew up speaking Irish and only learned English at his local national school in Liscannor. Having completed primary education he attended the Christian Brothers School (CBS) in Ennistymon until his family moved to Limerick city where he attended Limerick CBS. He later joined the Christian Brothers. He was a teacher of mathematics in schools in Armagh, Portlaoise, Enniscorthy Drogheda, Cork and Dundalk until 1872.

Holland left the Christian Brothers and emigrated to the United States in 1873. He settled in Patterson, New Jersey where he became a teacher at St John’s School which was run by the CBS. In 1879 Holland, with financial support from the Fenian Society in America, built a small submarine. The submarine, which was called the Fenian Ram, had limited success at first. The Fenians had hoped to use the submarine against the British navy but the plans never materialised. The Fenian Ram is now in the museum in Patterson New Jersey.

Holland continued to develop his design and his submarine had a successful test off Staten Island in New York harbour on St Patrick’s day 1898. The submarine was purchased by the US navy and was named USS Holland. Six more submarines of a similar type were built for the US Navy. Holland later designed the first submarines for the British, Dutch and Japanese navies. He died at the age of 74 on August 12th 1914 in Newark, New Jersey, USA.

John Phillip Holland, who built the first submarine was born in Liscannor Co Clare, Ireland, in the year 1840 On This Day.

JohnPhilipHolland by PatersonGreatFalls – please browse our albums on 2015-01-25 14:32:35

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