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John P Holland

Honouring Sub inventor John P Holland

This Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of submarine inventor John P. Holland and to mark the anniversary a special commemorative event will take place in North Clare at the end of this month.

Liscannor Development Committee will host a day of events honouring the life and achievements of the local inventor on Sunday, August 31, as part of Heritage Week 2014. The event at Liscannor Harbour will feature the unveiling of a commemorative stone and a talk on Holland’s life, a film of his achievements, music and songs of the sea, and a photography and children’s art exhibition.

John Philip Holland was born in Liscannor in 1841. His father, John Holland senior patrolled the headlands of County Clare as a rider with the British Coastguard Service.

The young Holland was a teacher in Ireland until 1872 when he immigrated to the USA, where he taught in Paterson, New Jersey, until 1879.

He drew up plans of submarines and in 1881, with funds from Irish associates, launched a small submarine called “The Fenian Ram”. He was later awarded a contract to build a submarine for the US Navy.

In 1900, the Navy bought the Holland VI for $150,000, about half of its design cost, and later renamed it The USS Holland. The vessel could travel 800km on the surface of the sea and 40km submerged.

One US newspaper described it as “Uncle Sam’s Devil of the Deep”. Other countries, including Great Britain, Japan and the Netherlands, purchased Holland’s submarine designs.

Holland died on August 12, 1914, just months before a German submarine sank a British vessel at the start of World War I.

The John P. Holland Commemoration is one of 75 Heritage Week events being coordinated by Clare County Council and The Heritage Council, with support from the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and Fáilte Ireland.

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