Documentary to mark Irishman who invented modern submarine

A major documentary on John Holland, the Irishman who invented the modern submarine, is being planned to mark the centenary of his death next year.

A former Cork teacher has persuaded an American author and journalist, who has made an immense contribution to the recognition in the US of some of Ireland�s leading historical figures, to play a key role in the project.

Tony Duggan, the retired deputy principal of the gaelchol�iste at the North Mon in Cork City, will accompany New Jersey-based author Terry Golway on his visit to Cork this week to explore Holland�s Irish roots.

Mr Golway and his family, who are planning to visit his father-in-law�s old house in Cobh today, will be received at City Hall by Lord Mayor John Buttimer tomorrow.

Mr Golway is a regular contributor to the Irish Echo, the Boston Globe, American Heritage, and the New York Times, and has also worked as city editor with the New York Observer. He has written several books about leading Irish historical figures, including Ireland�s Heroes: The Irish in America, Irish Rebel: John Devoy, and America�s Fight for Ireland�s Freedom, among others.

Now he is turning his attention to John Philip Holland.

�This is a story that needs to be told,� said Mr Duggan.

�He was an Irish genius who hasn�t really been given the acclaim and fame that he deserves outside America.�

Holland�s father, John Holland Sr, was born in Bantry around 1800, and lived in Ballymartle. He joined the British coastguard in 1822 and was posted at Ringabella in Co Cork.

John Philip was born in Liscannor, Co Clare, in 1841, and taught in the North Mon Secondary School from 1858 to 1861.

During his time there he drew up his first submarine designs and conducted several experiments of wooden prototype craft in the North Mon�s ornamental pond and in the River Lee.

He left the Christian Brothers in 1873 without taking his final vows and emigrated to Liverpool to join his mother and two brothers.

He went on to teach in New Jersey where he refined his submarine designs. By 1897, his first submarine was launched in the US. By Oct 1900, the Holland 6 was commissioned into the US Navy.

He later designed the first submarines in the British, Japanese, and Dutch navies � craft which changed the course of history.

For many years, he was regarded as a forgotten genius but experts have recognised his contribution to naval technology, comparing his invention to the Wright Brothers� contribution to flight.

Mr Duggan said it would be a dream come true if Holland�s story was told from an Irish angle by an Irish production company.

A production company has expressed an interest and it is working to secure funding.


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