Drogheda's Newest Monument

Old Drogheda Society

 It's all ahead at the worksite of Drogheda's Newest Monument

It’s been all hands on deck in recent weeks to complete Drogheda’s newest memorial, honouring the inventor of the first workable submarine.

John Philip Holland, born in County Clare in 1841, the son of a Lighthouse keeper, he attended the Christian Brothers School in Limerick and later joined the Christian Brothers in Cork.

1865 saw him arrive at the Christian Brothers Convent Drogheda where he took up the post of mathematics and music teacher. Throughout his time as a Christian Brother, he never abandoned his passion for engineering and applying mathematical solutions to engineering problems.

It was during his residence at the Drogheda Convent, which is today Scholars Townhouse Hotel, that he designed the submersible mechanical Duck (which could walk around the garden and swim, dive and resurface when put in water) he then designed what was to become the world’s first workable submarine; the Fenian Ram.

In 1873 Holland left both the Christian Brothers and Ireland for America, to pursue turning his submarine design into an actual vessel. He secured funding from the Boston based Fenian Organisation to establish the Electric Boat Company which still exists today as the submarine manufacturing division of General Dynamics.

He supplied the US Navy with their first ever submarine which was named the USS Holland. He also supplied the first submarine to The Royal Navy which they named HMS Holland 1. The Emperor of Japan bestowed on him their highest civilian honour ‘The Order of The Rising Sun’ and he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.

His first submarine, the ‘Fenian Ram’ is permanently on display at the Paterson Museum, New Jersey, U.S.A.

This memorial is to celebrate his association with Drogheda and commemorate the extraordinary contributions of John Philip Holland to Naval and Maritime engineering worldwide.

The unveiling ceremony is scheduled to take place at 3pm on Saturday 14th. June (Invitation Only) in Scholars Hotel gardens to coincide with the Irish Maritime Festival.

Old Drogheda Society - History, Archaeology & Heritage

Millmount, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland. Tel. 041-9833097

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