A Long Way from Clare to here

Submarine - USS Growler
Today marks the 99th anniversary of the death of John Philip Holland, who is generally regarded as the inventor of the modern submarine. He was born in Liscannor in Co. Clare in 1841, became a teacher but moved to the United States in 1873. He spent most of his life in the US developing small submarines. He was a lifelong Irish republican – his first submarine was called the Fenian Ram – and his early efforts were funded by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (with a view to developing a weapon that could sink British ships). Ironically,  his submarine design was adopted by the Royal Navy and used in World War I.

A detailed account of John Holland’s life can be found here .

The picture above is of the periscope of the USS Growler. It was a Cold War US submarine that was designed to sneak up close to the coastline of the Soviet Union, surface (and therefore be detected), roll out a nuclear missile & launcher from a hanger on its deck, and fire it at a target just before being obliterated by a retaliatory strike. It’s primary function was as a deterrent – luckily, it never got to fulfil its secondary purpose.

Note: In error, I originally scheduled this post to be published on August 2nd, instead of the 12th.