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    15 Things The Irish Have Given The World.

    The Irish are recognized as a highly inventive and cultural people. For a small nation, they’ve punched well above their weight and made a big contribution to the world we live in today. Without the Irish things just wouldn’t be the same in the World.

    Here are just 15 Things The Irish Have Given The World – 

    The Submarine

    Although the Submarine was invented in America, it was an Irishman who gave the world a safe way of journeying underwater. John Philip Holland, born in 1841 in County Clare, changed the way deep sea exploration could be conducted. Holland’s first prototype sank on its very first voyage. In 1881, he launched Fenian Ram, a three man submarine that could dive to a depth of 45 feet underwater  and it was a success. He won three competitions held by the US Naval Department to design and construct submarines. After successful tests, the US Navy bought its first submarine Holland VII and they continue to develop John Holland’s technology.

    See the John Holland Memorial Statue during a visit to Liscannor in County Clare, 5 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher.

    John Holland Statue, Liscannor, County Clare. © KDC Jr –

    Distilling Apparatus

    Aeneas Coffey, a Dublin-born customs and excise inspector, spent years hunting illicit whiskey makers only to switch in 1824 and open his own distillery. In 1830, Aeneas Coffey introduced the first heat-exchange device in the world. This apparatus led to significant developments in distilling. The liquid it produced was so pure that it lacked flavour, so Irish distillers continued using pot stills. Coffey’s apparatus was ideal for the chemical industry and English gin makers, however. It also suited Scottish distillers, who were happy to blend in a little malt to flavour their whiskey.

    During a tour of Westmeath you could visit the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distillery, the oldest distillery in the world, dating back to 1757. A trip to this well-known County Westmeath attraction will enable you to discover the history of authentic artisan Irish whiskey, as well as to sample it for yourself and to see the remnants of an original Coffey Still.

    Kilbeggan Distillery, Co. Westmeath © HighKing

    The Pneumatic Tyre. 

    In the late 19th Century , riding a bicycle was a fairly rough experience. Solid tyres meant that every bump and cobblestone could be felt and broken wheels were a time consuming irritant. Although born in Scotland, John Boyd Dunlop had relocated to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he worked as a veterinary surgeon. His son complained how uncomfortable cycling was so John Dunlop set about “reinventing the wheel”. The result in 1889 was the Pneumatic Tyre. The new air filled tyre was such a success that a local bike racer, William Hume asked to be allowed to use them. It was a revelation and at a competition in Belfast he raced to victory. An entrepreneur Harvey du Cros, spotted the potential for the tyre and went into business with Dunlop. Within the year the first Dunlop factory opened in Dublin and the pneumatic tyre revolutionised cycling.

    Escape the bustle of urban life on the Great Western Greenway, the longest off-road cycling and walking trail in Ireland. Meandering along the old Westport to Achill railway line which closed in 1937, this 42km almost entirely traffic-free route is ideal for getting out for a cycle and an adventure in Ireland.

    Bicycle in Georgian Dublin © Failte Ireland

    The Ejector Seat.

    Sir James Martin was born in Crossgar, County Down in 1893. He was an engineer who by the young age of 29, had set up a business – The Martin Baker Aircraft Company, which originally made aircraft. Captain Valentine Baker  was killed while testing the Martin-Baker MB3 prototype in September 1942. It was the death of his best friend and business partner that lead James Martin to devote the rest of his life to pilot safety. Martin found a brave Irish fitter working in his factory called Bernard Lynch who was willing to test this dangerous new technology. The first static ejection test took place on 24th January 1945 with Bernard Lynch in the hot seat. Martin’s idea was successful and it was approved by the RAF. Within a year, the whole RAF fleet had been installed with ejector seats.

    Bernard Lynch getting ready to test the Ejector Seat ©


    Guinness is the most popular and successful export of Ireland. Arthur Guinness started brewing the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Leixlip, County Kildare before moving to St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin City. Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year contract in 1759, showing how confident he was in his product.  On your next visit to Dublin visit ‘the home of the black stuff,’  the Guinness Storehouse, which gives visitors a unique chance to assimilate the history of the country’s most famous beverage, culminating in a perfectly poured pint at the rooftop Gravity Bar overlooking the capital city.

    Guinness Gates at the Guinness Brewery, Dublin City. Photographer/Creator: The Cake Factory ©Diageo


    Portable Defibrillator.

    Professor Frank Pantridge invented the emergency defibrillator, changing and modernizing emergency medicine in the process. In 1965, the first prototype was installed in a Belfast ambulance. Since then, emergency defibrillators have become an important first aid tool and saved a lot of lives. See the memorial statue of Frank Pantridge during a visit to Lisburn in Northern Ireland.

    Frank Pantridge Statue, Lisburn Northern Ireland ©

    Bacon Rasher. 

    Henry Denny invented the bacon rasher in 1820. The Waterford butcher patented a number of bacon-curing methods and re-invented the way of curing bacon. Bacon was previously cured by soaking huge portions of meat in brine. To increase the longevity of the meat, Henry Denny sandwiched long flat pieces of pork between layers of dry salt. He started exporting to the Americas, mainland Europe and India. Henry Denny’s name still lives on in the company that bears his name. ‘Denny’s’ would go on to invent the skinless sausage in 1941.

    On a visit to Ireland you can sample the Bacon Rasher as part of a delicious Full Irish Breakfast.

    Full Irish Breakfast © Pier Hotel Limerick

    The Hypodermic Syringe.

    Where would we be without the hypodermic syringe? Much loved by doctors and nurses and feared by almost everyone else, the hypodermic syringe is one of the most common surgical instruments in the world. The hollow needle was invented in Dublin in March 1845, at the Meath Hospital, by Francis Rynd, as a way of introducing fluids into the body of a patient. He published his results in the journal Dublin Medical Press, and the idea was taken up around the world.

    Hypodermic Syringes – Francis Rynd © Image from

    Tayto Crisps. 

    Tayto Crisps were established by Joe ‘Spud’ Murphy in 1954 at a time when most crisps were imported from the UK and were unflavored (bar the small blue bag of salt included in each bag to enhance the flavour). Spotting a niche in the Irish market, Joe Murphy set up his own crisp factory. Credited with inventing the first ever Cheese & Onion flavored crisps, the brand name Tayto has now become synonymous with crisps across Ireland. Production of the Cheese & Onion flavour crisps started in a factory on Moore Street, Dublin, where after being packed by hand in waxed grease proof paper, the crisps were delivered to the retailer in an airtight tin, to help maintain their freshness. His invention changed crisps and companies from different parts of the world have since replicated his work. Tayto has also been providing a taste of home to many of the Irish diaspora for many years.

    On a tour of County Meath, visit Tayto Park, Ireland’s only Theme Park which offers a huge variety of things to see, do and experience! Tayto Park has attractions for all ages, from thrill-seekers looking for an adrenalin rush to younger guests who can enjoy fun and exciting activities including a factory tour and meeting Mr. Tayto himself.

    Tayto Park, County Meath © Tayto Park

    Love of Animals.

    The Irish are known over the world for their horses, and they have always had a close relationship with animals because of their rural existence. Yet it was an Irishman who was central in the establishment of the first group to protect animals from cruelty. The Society for the Protection Of Cruelty To Animals, the predecessor of societies across the world that protect animals, wouldn’t have happened without Richard Martin, otherwise known as Humanity Dick. Richard Martin, the King of Connemara, was born in 1754 to a family of wealthy Galway merchants. He was elected a member of parliament for Galway and lobbied extensively to stop cruelty to animals. He was was well known in London for arresting people he felt were maltreating their animals and once famously brought a donkey to court as a witness in a trial against its cruel owner. Eccentric he may have been but Humanity Dick was a friend of the animals.

    On your visit to Ireland maybe have an overnight stay at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, which was a former residence of Richard Martin.

    Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, County Galway © Big Smoke Studio

    Modern Tractor.

    Harry Ferguson invented the tractor’s original Ferguson System in 1926.  It has the same basic design for modern tractors used today. Known as The Mad Mechanic, Ferguson also invented his own plane, race car and motorcycle. He was the first Irish man to fly in 1909. He also built the very first 4-wheeled Formula-One car.

    During a visit to Dan O’Hara’s Homestead in Connemara, County Galway enjoy a guided Tour in the Tractor Drawn Carriage. This award-winning heritage centre offers a unique insight into the history and heritage of Connemara and can include turf cutting demonstrations and sheep herding.

    Dan O’Hara’s Homestead, Connemara, Co .Galway © Lazydaze2012 (Oct 2018) ©

    Cream Cracker.

    W.R. Jacob, created the cream cracker in 1885 in his bakery on Bridge Street in Waterford City from yeast dough that was left to ferment for 24 hours. It was flattened and then folded numerous times to create a layered biscuit. Jacob’s Cream Crackers that have been a family favorite since their inception are now produced by machines that can create approximately one million crackers an hour. They are also available to buy in over 35 countries worldwide. Jacob’s inventiveness did not stop at the cream cracker; as they went on to invent the Fig Roll in 1903. The secret of how they get the fig in the roll remains a mystery to this day.

    Jacobs Cream Crackers © Jacobs

    Colour Photography.

    Modern day photographers owe a debt of gratitude to a man from the Irish midlands. John Joly was born near the village of Bracknagh in Co. Offaly in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and was an engineering graduate from Trinity College. In 1894, Joly invented a system of colour photography that was based on taking viewing plates with many narrow lines in three colours. Joly would mark the viewing plate with thin coloured lines and would then place the glass in the camera in front of the picture; the photograph could then be taken. This process was much simpler than anything that had come before. It is now widely accepted that he was responsible for the first practical method of colour photography.

    Make sure to take nothing but photographs on your vacation of a lifetime in Ireland.

    Errigal Mountain, Co. Donegal © Chris Hill Photographic

    Irish Coffee. 

    At Foynes, County Limerick on the Wild Atlantic Way, the first transatlantic passenger flights from the United States arrived, and it was also in Foynes that Chef Joe Sheridan invented the world’s most famous drink the ‘Irish Coffee’, way back in in 1943. On a tour of Ireland make sure to visit the Foynes Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick and sample this uniquely Irish Treat where it was invented.

    You can also enjoy an Irish Coffee demonstration during a relaxing, scenic cruise on the Corrib Princess in Galway.

    However while you are waiting to travel to Ireland you might like to attempt to make your own Irish Coffee –


    Irish Coffee at O’Neill’s Pub Dublin City © O’Neill’s Pub Dublin City


    The Original Irish Coffee Recipe. 

    Step One: Preheat your Irish coffee glass by filling it with boiling water for 5 seconds, then pour the water out. 

    Step Two: Add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a good measure of Irish whiskey into the warmed glass. 

    Step Three: Fill the glass to within 1 cm of the brim with hot, strong black coffee. Stir well to dissolve all the brown sugar. 

    Step Four: Carefully pour lightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the coffee. 

    Step Five: Do not stir after adding the cream; optimal flavor comes from drinking the coffee and Irish whiskey through the cream. 

    Enjoy your traditional Irish coffee! Cheers or, as we say in Ireland, Sláinte meaning “health”.

    Foyne’s Island Viewing Point, Co. Limerick ©Fáilte Ireland

    Trans-Atlantic Calls. 

    In 1865, an Irish man established the Atlantic Telegraph Cable. Lord Kelvin Thomson helped in laying the cable that ran from Newfoundland to Valentia in County Kerry. His intense interest in thermodynamics and measurement of temperature also led to the development of The Kelvin Scale.

    An Fon Gaoithe in the Dublin Mountains – Image © Altruchas ©

    Fill Your Heart With Ireland.  

    Considering making your own Trans-Atlantic call to Ireland in 2021? Then make sure to give Specialized Travel Services a call.

    We love hearing from our friends around the world who share a passion for Ireland like our team here at Specialized Travel Services and we’re more than happy to answer your travel to Ireland queries. Just drop us a line at

    There is a wonderful treasure trove in Ireland waiting to be explored and to find out more please don’t hesitate to get in touch 

    You could also have a look at our private chauffeur vacations for even more ideas on what to visit in Ireland. Our team of fully qualified driver guides would be delighted to explore the hidden gems of the Emerald Isle with you.






    Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is an aerial view of County Clare © Chris Hill


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      Irish Coffee Photographer/Creator: Carsten Krieger © Failte Ireland
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      Tractor in Co. Mayo © Tourism Ireland
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      Cycling at Fanad Lighthouse © Failte Ireland


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