A new €15 limited edition silver proof collector coin honouring John Philip Holland, the Irish born inventor of the modern submarine, was launched on Monday in Oranmore by the Central Bank of Ireland.
The coin, which was launched at the Marine Institute, features a representative image of the inventor’s hand poised to place the final stroke of a technical drawing of the USS Holland, complete with a decorative nautilus spiral, with the obverse bearing the traditional representation of the Irish harp. The coin, which was designed by Mary Gergoriy, is part of the Irish Science and Inventions coin series, and has an issue limit of 10,000 units.
Speaking at the launch, Central Bank director of currency and facilities management, Paul Molumby said: “This is the first in a new series that the Central Bank will issue to honour Ireland’s impressive scientific and technological tradition. John Philip Holland’s life and achievements were extraordinary. He played a significant role in the development of submarine navigation and following his emigration to the USA, he designed the first working submarine.”
Holland (February 29 1840 to August 12 1914 ) was an engineer, born in Liscannor, County Clare, who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the US navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, the Holland 1. One of four brothers, Holland was born in Liscannor, County Clare, and grew up to join the Irish Christian Brothers in Limerick before teaching at various CBS schools. Due to ill health he left the Christian Brothers in 1873 and that same year emigrated to the US. Initially working for an engineering firm, Holland returned to teaching for a further six years in St John’s Catholic School in Paterson, New Jersey.
In 1875, Holland’s first submarine designs were submitted for consideration by the US Navy, but were turned down as unworkable. Funding then came from the Fenians and in 1881 the Fenian Ram was launched. However, Holland and the Fenians fell out and parted company. Holland continued to improve his designs before successfully building his own private submarine which was launched on May 17, 1897. The submarine was purchased by the US Navy on April 11, 1900, and was commissioned on October 12 1900 as USS Holland. The USS Holland design was also adopted by others, including the Royal Navy, in developing the Holland-class submarine. The Imperial Japanese Navy employed a modified version of the basic design for their first five submarines. Holland also designed the Holland II and the Holland III prototypes.
Coins can be purchased by downloading an order form from www.centralbank.ie, by phoning 1890 307 607 or directly from the Central Bank on Dame Street in Dublin at a cost of €44.