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Submarines: John Philip Holland
John Philip Holland, an Irish-American immigrant, was the first person to successfully launch a submarine. The first sub was named the “Fenian Ram.” By 1900 the U.S. Navy was formally commissioning the production of submarines based on Holland's design.
Cars, Tanks, Guided Missiles, Monorails & Helicopters: Sir Winston Churchill & Louis Brennan
During the First World War, Dublin-raised Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary of Great Britain, commissioned the design of a vehicle “capable of resisting bullets and shrapnel, crossing trenches, flattening barbed wire, and negotiating the mud of no-man’s land.”
That design become the precursor to the modern tank.
Another Irishman, Louis Brennan, came up with the design for the first guided missile system for coastal defense (essentially a steerable torpedo), the first functional helicopter, monorail trains and also the ejector seat. Another Irishman and engineer, James Martin, co-founded the Martin-Baker company, which to his very day produces ejector seats for military aircraft.
We probably also shouldn't forget Henry Ford, who was the American-born son of an Irishman, and invented the means of mass-producing automobiles, as well as pretty much everything else in the modern industrial age that uses an assembly line.
Columnar Distillation: Aeneas Coffey
Aeneas Coffey may be Ireland's and also St. Paddy's Day's greatest legacy. You see, prior to the invention of the columnar distillation process, the manufacturing of distilled alcoholic beverages — whiskeys, vodkas, gins, rums, brandies, tequilas, you name it — all were done with "pot stills," or small-scale production processes which were not economically feasible for mass production of these boozy libations.
So when you're having your Irish Coffee the day after St. Pat's to bring you out of your hangover, thank another Coffey: Mr. Aeneas, for allowing whiskey to be consumed by Irish and hard drinkers the world over.