A descendant of the Irish-born inventor of the modern submarine has created a sculpture made from recycled aircraft parts in his honor.
John Phillip Holland, who grew up in Co Clare before emigrating to the United States, designed the first modern submarine in the 1870s – a design officially commissioned by the US Navy.
The aviation and naval engineer also worked on early flying machine designs.
One of the inventor’s descendants is the celebrated Irish industrial designer Shane Holland. As a tribute to his famous ancestor, he has now created a huge 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in) sculpture made of aluminum, titanium and recycled glass.
Recycled parts from a Boeing 707 are incorporated into the part called Submarinocurraplane.
Mr Holland’s homage to aviation, marine engineering and historic craftsmanship will be on display at the Art Source fair at the RDS in Dublin later this month.
Mr Holland said: “I first discovered I was distantly related to John Phillip Holland when another relative, who I had never met, arrived at my workshop in Duleek, Co Meath before Covid-19 to tell me to tell about the connections.
“I also have the same initials as JP Holland. I was named “John” after my father, but my mother immediately changed it to the Irish derivative of “Shane” to avoid confusion in the house.
“I work closely with the people at the recycling company near my workshop and one day they called me and told me to go there because they were expecting a truckload of aviation items that they knew I would be interested in .
“There were amazing pieces of Boeing 707 aircraft and when I put them together they almost looked like a submarine, so I immediately decided to create a sculpture to honor this huge maritime invention of my ancestor,” Mr Holland said .
“I am captain of the Currach team in Skerries and a boat builder. Therefore I used currach making techniques to complete the sculpture form, just as Holland would have used currachs both in his home town of Co Clare and along the Boyne.
“He also taught maths and music in Drogheda, Co. Louth, and tested early submersible boat designs with his students on the River Boyne, near me, so there are many parallels between us.”
He added: “I think what John Holland achieved was enormous and yet he died in poverty. But I think if I met him at Art Source I would say, “You’re the kind of person who keeps going until he achieves his dream.” I’d like to think I’m like him in that way too. “
More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the Art Source Show from November 10th to 12th. The fair will feature 200 of the best contemporary Irish and international artists and galleries. – P.A