Ireland, a small little island, with a population of just 6.4 million, has always punched above its weight. However, it’s only when you take a moment to think about the nation’s contributions to the world it becomes astounding.

From the literature to food, inventions and armory the Irish have been there throughout centuries of innovation.

The submarine

Yes! Without the Irish “The Hunt for Red October” would have been a very different movie.

This amazing machine was invented by John Phillip Holland, an engineer from County Clare. In 1900 this Irishman was the first to be formally commissioned to create this underwater beast for the US Navy.

Holland also came up with other subaquatic additions for his machine, including the screw propeller, a hydrocarbon engine, the submarine gun, and an auto-drive mechanism. 

Flavored potato chips…yes, Tayto!

In 1954 a man named John Murphy turned our taste buds on their head with the introduction of cheese and onion crisps [potato chips].

Murphy later made his fortune by selling the seasoning technology to an American company.

However, the Irish still have one secret…the cheese and onion crisp sandwich. Void of nutrition, but absolutely scrumptious.

The tank

It was engineer Walter Gordon Wilson from Blackrock, Co Dublin who came up with a battle buggy that was the first of the modern, powerful armored vehicles now commonly used in all modern conflicts.

However, it was Winston Churchill, then the United Kingdom's First Lord of the Admiralty, who in 1915 issued the commission for a vehicle that was "capable of resisting bullets and shrapnel, crossing trenches, flattening barbed wire, and negotiating the mud of no-man’s land."

You’re welcome!

Soda water

Whether you’re using this beverage to remove a stain on your clothes or to mix with your whiskey or Campari at happy hour you’ve a Trinity College professor to thank.

In 1800 Robert Percival, a professor at TCD came up with this beverage now known around the world.

The tractor

If it had not been for a County Down man farming as we know it would be a much more labour intensive profession…or there’d be a lot of really tired horses.

Harry Ferguson, a bicycle repairman from County Down, invented the modern tractor. This Irish innovator didn’t stop there either. He went on to invent the first four-wheel drive Formula One car and also built and flew his own airplane.

His name lives on in the Massey Ferguson company, which continues to specialize in tractor manufacturing.

Color photography

Think about all those colorful cute selfies we would have missed out on or more importantly actual key moments of history that have been skillfully captured with color photography.

You guessed it. It’s all down to an Irishman.

John Joly, one of Ireland’s most accomplished scientists, came up with the technique of producing color photographs in 1894.

This Holywood House, County Wicklow, resident literally changed the way we see the world.


Okay hear us out on this one.

The Dublin band kicked off in 1976. Since then the band has sold over 145 million albums and won 22 Grammy awards. Their greatest legacy, however, is their social activism.

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, "You have made people listen. You have made people care, and you have taught us that whether we are poor or prosperous, we have only one world to share. You have taught young people that they do have the power to change the world."


“Yeah! Science”

It may sound strange that one man could invent “Chemistry” but in 1661 Robert Boyle, the seventh son and fourteenth child of fifteen of Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, published “The Sceptical Chymist.” His book laid out his groundbreaking theory of elements as the undecomposable constituents of material bodies and is still used as the basis of Chemistry taught in schools.


Okay so obviously we aren’t going to take credit for the English language but no one could deny how much the Irish have contributed to Irish literature.

From the searing satire of Jonathan Swift to James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, the Irish have always displayed an enviable gift of gab through world renowned literature.

For those of you keeping track at home, Irish writers won the Nobel Prize for Literature three times in the 20th century, which is a remarkable record for a tiny island.


A pint of plain, mother’s milk, a scoop! Whatever you call it everybody knows Guinness. This Irish stout is literally one of the most recognizable commodities known around the world, next to Coca Cola.

Arthur Guinness first began brewing ales in Leixlip, County Kildare before transferring his booming business to Dublin’s St. James's Gate Brewery, where he signed an unprecedented 9,000-year lease at £45 per year. More than 250 years later Guinness is still going strong.