What are the Irish famous for?

We're simple folk famous for very few things. Usually drinking, Guinness is a pride in our country. Have you ever seen an Irish Euro? That harp on the back is the Guinness harp backwards. Guinness owned it first you see and the Irish government asked to use it, but they said no so they put it on backwards. So I'm sure that tells you how famous it is in Ireland alone. I'm pretty sure the world over the Irish are known for Drinking.


We're noted for a lot other than literature, education and the overused stereotypes of alcohol, fighting, dedicated soldiers, mercenaries, revolutionary guerrilla warfare and terror tactics and the auld spuds!

The Irish have contributed much to the world.

In pre-historical times, the Ogham alphabet was created here. In the 14th Century, Caid was invented (the precursor to modern Gaelic football) along with Whisky (sorry Scotland, the evidence is there. We still love you though!). In the 17th Century, Irish road bowling was invented, Robert Boyle founded the basis of Modern Chemistry through The Sceptical Chymist in 1661. A year later, he would conjure the well-know experimental gas law, Boyle's Law. In the 18th Century, the concept of an entrepreneur was founded by Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon in 1730. Between 1680–1740, drinking chocolate was invented by Hans Sloane.

The 19th Century was the golden era for Irish inventors with many being responsible for the following groundbreaking inventions:

  • 1800: Carbonated Water was discovered in Trinity College Dublin.
  • 1805: The Beaufort Scale was created by Francis Beaufort.
  • 1809: Milk of Magnesia was discovered by the physician James Murray.
  • 1813: The Clanny Safety Lamp was created by William Reid Clanny.
  • 1820: On the 30th January, Edward Bransfield discovered the Antarctic Continent (He found the mainland, the islands were discovered during earlier expeditions).
  • 1820: The Bacon Rasher was invented by Henry Denny. He is also credited with creating several bacon-curing techniques and completely revolutionised the process of curing bacon.
  • 1820-25: "Extra Stout" beer was developed by Arthur Guinness II and others.
  • 1831: The Column still design was enhanced and patented by Aeneas Coffey.
  • 1832: The Kyanising Process for wood preservation was created by John Howard Kyan.
  • 1834-35: The game of Croquet was invented here (I think).
  • 1836: The Induction Coil created by Father Nicholas Callan (a descendant of one of my best friends).
  • 1843: The Quaternion was first described by Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
  • 1844: The Hollow Needle in the syringe was created by Francis Rynd.
  • 1848: The Kelvin Scale was created by William Thompson.
  • 1851: The discipline of Seismology was founded by Robert Mallet, who used dynamite explosions to measure the speed of elastic waves in surface rocks - pioneering and coining the word 'seismology'.
  • 1851: The Binaural Stethoscope was created by Arthur Leared.
  • 1856: Icosian Calculus was discovered by Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
  • 1860: The Greenhouse Effect Theory was proven by John Tyndall.
  • 1865: The first Transatlantic Telegraph Cable was pioneered by William Thompson on Valentia Island, off the coast of County Kerry.
  • 1866: The Standard Drop method of hanging was developed by Dr Samuel Haughton.
  • 1868 The Tyndall Effect was discovered by John Tyndall.
  • 1874: The Electron was introduced as a concept by George Johnstone Stoney.
  • 1874: The Brennan Torpedo was created by Louis Brennan. Hard to believe a peace-loving people would create the grandfather of the guided missile isn't it? He is also credited with inventing the first helicopter, though his prototype crashed and burned in 1925.
  • 1879: The rules of Hurling were first standardised with the foundation of the Irish Hurling Union.
  • 1880: The activity of "Boycotting" would be triggered by Charles Boycott over a dispute with the Irish Land League. His name is now immortalised in this act of abstention.
  • 1884: The Compound Steam Turbine was developed by Anglo-Irish engineer Charles Algernon Parsons. The Parsons family were resident in Birr, Co. Offaly at the time.
  • 1885: The Cream Cracker was invented by Joseph Haughton in his home in Dublin and was first manufactured by William Jacob in his bakery in Dublin.
  • 1888: Gregg Shorthand phonography was created by John Robert Gregg.
  • 1894: The Joly Colour Screen was created by John Joly.
  • 1891: The Tattoo Machine was created by Samuel O'Reilly.
  • 1897: The Modern Submarine design was created by John Philip Holland.
  • 1899: The Rubber Sole in shoes was invented by Cork-born Humphrey O'Sullivan to reduce the pain in his feet from standing all day.
  • The Saccharimeter was created by Rev. John Jellet from Cashel, Co. Tipperary (1817–1888).

The inventions didn't stop there. In the 20th Century, more emerged:

  • 1900: The Reflector Sight was created by Howard Grubb.
  • 1910s: Radiotherapy was developed by John Joly.
  • 1911: The world's first tank was created in Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
  • 1926: The Three Point Linkage, patented by Harry Ferguson, an Irish-born engineer and inventor of Scottish descent who is noted for his role in the development of the modern agricultural tractor, for being the first person in Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane, and for developing the first four-wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99.
  • 1930: The Nickel-Zinc Battery was created by Dr. James Drumm.
  • 1930s: The first disintegration of an atomic nucleus by artificially accelerated protons (splitting the atom) was discovered by Ernest Walton and his colleagues.
  • 1946: The Ejection Seat - the first live test of a reliable, successful modern ejection seat developed by James Martin.
  • 1950: Joseph 'Spud' Murphy and his employee Seamus Burke produced the world's first seasoned crisps: Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar, thus creating the world famous Tayto Crisps. Companies worldwide sought to buy the rights to Tayto's technique.
  • 1954: Clofazimine (the cure for leprosy) was first synthesized by a medical research team led by Cork scientist and researcher, Vincent Barry at Trinity College, Dublin.
  • 1965: The Portable Defibrillator was created by Frank Pantridge.
  • 1967: The Pulsar neutron star or white dwarf was co-discovered by Jocelyn Bell Burnell.
  • 1970s: The Positive End-Expiratory Pressure technique for treatment of pulmonary contusion was developed by the staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

We've exported many hard-working people around the world also. Many of the world's greatest leaders can trace their ancestry here, including at least 22 US Presidents, the Duke of Wellington, even Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery one of the commanders of the Allied Forces during the Second World War. We're even known for introducing the first organised crime family in US history, in the city of Chicago. The woman who shot Benito Mussolini in 1926, Violet Gibson, was a Dubliner. Even Adolf Hitler had an Irish relatives working in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin City and an Irish-German nephew who fought against his uncle on the side of the US forces in WW2!

What many Americans don't know is that the "Father of the US Navy", John Barry, was born in a little village called Tacumshane in Co. Wexford on this beautiful nation of ours.

Hopefully this has been illuminating for you. I'm sure I have left out a number of Irish inventors and Irish-born inventors, feel free to add them if I have.


Famous for: being hard workers skilled, semi skilled and labourers, they built many of the railway lines etc in Britain and elsewhere as navvies, their culture, Irish linen in days gone by, the former Celtic church and its saints who converted Britons and Picts to Christianity, and the Catholic church following, St Patrick's day (he was probably Welsh/Cornish) and I suppose their ‘craic'. That does lead a bit to drinking e.g. Guinness to excess, which can have negative connotations. Pity the word ‘craic' is actually an English language word from settlers who came from northern England and south Scotland over to Ireland, but don't tell them that! I did live and work there for 10 years, still miss the place.


From an Irish-American perspective, here are a few things the Irish in Ireland are adept at:

  1. Making tweed: Donegal tweed is legendary here.
  2. Making crystalware. Nothing short of the Austrian variety is better than Waterford crystal.
  3. Livestock farming. The whole of Ireland was once the United Kingdom's main source of wool and mutton. And they haven't forgotten how to do it so well since Independence.
  4. To be continued.

There is a few notable inventions and scientific discoveries. Invention include Guinness, colour photography, the submarine (John Holland) , the guided missile (Louis Brennan), ejector seat, the worlds first tank was rolled out in Blackrock in 1911, the hypodermic syringe, seismology and the portable defibrillator. Others include the cure to leprosy and Boyle's Law.


The Irish are famous for not being English.

Guinness moved from London to Ireland and introduced porter ale from Billingsgate market. He threatened to leave Ireland if they gained Home Rule.

Lord Guinness is a member of the right wing Tory Monday Club. His company bought over Scotch Distilleries with money they did not have. The "Guinness Four" directors received light sentences for fraud and were released early. They promised to move their HQ from London to Perth. Instead, they shut the Perth whisky HQ down and moved it to London, closing many famous brands own in the process; Black and Whyte, Buchanan's, Bell,s etc.


What attracts people to South East Asia?

In my case (as a visitor), I'm attracted by its proximity to Australia where I live, and the food. It sounds a bit mercenary to put it that way, but those are my jumping-off points in many ways.The history interests me, but a lot

What are the best experiences you've had traveling alone?

I learned to love myself again.The first time I took a trip alone it ended up lasting several months. I started out in Costa Rica and ended up traveling all the way to South East Asia. I found that I learned to trust my instincts

How important has traveling to other countries been part of your life?

Travelling is one of the passions that I intend to keep up with for a long time. Even if I get married in the near future !I first left home and travelled a foreign country at 18. Went to India where I knew