9 Irish Inventions That Changed the World and That Still Affect Your Daily Life

All of these inventions still play an important role in our lives, shaping modern technology.
Donovan Alexander

The Irish are known for a lot of things around the world. For a relatively small country, Ireland has offered the world many different ideas, products, traditions, and even inventions. 

With a population of a little under 5 million people, the country has a history that has resonated with the world, making it one of the most famous countries on the globe. 

The Irish have made contributions to food, music, football, literature, racing, sports and the realms of engineering. From color photography to the submarine, there are many Irish inventions that have changed the world, some of which you still use today.


As you probably guessed, today we are going to look at the most important Irish inventions and look at how they changed the world. 

1. The Ejector Seat 

9 Irish Inventions That Changed the World and That Still Affect Your Daily Life
Source: Vestman/Wikipedia

Starting off the list, we have the ejector seat. Unless you are a pilot or spy film fan, you probably do not know that much about it. Created by Sir James Martin's Martin-Baker Aircraft Company, with the first live test conducted in 1946, the invention allowed pilots to be ejected from planes that traveled at high speeds. Though there were previous iterations of the seat, Martin’s was the most effective and would eventually take the aeronautics world by storm. 

Within 12 months of his invention’s first test, the ejector seat was adopted by the RAF fleet saving 5,000 lives by the time of his death in 1981. 

2. The Guided Missile

Created by the talented engineer Louis Brennan in 1877, the guided-missile is another Irish invention that would have military applications. Brennan would go on to create a directable torpedo that could be controlled by guide wires.

At the age of 25, he received funding for his designs from the British Navy. It was used as a defense mechanism by the British Coastal Defence Forces until the early 20th century.

3. The Portable Defibrillator 

Emergency defibrillators have grown on to become an important first aid tool for people around the world, saving a lot of lives. Developed by Professor Frank Pantridge, the first prototype would be installed in a Belfast ambulance

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4. Color Photographic Process 

John Joly was a busy man. He invented the meldometer, a device that is used to measure the melting points of minerals. Joly is also responsible for using radiation to treat cancer. However, one of his most memorable contributions is in the world of photography. 

Dubbed the Joly Process of Color Photography, the physicist would go on to discover a means of producing color photos from one plate, making the photography process much easier and to be commercially available in 1895

5. The Binaural Stethoscope

9 Irish Inventions That Changed the World and That Still Affect Your Daily Life
Source: Anchalee Phanmaha/iStock

Now the first stethoscope was invented by a Frenchman, namely, Rene Laennec in 1819. However, it was an Irishman who would go on to improve the design and create the stethoscope that we know and love today.

Arthur Leared took Laennec’s designs and connected two earpieces to the listening cylinder with rubber tubes in 1851 and voila, the modern stethoscope was born.  

6. The Induction Coil 

The first induction coil was invented by the Irish priest, Rev. Nicholas Callan. It was actually a bit of an accident. The professor at Patrick’s College Maynooth wound two long wires around the end of an electromagnet and connected the ends of one wire to a battery.

Anytime he would interrupt the current from the battery he was shocked, actually knocking himself unconscious. Nevertheless, this invention in 1836 is still being used in cars today.

7. The Tank 

9 Irish Inventions That Changed the World and That Still Affect Your Daily Life
Source: Anikin4/iStock

The first official armored tank in the world came from Blackrock, Dublin in 1911. The powerful vehicle came into existence when then Home Secretary of Britain, Winston Churchill ordered the design of a building that can withstand shrapnel and bullets, flatten barbed wire, as well as have the ability to cross trenches and easily tread through the mud. 

8. The Submarine 

Most movies with any type of warfare have included a submarine or two. Invented by John Philip Holland in 1878, the submarine would go on to be a staple of military force changing the way warfare is conducted at sea.

His first iteration of the submarine was a failure as it would go on to sink. However, in 1881, his Fenian Ram ran smoothly attracting the attention of the U.S. Navy and eventually their business. 

9. The Hypodermic Needle Syringe 

9 Irish Inventions That Changed the World and That Still Affect Your Daily Life
Source: Enes Evren/iStock

The hypodermic syringe would go on to become another important tool used in the realms of medicine given to us by the Irish. However, if you hate needles at the doctor's office, you can thank Francis Rynd for that. In 1844, Rynd performed the world’s first subcutaneous injection with his homemade hypodermic syringe.

He was able to treat a woman with unrelenting pain. Using the needle, it placed the morphine right under the skin near the nerves.

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