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Micho’s Dozen: Traditional Songs from the Repertoire of Micho Russell, Doolin, Co. Clare
 

7. John Philip Holland

Micho learned this song from the man who wrote it, Breandán Higgins of Lahinch. The air is that of “Amhrán na Trá Báine”.

John Philip Holland (1841-1914) from Castle Street, Liscannor was a Christian Brother from 1858 to 1872 when he left the order and emigrated to teach in New Jersey. Abetted by the Fenian leader John Devoy, Holland developed the submarine which he hoped would be used against the British. It is a matter of historical irony that when, in 1895, he formed a company the British Navy soon ordered several of the craft for their own fleet! For an account of Holland’s life see the article by Martin Coen in ‘Dal gCais’ (Vol. 6, [1982] pp. 37-39.)

Micho’s Dozen: Traditional Songs from the Repertoire of Micho Russell: John Philip Holland Musical Notes

1
Come all you young Irishmen who walk upon the land,
There are feats indeed, and fairy creeds, that you might understand:
There is one of them that comes to mind, the likes was never seen,
He was John Philip Holland who invented the submarine.

2
It was in Liscannor he was born in the wild west coast of Clare,
Not far from the Cliffs of Moher that hangs so high in the air.
Liscannor Bay stretches far away, from Hag’s Head to Rineen,
For young John Philip Holland who invented the submarine.

3
For fourteen years he taught at home in his own dear native land,
Through emigration he sailed away unto a foreign strand.
In Patterson, New Jersey, on his work he became quite keen.
It was there our man he formed his plan and invented the submarine.

4
The U.S. Navy thought the man was crazy, they thrun his plan one side,
But Holland paid no heed to them in his boat beneath the tide.
The Fenian Ram of ’eighty-one now by all was seen:
This boat and show could go below, and they called her “the submarine.”

5
With torpedo guns both fore and aft, she became a most dangerous craft
Beneath the waves she could remain, it drove the Navy daft.
Down below, where only fishes go, the yoke was plain to be seen,
It was John Philip Holland inside his first submarine.

6
In the year of nineteen fourteen, the year of the Great War,
A death appeared in the papers, it was read both near and far:
That man he died in poverty, but he did realise his dream,
He was John Philip Holland who invented the submarine.

7
Come all you sailors both young and old and listen unto me:
You’ll go on a boat that will go afloat below under the sea,
Be you Russian, Cuban, Austrian, Australian or Phil-i-apeen,
Raise your glass in the air for the man from Clare who invented the submarine!

 
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