Mind you, 'The Plunger' was following on the duck-steps of two other submersible vessels, 'The Intelligent Whale' and 'The Alligator', both of which 'boats' sank during trials, with the loss of all aboard. Holland was a visionary, effectively seeing off the challenges of another submarine inventor, the aptly named, Simon Lake, and also being the first to conceive of employing electric motors and the internal combustion engine to power a submarine. Holland also invented several torpedoes, employing the use of gyroscopes and pendulums for guidance.
However, the inventors lot proved not to be a happy one, and John was to see his own company sink into oblivion owing to the reticience of the US Navy to invest in such 'dastardly and ungentlemanly' technology, before he died, penniless, in 1914, a year that saw Germany, using a modified version one of Hollands rejected designs, launch a fleet of powerful U-Boats on the helpless Lusitania and the British merchant marine in general.
Today the Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, announced that he would not spend €2 million of the insurers money in salvaging the Irish sail-training yacht, 'The Asgard', which having sank in September 2008, off the NW coast of France, now lies in wait on the ocean floor, 83 metres below the surface, yet another Irish submarine, denied a future by an uncaring government and navy. John Holland would not be proud of this decision to leave a perfectly good, Tyrell/Arklow-built wooden-traditional yacht on the bottom of the Bay of Biscay.
The Asgard 1, named for the Norse god of the sea, was ownedby Erskine Childers, who after years of research published in 1913, but only on a spying mission on the Germans celebrated in the book, 'The Riddle of the Sands'. Later on, in a gun smuggkling opoeration, The Asgard landed weapons destined for the war againset colonial Britain.