Transport and Tourism

An early type of caterpillar tread was invented by Sir Richard Lovell Edgeworth to allow carriages travel over soft boggy ground at his estate in Edgeworthstown, Co Longford. Other Irish contributions to transport include the pneumatic tyre, invented in Belfast by a Scottish vet, John Boyd Dunlop, in 1888; and a rechargeable nickel-zinc battery used to power electric trains. Developed in the 1930s by James Drumm from Co Down, modern versions of these batteries are still used to power small electric vehicles.

The modern tractor was invented by an innovative self-taught mechanic also from Co Down, Harry Ferguson. It was lighter, more effective and safer than earlier tractors, and helped to revolutionise farming. Ferguson also invented a four-wheel-drive and anti-skid braking.

As for tourism: you could say the Irish invented duty-free shopping and Irish coffee. Both came from Shannon airport. Irish coffee was created from whisky, coffee, sugar and cream in 1942 by chef Joe Sheridan, to warm passengers whose flight had been forced back by bad weather.

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