17.03.2015

Oh, St. Patrick's Day. National day of wearing green, parading and celebrating the ejection of snakes from our lovely island. To help imbue you with the spirit of celebration of all things Irish, we've put together a list of some things you may not know were created by our compatriots. We'd love to hear about more, so if you know of any other secrets of Irish design, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

 

1. The White House

Designed by Irish architect James Hoban, the White House in Washington DC is one of the most famous buildings in the world. Co. Kilkenny born Hoban won a public design competition to design it in 1792, and worked with President George Washington over eight years to complete it.

 

2. Katniss Everdeen's wrist gauntlet

Úna Burke is a multi-award winning luxury leather accessories designer. Using traditional leather-working techniques she produces intricate, armour-like accessories and sculptural art pieces. With a strong celebrity following all over the world, Úna Burke pieces have been commissioned and worn by Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Heidi Klum, Daphne Guinness and by Jennifer Lawrence’s character Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

 

3. Nearly every airline seat you've ever sat on

If you’ve ever traveled by air, chances are you’ve come in contact with Botany Weaving. One of Ireland’s best kept secrets, Botany Weaving design and weave textiles for seats, curtains and carpets for over 120 of the world’s major airlines from their Dublin base. So next time you’re flying with Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Air France, British Airways or Aer Lingus (or many more) you’ll know there’s a little bit of Dublin with you.

 

4. Spiderman 2099

Award winning graphic artist from Cork Will Sliney works as an illustrator for Marvel, and has recently started drawing Spiderman 2099 – Marvel’s newest Spiderman series, as well as doing work on Fearless Defenders, X-Men and Avengers.

 

5. Modern submarines

John Phillip Holland was a Co. Clare man who designed and developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the Royal Navy and the US Navy, and is widely regarded as the father of the modern submarine.

 

6. Jackie Kennedy style

Sybil Connolly was a Dublin-based fashion designer who championed the use of traditional Irish textiles like linen and lace in her haute couture creations for clients like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Andrews. Perhaps most famously, Jackie Kennedy wore a dress made for her by Connolly when being painted for an official White House portrait.

 

7. That iconic Che Guevara image

Dublin-based Jim Fitzpatrick was the man behind the creation of the two tone graphic image of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Based on a photograph by Albert Korda, Fitzpatrick created the image in 1968 and released it rights free with with the intention that revolutionary groups in Europe and around the world would adopt it. They did, as did countless more, and it quickly became one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century.

 

8. Sydney Opera House

Another of the world’s most recognisable buildings, the Sydney Opera House also has an Irish design connection. From Dundalk in Co. Louth, Peter Rice was a structural engineer with Arup whose first job was working out geometry for the complex roof design of the Jorn Utzon designed Sydney Opera House. He went on to work on some more triumphs of modern architecture – the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Lloyds of London and the Louvre Pyramid. He was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by RIBA in 1992.

 

9. The Oscar 

An Irish art director who became influential at MGM, Dubliner Cedric Gibbons designed the original Oscar statuette in 1928. He also made a significant contribution to motion picture theater architecture from the 1930s to 1950s. Gibbons was one of the original 36 founding members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and himself would be nominated 39 times for the trophy, winning 11. Rumour has it that it was Gibbons' connection with Dublin that saw a lion born in Dublin zoo feature as MGM's first logo.

 

 

Words by Alex Calder.

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