If you visited Bray in 1927, you may have been tempted to buy a pair of bathing goggles directly from the inventor, Fr Michael O’Flanagan. Up to this time it would have been common for competitive swimmers to wear motorcycle goggles to keep water splashes from their eyes.
“O’Flanagan Patent Water Goggles give clear vision under water. Send seven and sixpence for a pair to Father O’Flanagan, Fontenoy Terrace, Bray (Irish Independent, July 26 1927).”
Fr Michael O’Flanagan first got the idea for his invention after a visit to America in 1911. In 1914 he was stationed in Sligo and started experimenting in a boat with a glass bottomed box to see into the water.
Years later, after a well publicised political career, he resumed the development of his face shaped goggles which he soon placed on the market. Fr O’Flanagan filed his patent on 7th January 1930 and was given Patent No 1,742,412 by the American Patent Office. He filed his patent while living in Bray, where he resided at 7 Sydenham Villas, Putland Road, Bray.