Are you a Celt, Gael or Viking? Check Ireland’s New Genetic Map

Do you have eight great-grandparents born within 50km of each other in Ireland? If so you could contribute to learnings about Irish history and population structure across Ireland and Celtic ancestry.

The first genetic map of the people of Ireland now traces four generations of ancestry with a study analyzing the genetics of ten cluster groups aligned with the four provinces of Ireland.  

A team of geneticists from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), along with genealogists from the Genealogical Society of Ireland have published the first genetic map of the people of Ireland in the journal Scientific Reports.

The ‘Irish DNA Atlas; Revealing Fine-Scale Population Structure and History within Ireland’ is a live study which has currently compiled DNA samples from 196 Irish individuals with four generations of ancestry. Researchers compared the Irish samples of DNA with thousands of others from across Britain and Europe.

The study reveals patterns of genetic similarity, including subtle differences, between ten distinct cluster groups that align with the provinces of Ireland. Seven of the clusters were of ‘Gaelic’ Irish ancestry and three of shared British-Irish ancestry. It was also detected that 20% of the Irish genome derives from Norse ancestry, specifically of Viking origin, and the impact of the Ulster Plantations on Irish genetics is analyzed.

So are you a Celt, Gael or Viking? The Genealogical Society of Ireland is keen to recruit more people as it is a live study and if people are interested in being involved they should email Seamus O’Reilly at to get involved.  

This research is much more than comprehending the ancestry of Ireland. The Irish DNA Atlas provides a stepping stone for future efforts to understand and treat genetic diseases. Findings from the study will contribute to the vision of the new FutureNeuro Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre which is seeking to improve the diagnosis of rare neurological disorders and move towards personalizing treatment.
Posted on May 28, 2019
Posted by Sue Ann Rivera - May 28, 2019  
I know my great-great-grandparents came to the US from Ireland in the mid 1800s, but I have been unable to discover from where in Ireland they came. I am now 74 & I would dearly love to know from where in Ireland my family came so I might visit their homeland. I have been to Ireland and enjoyed my visit tremendously, but I don't know whether I have visited the correct location or not.

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