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DNA Research Links Scots, Irish And Welsh To North-western Spain

Brian Donnelly, The Herald (Glasgow), 10 Sept. 2004

Celtic nations such as Scotland and Ireland have more in common with the Portuguese and Spanish than with the Celts of central Europe, according to a new academic report.

Historians have long believed that the British Isles were swamped by a massive invasion of Iron Age Celts from central Europe around 500BC.

However, geneticists at Trinity College in Dublin now claim that the Scots and Irish have more in common with the people of north-western Spain.

Dr Daniel Bradley, genetics lecturer at Trinity College, said a new study into Celtic origins revealed close affinities with the people of Galicia.

He said: “It’s well-known that there are cultural relations between the areas but now this shows there is much more. We think the links are much older than that of the Iron Age because it also shows affinities with the Basque region, which isn’t a Celtic region.”

He added: “The links point towards other Celtic nations, in particular Scotland, but they also point to Spain.”

Historians believed the Celts, originally Indo-European, invaded the Atlantic islands in a massive migration 2500 years ago.

But using DNA samples from people living in Celtic nations and other parts of Europe, geneticists at the university have drawn new parallels.

Dr Bradley said it was possible migrants moved from the Iberian peninsula to Ireland as far back as 6000 years ago up until 3000 years ago.

“I don’t agree with the idea of a massive Iron Age invasion that took over the Atlantic islands. You can regard the ocean, rather than a barrier, as a communication route,” Dr Bradley said.

Archaeologists have also been questioning the links between the Celts of eastern France and southern Germany and the people of the British Isles and the new research appears to prove their theories.

The Dublin study found that people in areas traditionally known as Celtic, such as Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Brittany and Cornwall, had strong links with each other and had more in common with people from the Iberian peninsula.

[*a6 – Referenced]

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10 Responses

  1. 1
    Joe Bright 

    I had DNA testing done on myself through the National Geographic genographic project. My roots were linked from Ireland and before that to Spain. This theory is true for a very large number of Western Europeans. It is very very interesting.

  2. 2

    That is so cool, thanks for sharing that.
    Where you from?

  3. I have an old lover (still a very dear friend after 20 years) who calls himself a “Spanish Celt” for this very reason. Oh that jet black hair, olive skin and Scottish brogue, it killed me! Ah, memories . . .


  4. 4
    Verla Ape 

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  5. 5


  6. 6
    Madeline (Willard-Maroney) Copelalnd 

    I am searching for my Father’s Father’s, ancestry in
    Ireland. (Census show they born in the Free State of
    Ireland. (Would that be the Munster province or area?)

    I am a female, and am enquiring about taking an IRISH
    DNA test, to help us in our discovery. We have found
    few records, of my grandfather, and none from my great.
    grandfather. When they arrived in N.Y., USA about 1850,
    the family surname of Maroney, was changed to Willard.
    We have found no legal records, or family papers on it.

    Please let me know what DNA testing an American female
    can take to find her PATERNAL family line of ancestry.

    Thank you,
    Madeline (Willard) Copeland

  7. 7
    Jayme McGoldrick 

    Madeline I think you have a few of your facts mixed up there. If you are looking a your grandfathers lineage and his father arrived in new york in 1850 there was no free state of ireland at that time. The Irish Free State existed from 1922-1932 before that it was part of Britain and afterwards became the Republic of Ireland.

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  10. 10
    Paul Cahill 

    this would explain why when once on a visit to Northern Spain many years ago I approached a group of people I could have sworn were Irish…looked Irish and was totally surprised to find they were (to me at that time) Spanish.
    Makes sense now

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