The Irish DNA Atlas Project

The Irish DNA Atlas Project Review

Irish DNA

The genealogy radio show will be reviewing the Irish DNA Atlas Project. To participate in this study, please see details below or sign up for our newsletter.

What is it about?

The Irish DNA Atlas Project is about Genetics and Genealogy. The study output has provided a genetic map of the people of Ireland. It is a joint effort from Researchers from the RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland)and The Genealogical Society of Ireland 


The Irish DNA Atlas is an ongoing study. If you have ancestry from a specific part of Ireland and you are interested in participating, please contact Séamus O’Reilly from the Genealogical Association of Ireland via
Current Key findings
  • Prior to the mass movement of people in recent decades, there were numerous distinct genetic clusters found in specific regions across Ireland.
  • Seven of those revealed so far are of ‘Gaelic’ Irish ancestry and describe the borders of either Irish Provinces or historical kingdoms. (Gaelic Ireland was divided into five prime overkingdoms (Old Irish cóiceda, Modern Irish cúige). These were Ulaid (in the north), Connacht (in the west), Laighin (in the southeast), Mumhan (in the south) and Mide (in the centre)
  • The remaining three are of shared Irish-British ancestry, and are mostly found in the north of Ireland and probably reflect the Ulster Plantations. (The plantation of Ulster took place between 1609 and 1690 when the lands of the O'Neills, the O'Donnell and their Uirracht or followers were taken and granted to Scottish and English settlers.)
  • Two of the ‘Gaelic’ clusters together align with the boundaries of the province of Munster, and individually are associated with the boundaries of the kingdoms of Dál Cais (The Dalcassians were a Gaelic Irish tribe, generally accepted by contemporary scholarship as being a branch of the Déisi Muman, that became a powerful group in Ireland during the 10th century. Their genealogies claimed descent from Cormac Cas, who is said to have lived in the 3rd century AD.)and the Eóganacht.(The Eóganachta or Eoghanachta were an Irish dynasty centred on Cashel which dominated southern Ireland from the 6/7th to the 10th centuries. Later this became the Kingdom of Desmond. By tradition the dynasty was founded by Conall Corc. 
  • There are relatively high levels of North-West French-like (probably ‘Celtic’), and evidence of West Norwegian-like (probably Viking) ancestry within Ireland.
  • There is evidence of continual, low level migration between the north of Ireland and the south and west of Scotland.
The study is published in the current edition of Scientific Reports   We are reviewing this for the Genealogy Radio show.


Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland derived from Groome, Francis H., ed. Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical, and HistoricalVol. I-VI. London, England: William Mackenzie, 1895

Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain:  Cassell's Gazetteer of Great Britain and IrelandVol. II-VI. London, England: Cassell & Company,


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