The Irish are known for many things. They are known for their pubs, green eyes, and being the friendliest people on the planet. Moreover, they’re also regarded as an academic hub internationally!
But did you know that they have also been said to be related to a whole different tribe of people? The Celts.
The Irish and the Celts share similar features and are known for similar things. Both are known for their green eyes, fair skin, and freckles. They are also well known for being warriors and farmers.
Recent genetic studies have revealed that the Irish people are not Celts, contrary to what most Irish people believe. This has led to many people asking the question: are the Irish really the same as the Celts?
Irish-Celt History through Genome Sequencing
Bertie Currie found the bones of three people in 2006 as he was removing undergrowth on Rathin Island to create a road for McCuaig’s Bar. They would eventually lead to DNA research, fundamentally changing the idea that Irish people are descendants of the Celts.
Research on the bones discovered by Currie was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, revealing that the bones matched those of living Irish, Scottish, and Welsh individuals.
Alternatively, Irish ancestors may have come to Ireland from the Bible lands in the Middle East.
They might have arrived in Ireland from the South Meditteranean and would have brought cattle, cereal, and ceramics with them. This would make them a perfect agricultural colony for the Celts.
Moreover, the remains discovered at McCuaig’s Bar date back to at least 2,000 BC, which is hundreds of years older than the oldest known Celtic artifacts anywhere in the world. In other words, Irish DNA existed in Ireland before the Celts ever set foot on the island.
The radiocarbon dating of the ancient bones came back with a result of 2,097 BC, the same date as another set of remains in Ireland. This means that the people in Ireland were not just strangers that crossed the sea but were a part of the culture.
Celts as Ireland’s Cultural Colonizers
In the popular view of Irish history, the Celts invaded the island in the distant past. They brought a language and culture that was to dominate Ireland for millennia.
Recent population genetic studies, however, have questioned this view. They show that Ireland has experienced a series of population expansions and contractions, with many more people arriving later, wherein the population of Celtic farmers is relatively tiny.
The overall effect has been a dramatic transformation of the ancient Celtic culture of Ireland, with the old language replaced by a form of English and Irish culture becoming a minority tradition that is primarily seen as a tourist attraction.
Culturally, the evidence we have available is currently quite shaky. What is undeniable is that medieval Irish and Welsh writers had very little to say about a Celtic past.
And they certainly didn’t suggest that the Irish and Welsh people had an affinity for one another based on this shared history, nor did they indicate that the Irish were descended from the Celts.
And, so, we go back to the question: are the Irish and Celtic the same? The quick answer is that this is possible but different from the popular history we know of.
Recent studies on the genomes of contemporary people in Ireland discovered that the Irish have a far older genetic makeup than previously thought. This could challenge the widespread belief that the Irish are related to the Celts – or instead, the Celts with the Irish.
One thing they all have in common is their unique genetic makeup. This discovery has been interesting to many people because it could mean a much larger genetic diversity in Ireland than previously thought.