Studies conducted in past years suggest that as little as 2 percent and as much as 6 percent of the Irish population could be of Norse descent. This past December, — Celtic Viking jewelry supplier Sons of Vikings reported on an enormous undertaking called the Irish DNA Atlas Project which blew those estimates out of the water. The study found that as much as 20 percent of today's Irish population could have Viking ancestry in their DNA. While Viking jewelry and artifacts, ruins, and even graffiti has served as evidence of the Viking's settlement in and impact on Ireland, this is the first time that DNA evidence has provided a roadmap of their shared legacy.
For those who don't know where it all started, Ireland spent many years as a sort of "collection" of several kingdoms. Often, the tribes, clans, and chieftains of said kingdoms found themselves as war with each other. While this may have given the people of these kingdoms a sense of freedom from having to rely on any one central power, Ireland's disunity made the region uniquely susceptible to conquest, particularly by the Vikings.
Realizing this, the Vikings made their not-so-quiet invasion into Ireland by sea. They soon realized that setting up permanent camp in the region could help them be more effective in their conquest, and they began to do just that. They held religious relics from Ireland's rich monasteries for ransom, captured Irish people (especially women), and set up fortified port cities to export their newly-acquired slaves and commodities.
Unfortunately, things got worse before they got better. However, infighting amongst the Vikings eventually weakened their power and forever altered the nature of the relationship between the Irish and the Vikings. Norse and Irish people began fighting on the same side, initiating active trade, and even exchanging culture through marriage and other means. The Norse continued to live in Ireland even after the end of the Viking Age until such time that distinctions between the two groups became a thing of the past and they continued to grow in cultural harmony.
The Irish DNA Atlas Study involved samples from 196 Irish people, all descendants of 8 great-grandparents born within 50 kilometers of each other. The researchers involved in the Irish DNA Atlas Study found "evidence of a west-Norwegian-like ancestry" that may have been passed down from the Vikings as well as Irish ancestry among the people of Norway, both of which validate the history of the Irish Vikings and substantiate Viking slave trade claims.
The study lends a scientific backing to what we already know about the settlement Ireland's ancestral groups and their turbulent encounters with the Norse people. An ongoing study, it is expected to become a central resource for historians and students across the globe.
Learn more about the Irish DNA Atlas Study and how it enriches our cultural view of Irish-Norse history at https://sonsofvikings.com/blogs/vikings-tv-series/irish-vikings-descendants-of-the-viking-invasions.
About Sons of Vikings:
Sons of Vikings sells Viking merchandise featuring jewelry, drinking horns and more.
Name: Kurt Noer
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Organization: Sons of Vikings
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