Scientists have discovered that Irish DNA originated in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
by Carol Adl
The DNA of ancient occupants of Ireland has given researchers a breakthrough clue into the history of the Celtic population.
The study was led by Queens University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin where scientists sequenced the first ancient human genomes from Ireland, shedding light on the genesis of Celtic populations.
Details of the work, by geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen’s University Belfast are published in the journal PNAS.
Scientists from Dublin and Belfast have looked deep into Ireland’s early history to discover a still-familiar pattern of migration: of stone age settlers with origins in the Fertile Crescent, and bronze age economic migrants who began a journey somewhere in eastern Europe.
The evidence has lain for more than 5,000 years in the bones of a woman farmer unearthed from a tomb in Ballynahatty, near Belfast, and in the remains of three men who lived between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago and were buried on Rathlin Island in County Antrim.
Scientists at Trinity College Dublin used a technique called whole-genome analysis to “read” not the unique characteristics of each individual, but a wider history of ancestral migration and settlement in the DNA from all four bodies.
They confirm a picture that has been emerging for decades from archaeological studies. Migrant communities did not compete with the original Irish. They became the Irish.
The ancestors of the Stone Age farmers began their journey in the Bible lands, where agriculture first began, and arrived in Ireland perhaps via the southern Mediterranean. They brought with them cattle, cereals, ceramics and a tendency to black hair and brown eyes.
These settlers were followed by people, initially from the Pontic steppe of southern Russia, who knew how to mine for copper and work with gold, and who carried the genetic variant for a blood disorder called haemochromatosis, a hereditary genetic condition so common in Ireland that it is sometimes called Celtic disease.
These people also brought with them the inherited variation that permits the digestion of milk in maturity – much of the world becomes intolerant to the milk sugar lactose after infancy – and they may even have brought the language that became what is now Irish. Some of them, too, had blue eyes.
“There was a great wave of genome change that swept into Europe from above the Black Sea into Bronze Age Europe and we now know it washed all the way to the shores of its most westerly island,” said Dan Bradley, professor of population genetics at Trinity College Dublin.
“And this degree of genetic change invites the possibility of other associated changes, perhaps even the introduction of language ancestral to western Celtic tongues.”
The Dublin team and colleagues from Queens University Belfast report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the two great changes in European prehistory – the emergence of agriculture and the advance of metallurgy – were not just culture shifts: they came with new blood. An earlier population of hunter gatherers was successively overwhelmed by new arrivals. And in Ireland, these new settlers began to define a nation.
“These findings,” the authors say, “suggest the establishment of central attributes of the Irish genome 4,000 years ago.”
Working from the principle that any human DNA tells a story not just of individual identity but of ten thousand years of ancestry, researchers have begun to piece together the entire story of Homo sapiens. The story is incomplete, and under constant revision, but the outline of the settlement of Europe and Asia told by DNA confirms and illuminates the archaeological evidence.
Source: Your News Wire
Behind the Mists of Ireland
by Douglas S. Winnail
There is more to the story of Ireland than its forty shades of green. Out of the mists of the Emerald Isle rises a story of biblical proportions linking legend and Scripture to your future. The forgotten history of Ireland will resurface to shape world events ahead.
One of the most amazing legends in Irish history links the biblical prophet Jeremiah with the Emerald Isle. Oxford-educated Mary Rogers recounts several versions of the Jeremiah story. Each version tells of Jeremiah fleeing from Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian conquest. One account makes “Jeremiah flee to Ireland with Tea Tephi, eldest daughter of Zedekiah” (Prospects of Fermanagh, 1982, pp. 31–32). (Zedekiah was the last king to occupy the throne of Judah). Other accounts have Jeremiah and a princess or princesses and a man named Barak or Baruch leaving Egypt for the “Isles of the West” (The Book of Tephi, Goodchild, 1897, p. 4).
Although this might sound quite fanciful to our modern ears, it fits directly with the Scriptures. In the Bible we learn that when Jerusalem fell, Jeremiah escaped, along with his scribe Baruch and “the king’s daughters” to Egypt where they resided at the city of Tahpanhes (Jeremiah 43:5–7). The Bible reveals little else about this group of refugees. There are no clear statements about where they may have gone from Egypt. However, there are clues, both in the Scriptures and in history—especially the history of Ireland!
Ancient Irish legends recount that in addition to the king’s daughters, Jeremiah brought with him “some national treasures from the Temple. The most important of these was the Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, Jacob’s stone” (Rogers, pp. 31–32). The Bible relates that Jacob, the forefather of the Israelite tribes, set up a stone pillar after making a covenant with God (Genesis 28:13–22). It was also a custom in ancient Israel to crown kings over a stone (Judges 9:6; 2 Kings 11:12–14).
The stone was later taken to Scotland by a king Fergus, and then to England. It has been used in all three countries for the coronation of monarchs—following the ancient Israelite custom. Other items brought to Ireland by Israelites include a sword, a spear and a cauldron (see The Flowering of Ireland, Sherman, 1981, p. 55). The Bible also reveals that David, when he killed Goliath, took his armor (including a sword and spear) which was kept by the priests (1 Samuel 17:45–47, 54, 21:9). The cauldron was probably used in the Temple. These items were symbols of national identity to the Israelites—comparable to the Crown Jewels of England and Scotland on display today.
JEREMIAH’S MYSTERIOUS MISSION
But what was Jeremiah doing and why did he bring the king’s daughters to Ireland? The Bible reveals that Jeremiah was given a two-part mission “to root out and pull down… to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). Jeremiah foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the monarchy in Judah—which happened. The Bible does not provide any information on how Jeremiah fulfilled the second phase of his mission; however, Irish history provides some intriguing answers. The prophecy to build and to plant would apply to taking the king’s daughters to a place where they could re-establish the royal line. Ancient Irish legends say that the princess Jeremiah brought with him married a High King of Ireland (see Goodchild). This would have completed the second phase of Jeremiah’s mysterious mission. The Bible clearly predicted this would happen (2 Kings 19:30–3; Isaiah 37:31–32).
LOST TRIBES IN IRELAND
But why did Jeremiah go to Ireland? Irish history describes a prominent people who settled on the island as the Tuatha de Danann. While historians puzzle over the identity of these gifted invaders, the Bible reveals the obvious answer. One of the Israelite tribes that disappears from history after the fall of the kingdom of Israel about 720BC was the Tribe of Dan. Other sources indicate that members of this tribe left Egypt about the time of the Exodus about 1500BC. This is about the time the Tuatha de Danann began to arrive in Ireland. The Tuatha de Danann, if they were Israelites, would be kinsmen to Jeremiah and the princess he brought. Irish legends say that Jeremiah’s party came to the island “in the ships of the Danites” and that after being “shipwrecked off the coast of Ireland…the company made its way to the hill-seat of the last of the Tuatha de Danann kings of the tribes of Dan” (Rogers, p. 31).
CASTLES, FOOTPRINTS AND JEWISH KNIGHTS
One possible landing place for Jeremiah is Murlough Bay, on Ireland’s rugged northeast coast, in County Antrim. This is an area of isolated bays and rocky cliffs. Leading up and away from the bay is a trail, marked on geologic maps as the “Gray Man’s Path.” Jeremiah would have been an old man when he reached Ireland after a difficult prophetic ministry that lasted some forty years. The “Gray Man’s Path” leads westward toward Dunseverick castle—about fifteen miles away. The castle sits on a stunning and highly defensible rocky outcrop on this rugged coastline. A marker at the site states that Dunseverick was a “royal site” and “may have been a royal stronghold in the Iron Age (around 500BC) and traditionally was one of the great duns [royal forts] of Ireland.\ Jeremiah would have arrived about this same time—and with his \royal cargo.”Traveling south from Dunseverick on the way to Tara, in County Meath (the seat of the Tuatha de Danann kings) you come to the ruins of the great hill-fort, Emain Macha, in County Armagh. This was the seat of the kings of Ulster and the Knights of the Red Branch. The symbol of the knights was a red hand surrounded by a red cord. This symbol of a red hand appears on the flag of Ulster, the symbol of Northern Ireland. It is also found (along with a red lion) on the heraldic crests of several other counties in Northern Ireland and some Scottish clans (see Symbols of Our Anglo-Saxon Heritage, Bennet, 1976, p. 115). But what is the significance of the red hand and red lion in Northern Ireland? How does this relate to Jeremiah and his mission?
The Bible again provides an intriguing answer. Judah, the father of another one of the tribes of Israel, had several sons, including Perez and Zerah. Something strange happened at the birth of these two boys. The hand of Zerah appeared first and a midwife fastened a red cord around it.
However, the hand was retracted and Perez was born first (see Genesis 38:24–30). God promised Judah (symbolized by a lion) the scepter of rulership in Israel (Genesis 49:8–10). The branch of Judah’s line that includes David (whom God promised would have descendants on a throne forever—2 Samuel 7:12–17) and Jesus Christ descends through the children of Pharez (Matthew 1:1–17). The Zerah branch—symbolized by the red hand and red lion—was left out of this inheritance, even though Zerah’s hand appeared first when the boys were born.
This is where Irish history and the Bible come together. The princess Jeremiah brought to Ireland was of the Pharez line. The presence of the red hand and red lion indicate the Zerah line had preceded Jeremiah to Northern Ireland. The fleeing princess married into the Zerah line—healing the breach that developed at the birth of Judah’s two sons (Genesis 38:29). The knights of the Red Branch clearly carry the symbolism of the Zerah line. This would mean that some of the members of the royal families in the Isles of the West trace back to David—thus God’s promise to David still stands. Place-names in Northern Ireland are clearly related to the names of Judah’s sons—Hermon, Calcol and Dara (1 Chronicles 2:6). Jeremiah brought the king’s daughters to the land of the Red Branch Knights who were descended from the house of Judah.