26 Sept 2022

Wanted! Limerick men with Viking blood for tests

IF you ever wondered whether you are you descended from the Vikings or the Normans, now is the time to find out.

IF you ever wondered whether you are you descended from the Vikings or the Normans, now is the time to find out.

A network of academics led by Dr Catherine Swift of Mary Immaculate College, and Dr Turi King of the Department of Genetics, University of Leicester are using scientific techniques and the traditional tools of the historian in an attempt to identify what percentage of the Irish population are descended from Vikings.

Volunteers with certain surnames - including English, Stokes and Noonan, amongst many others - will be tested at Fennessey’s pub, New Street, Sunday, October 21, at 12 noon.

“Limerick is a very interesting location for our project as it is known to be a vital Viking trading centre,” said Dr Swift.

In addition to Limerick, the study is also being replicated in Galway and Wexford to discover information on medieval patterns of migration and family movements between the major towns of Ireland.

They are also hoping to examine the extent to which the Vikings in different parts of the country intermarried with the native Irish. To do this, the group, have identified specific surnames which are found in the medieval records and townland names of Limerick city and county.

As the researchers are primarily interested in Y chromosomes, they will only collect samples from men. A swab of cheek cells will be taken to extract DNA from this. Various tests will be done on the Y chromosome DNA, and in some cases other parts of your DNA, to look at patterns of variation.

The information received will be kept strictly confidential and if it is ever published in scientific papers, it will be completely anonymous.

See for the surnames of those they wish to apply

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