A team of geneticists at Trinity College Dublin led by Professor Dan Bradley have discovered that “as many as 3 million men worldwide may be descendants of the Irish warlord, who was the Irish “High King” at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from A.D. 379 to A.D. 405.” Millions of Irish Americans may be directly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the most prolific warrior in Irish history. His dynasty lasted for centuries, continuing up until the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland at the end of the 16th century.

On a raid in Wales, Niall of the Nine Hostages captured a young slave and brought him to Ireland. That slave would later escape, and go on to become Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick.

King Niall was responsible for the very common Irish surname “O Neill” (“Ui Neill” in Gaelic) – which literally means ‘descendant son of Niall' – also the name of Irish pubs all over the world.) The researchers also found that as many as one in 12 men in Ireland have the same DNA as the Irish king – and in Ireland’s Northwest, that figure rises to one in five.

Bradley told the London Independent. “Before this, everything was mythology, but now there does seem to have been a single male ancestor of this group of powerful dynasties." Are you sure you are not in some way descended from this powerful Irish King? Does your ancestry not go all the way back to one of Niall’s own ancestors, Ireland’s Queen Maeve? Check it out. Check out Niall of the Nine Hostages and Queen Maeve in your local Library or on the Internet.

Tags: Ancestors, DNA, History, Hostages, Ireland's, Irish, IrishAmerican, IrishAustralian, IrishCanadian, Maeve, More…Niall, Nine, Queen, Roots, of, the

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Rose, a chara,

With so much traveling and commerce done between the islands, there is always a chance of Irish blood in the mix. My better half's family, on the maternal side, trace back to Wales but were Ship's Captains out of Cork.

Míle buíochas Bit,

I so appreciate your encouragement - I shall persevere!

Coinnigh go maith, Rose.

more likely that the so called O'neill dna is rather conn's dna- and it is erroneous to describe niall as illegitimate- in gaelic law any child acknowledged by the father was legitimate- which is what the English used to legitimize hugh O neill- to their sorrow

"The most prolific warrior in Irish history. ... " Indeed, with his progeny 3 million strong! Is there a suggestion here, Tom, that Niall is the Irish version of Ghenghis Khan, who spread his DNA so lavishly in his depradations across Asia and into Europe?

Thanks to Ger Reagan for directing me to this post, and to Tom O Connor for a fascinating exposition of the possible genetic inheritance from King Niall, accompanied by the useful tags. I shall follow them up, but with research, the ultimate conclusions depend to a great extent on the size of the original sample population of people who obligingly supplied their DNA - false positive results can be obtained when results from a small sample are extrapolated. Some interesting tags to follow, which will take time and data!


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