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Study on Viking remains discovered in Ireland reveals a surprising twist on local ancestry

When one thinks of Vikings, the stereotypical Scandinavian image springs to mind – blonde hair, blue eyes and big beards, but a new study on Viking remains in Ireland has revealed surprising results regarding Irish ancestry.

According to the DNA analysis, published by Nature this week, the invaders who arrived on the Emerald Isle had dark hair instead, a trait that is most common in many Irish people today and can be traced back to Norway.

This probably explains why there are so many of my own family with dark hair; my wife and daughter have very dark hair and the pattern repeats itself in grandparents and great grandparents.

Reported in The Irish Post, the findings are “part of the largest-ever DNA analysis on Viking remains, looking at “genomes from three males and a female who were buried in Irish Viking burial grounds in Dublin and Galway”.

The newspaper goes on to say that the six-year study also found that “while the Irish are descended largely from Norwegian Vikings, our closest neighbours in England were more strongly influenced by Danish settlers – and that the Viking World may have stretched as far as Asia”.

Do you have Irish ancestry? Have you or your siblings or parents got dark hair? There’s a small chance that you’re a descendant of the Vikings. Now that’s not something we expected to read today but there have long been rumours that these invaders came from Norway.

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