GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2009-01 > 1231428614
From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Blood of the Irish
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 15:30:14 +0000 (GMT)
The thing is that the Spanish connection always was the most transparently fabricated part. The utter dominance of L21 and its near absence in Iberia (as well as the absence of Iberian-specific R1b subclades and other non-R1b Iberian haplotypes) has essentially shown already that the genealogies which show most of the Gaels all going back to these Milesian Iberian settlers almost certainly are false. So genetics has essentially settled that particular debate unless the defenders of the Milesian myth retreat to a position whereby it was only a very small Iberian settlement. However, how are a few Iberian settlers (who incidentally left no archaeological trace either) going to take over an island that probably had a population of a few hundred thousand at the time? Basically it never happened but myths die hard.
In a nutshell the Irish legends are partly fabricated and, crucially, the fragments of information derived from genuine native Irish secular tradition about genuine tribes that the legends do contain are so completely garbled that you can make what you want of them. Only archaeology and genetics (and perhaps linguists) will solve the story of Irish origins. Here and there you may get a correspondence between genetics and the legends but these may be false correlations as was shown by the whole R1b=western refugia=cave painting area=Basques/uniquely non Indo-European language=early Irish settlers correlation that seems to be slowly falling apart this year under the march of genetic progress. As it stands, it is my opinion that the refining of the R1b block and other haplotypes too are slowly looking more and more compatible with the archaeology but less and less compatible with the legends.
So, Beth, I am in agreement with you that looking for answers in the Irish legends is pointless when we have archaeology, linguistics, early history and genetics. Read the Irish legends for what they are: great and often beautiful literature, the earliest and by far the most substantial body of native literature in non-Mediterranean Europe. However, bear in mind it is an essentially Early Christian body of work and it wasn't written down until Christianity and the passing of time (i.e they weren't written down until 600-1000+ years after most of the events and periods they claim to describe) had swept away a considerable part of the pre-Christian beliefs and knowledge. Its a bit like us expecting clear ungarbled facts if our descendants (after 1000 years of upheavals and changes) were recounting tales of the early 21st century in the year 3000 but writing had never been invented. Its not reasonable to expect the detail to be accurate. My
impression of native oral history across the world is that its pretty vague on detail and fantastical when it comes to the the distant past. I think people tend to overestimate the power of oral tradition sometimes when it comes to details of distant periods.
Not to be a wet blanket, but I think this thread has been off-topic for quite a while now. Could it be continued off-list perhaps?
When one of you has actually collected enough DNA samples to prove this point one way or the other, then we would all like to hear about it, I'm sure.