DNA shows Scots and Irish should look to Spain for their ancestry

THE Irish and Scots may be as closely related to the people of Spain and Portugal as the Celts of central Europe.

Historians have long believed the British Isles were invaded by Iron Age Celts from central Europe in about 500 BC. But geneticists at Dublin’s Trinity College now claim the Scots and Irish have as much, if not more, in common with the people of north-western Spain.

Dr Daniel Bradley, genetics lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, said a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics into Celtic origins revealed close affinities with the people of Galicia.

"It’s well known that there are cultural relations between the areas but now this shows there is much more," Dr Bradley said.

Historians believed that the Celts, who were originally from the Alpine regions of central Europe, invaded the Atlantic islands in a massive migration 2,500 years ago. But Dr Bradley said that it was possible migrants moved from the Iberian peninsula as far back as 6,000 years ago and up until 3,000 years ago.

The study, using DNA samples from people living in Celtic nations and other parts of Europe, found

there are also close links between Scotland and Ireland dating back much further than the Plantations of the 1600s, when many Scots moved to northern Ireland in search of fertile farming land.