English and Irish: one people separated by 7-15 millenia?

It’s hard to know what goes to make up the genetic make up of a nation, but it seems increasingly clear that the supposed difference between the English and Irish is not as deep as we may have been led to believe. Nicholas Wade in the International Herald Tribune.

…about three-quarters of the ancestors of today’s British and Irish populations arrived 15,000 to 7,500 years ago, when rising sea levels split Britain and Ireland from Continental Europe and from each other, Oppenheimer calculates in a new book, “The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story.”

Ireland received the fewest of the subsequent invaders; their DNA makes up about 12 percent of the Irish gene pool, Oppenheimer estimates. DNA from invaders accounts for 20 percent of the gene pool in Wales, 30 percent in Scotland, and about a third in eastern and southern England.

But no single group of invaders is responsible for more than 5 percent of the current gene pool, Oppenheimer says on the basis of genetic data.

  • SuperSoupy

    Eh? If this is based on longstanding Haplogroup reasearch it has been known for ages that Haplogroup R1b is the most frequent Y chromosome marker throughout Western Europe and has absolutely nothing to do with English/Irish relationships just shared Cro-Magnon ancestry.

  • Crataegus

    the most frequent Y chromosome marker throughout Western Europe

    What we are all European? Surprise surprise.

  • circles

    sure thats no surprise! They just needed to go to the sunnier holiday resorts to see the scarlet sun burn and the people looking most ridculous in baseball caps to know that genetically these islanders aren’t that fair apart from each other.

    Culturally though …. well, thats another story.

    Anyway if we’re all related, what kind of relative would take your house off you, move their most cantankerous kids in and make you work in the kitchens?

  • DNAge

    The same argument could be made to argue that the Irish are the same as the French, Basques and much of Belgium. It just doesnt hold water. What next, the Austrians are not allowed to be referred as a seperate to teh Germans, and the Spanish and Italians are no different? Silly.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The article says “Britain and Ireland are so thoroughly divided in their histories that there is no single word to refer to the inhabitants of both islands.” Answer – see rest of article – British Isles.

    The shock of people with much in common across these islands might be too much for some Pan-Nationalists. But that’s the reality regardless of what arrangements we have for governing the different parts of the British Isles i.e. England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

  • Diarmid Logan

    I think that Mark Thomas of University College London would disagree:

    Germans set up an apartheid-like society in Britain

  • Diarmid Logan