Irish DNA Atlas

We are pleased to report that as part of our community engagement, we will be working with the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI) and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to promote the Irish DNA Atlas.

This joint project will compile an Irish DNA Atlas through the collection of birth briefs and DNA samples to investigate the diversity of the Irish genome, which is a valuable, yet largely unexplored, resource of the Irish nation. As an island population on the edge of Europe, Ireland has a rich cultural heritage that is the product of ancient migrations from the neighbouring island and from mainland Europe.

The project aims to collect DNA from individuals who can trace their family back three generations in the same area. Participants can chose to opt in or out of the health aspect of the survey.

To explain further how individuals may become involved, here is a quick introduction from Séamus O’Reilly, Director of Archival Services:


The Genealogical Society of Ireland has embarked on its most exciting group project to date, the ‘Irish DNA Atlas’, in collaboration with Dr. Gianpiero Cavalleri, a senior scientist and population geneticist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The project aims to further our knowledge of the population history of Ireland and to help us understand how genes influence health in Ireland. The specific objectives of the ‘Irish DNA Atlas’ are (1) to create a DNA collection that allows genetic analysis of population structure within Ireland and ethnic groups across the island. Analysis of such a collection will reveal ancient demographic movements and inform us on the ancestry of specific regions and ethnic groups within Ireland. (2) To create a DNA collection to act as controls in population based studies of health in Ireland. Participants should have ancestry on the island of Ireland and all of their eight great grandparents should have been born in the same general area. Therefore, with all eight great grandparents originating from a certain area of the country their DNA represents a particular region and thus building a “DNA atlas” of the island of Ireland. For further information or to participate contact the Director of Archival Services, Séamus O’Reilly, FGSI, on or checkout the information on

With a baseline survey of the Irish population, there will be scope to carry out comparison work with ancient DNA collections, and look at migration and settlement patterns across the island of Ireland.

For futher information on the project, and to get involved, check out the Irish DNA Atlas project page


About Irish Archaeology Field School

The Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS) is Ireland’s leading provider of university accredited, site based archaeological research and training. Our archaeological and heritage programs include research projects in a number of locations in Ireland, including in Co. Wexford and Co. Offaly (with satellite schools frequently undertaken elsewhere). We provide credited and uncredited programs (and internships) for novice and experienced students, and also specialise in the preparation of purpose-built faculty led programs incorporating excavation, historical research, remote sensing, non-invasive survey, ground investigation, landscape assessment etc. Whilst our programs are excavation-centered and aimed primarily at students of archaeology, anthropology and history, courses are open to all, and are guaranteed to give you an enriching and thoroughly worthwhile study abroad adventure.
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