I’ve mentioned before that I have an interest in genealogy and family history. I love the “Who Do You Think You Are?” TV series. So I certainly didn’t miss a TV programme called “The Blood of the Irish” which was aired a couple of years ago. It set out to find out where we Irish came from.
This island was only inhabited by humans very late in history, approximately 10,000 years ago I think. This is tens of thousands of years after humans reached the extremities of Europe and the UK. So where we came from, and why we took so long to get here has always been a bit of a mystery.
As part of the programme the presenter Diarmuid Gavin visited Glencurran Cave in The Burren area of County Clare. Human remains had been found in a burial site in the cave. The remains were those of a 3-year-old child and when tested were found to be 3,500 years old. Researchers say the stable environment of the cave preserved the remains so well that they were able to extract DNA for further testing.
The DNA of the cave child was compared with 13 schoolchildren currently living in the village nearest to the cave. Three of those children were found to have a “strong DNA link” to the child who had been placed in the cave 3500 years ago.
That fact just blows my mind. Maybe it’s because I am fascinated by family history and local history.
Or maybe it’s because a 3,500-year-old relative is the ultimate answer to “Who Do You Think You Are?” research.
You can keep your long-lost ancestors from 100 or 200 years ago. Even 300 doesn’t impress me anymore. Can anyone better a 3,500 year old ancestor with a proven DNA link?!