Blood of the Irish
- This is an article about a television documentary, not about the Irish Blood Transfusion Service. For the similarly titled song by Morrissey, see "Irish Blood, English Heart". The novel by Colm Tóibín is Bad Blood: A Walk Along the Irish Border.
|Blood of the Irish|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||2|
|Running time||2 X 60 minutes|
|Original network||RTÉ One|
|Original release||5 January 2009 – 12 January 2009|
Blood of the Irish is a two-part documentary miniseries broadcast on RTÉ One and presented by the professional gardener Diarmuid Gavin. It commenced airing on 5 January 2009 and completed broadcasting seven days later. Gavin sought 'the truth' about Irish genealogy.
The programme examined the previously claimed notion that one fifth of the modern male population living in the north-west counties are direct descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the legendary high king who allegedly kidnapped the young Saint Patrick and led him to Ireland. This was found to be particularly the case in County Donegal where it was discovered that five inter-county footballers out of the entire panel of thirty carried the relevant gene. Daniel O'Donnell, an internationally-renowned Irish singer and entertainer, submitted himself to for testing and it was discovered that he too was one of these descendants.
Gavin also explored a cave in Northern Spain while trying to link Ireland with migrants from the Basque region. He was surprised at similarities between Irish and people in Bermeo. He later extracted saliva samples containing DNA from people living in the West of Ireland and sent them for analysis. Bear DNA from old bones in an Irish cave was also found to be closely related to DNA from Spanish bears leading to the conclusion that the human immigrants must have carried the bears to Ireland in their skin-covered currach-type craft as domesticated animals. No other possibility was offered for this unusual finding.
Trinity College, Dublin and EthnoAncestry undertook research. An attempt was made to extract ancient DNA from some of the oldest human remains found within the boundaries of Ireland. The Basques-to-Ireland theory was based on an earlier paper, "Hill et al." published in 2000, which examined 5 markers per sample. By 2009 further research in greater detail had suggested a much more complicated and layered origin for Irish male lineages, with private tests typically examining over 60 markers, which the programme makers ignored.
In 2010, Blood of the Irish won Best Documentary Series at the 7th Annual Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA).
- "RTÉ Television Announces Over 70 new series and documentaries for New Season". RTÉ. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- "About the Series". RTÉ. Accessed 5 January 2009.
- "Medieval Irish warlord boasts three million descendants". New Scientist. 2006-01-18. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Blood of the Irish on RTÉ". Mjordan Wordpress. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Who are the Irish?". 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- See e.g. http://www.ethnoancestry.com/
- "Winners of the 7th Annual Irish Film & Television Awards".
- Production Company
- Series Page on RTE
- Building of the sets
- EthnoAncestry - providers of genetic tests for this production