Wednesday 24 May 2017

In search of Vikings



HUNDREDS of Wexford men turned up at the Westgate Heritage Centre to offer themselves up for Viking DNA testing.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Cathering Swift of Mary Immaculate College, Limerick and Dr. Turi King of the Department of Genetics in Leicester University sent out a call for males with certain surnames to come forward.

The scientists are studying the origins of medieval families to determine how many people are descended from the Vikings.

A large group of Wexford men answering to names such as Busher, Farrell, Kenny, Harpur, Shiggins and Turner queued up at the Hertiage Centre to offer a sample of their spit.

' The queue was out the door and down the road,' said Mayor of Wexford Cllr. Jim Allen, who was among those tested.

Cllr. Allen heard about the study at a conference in Drogheda last year and offered Wexford as a testing location.

Only three towns are being studied: Wexford, Limerick and Galway.

Cllr. Allen said that as he drove to the Heritage Centre, he was hoping that some people would show up.

' Then I noticed was that there were no car parking spaces left. I couldn't believe it when I saw the crowd,' he said.

Men of all ages from early twenties to over eighty were there, some accompanied by their wives or daughters.

Participants were asked to spit into a DNA test kit which was then sealed and labelled.

Everyone who had a sample taken will receive the results of their test at a later date while the general findings will be published.

Wexford Borough Council has made a financial contribution to the research in the hope that it will benefit heritage tourism locally.

The Mayor said he wished to thank everyone who attended for their interest and co-operation.

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