independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

In search of Vikings

HUNDREDS OF MEN TURN UP FOR DNA TESTING

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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