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.