Where did we all come from?
New evidence emerging suggests strongly that our flora and fauna as well as quite possibly our earliest ancestors arrived in Ireland from France and northern Spain bypassing Britain completely.
DNA tests carried out on Irish stoats shows them to be genetically different from their British cousins and thus of a different lineage.
Pine, Elm and Oak, charted through fossil pollens seem to have migrated here directly from Spain, up the French Atlantic seaboard and across a land bridge to Cork as the Ice Age came to an end.
Pygmy Shrews in Ireland are closely related to those in the Pyrenees and would have probably arrived here through human migration in the boats of prehistoric settlers.
Also the people of Connacht are a concentrated source of ancient genetic markers diluted elsewhere in Europe by invasions and migrations. Many of Ireland’s pioneer settlers most probably arrived here from Iberia.*
Some odd ‘immigrants’ are the Connacht’s ‘Mediterranean Heather’ and the spotted Kerry slug. This slug is otherwise only found in northern Spain and Portugal.
*Can’t help feeling there might be a bit more to those old legends in the Leabhar Geabola than we give it credit for!
All this and more will be covered at a conference attended by some of the leading experts on these subjects in TCD in early September.