The origin of Ireland’s Travelling people is a subject that has been debated for many years.
Some say they are related to Romany gypsies or some other ethnic group that arrived here over the past 1000 years, others say they have been a community in Ireland long before the arrival of the Celts and subsequent invaders, while more say they are ‘settled Irish people’ who ‘took to the road’ during times of famine and eviction in the years since Oliver Cromwell.
Now for the first time this subject has been approached using the tools of DNA technology. Over the past year Olympian Francie Barrett has collected 40 Traveller DNA samples from every corner of Ireland. This DNA has been analysed by a team of scientists from The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, The University of Edinburgh and Ethnoancestory.com to unlock the history of Ireland’s Travelling people.