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Munster Irish

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About us

When this project was initiated, in February 2012, we spoke of the Ancestral Haplotypes of Munster. At that stage each of three ancestral haplotypes we initially identified, Irish Type II, Irish Type III and Munster I, was associated with a terminal SNP marking a subclade under R-L21>DF13, viz. CTS4466, L226 and L362 respectively.  We suggested that the common ancestor ‘founding’ each of these subclades was likely born in the first millennium A.D. and was thus a focal point for our interest in the pre-Norman peoples of Munster.

Today, with the benefit of Next Generation Testing (NGS), and in particular FTDNA’s Big Y test, we can with certainty subdivide the CTS4466 subclade into numerous branches and sub-branches forming further tiers in the Irish Type II phylogenetic tree. Some of these bring us forward into the second millennium and to subclades which are, subject to NPEs, specific to single surnames. The Irish Type III tree also shows some further subdivisions under L226, while on the L362 tree we now see an initial split where the O’Callaghans (and Newmans) break away, then two parallel subclades which currently account for all L362 McCarthys, as further detailed below.

Thus while we will still talk of the ‘Haplotypes of Munster’, the genetic subdivision of these haplotypes will be identified by the SNPs denoting their subclades.

We do, though, wish to retain in our subgrouping of members’ haplotypes on our Y-DNA Results page the connection between first millennium tribal entities and second millennium surnames where possible. We are currently reassessing some of these groupings and will provide any necessary clarifications on the basis when revisions are completed.

Points to keep in  mind when viewing the current display:


·     If using the Y-DNA Results Colorized option, the Min/Max/Mode data at the head of each subgroup of  'Other Subclades' categories will be meaningless and should be ignored since the haplotypes are in numerous different haplogroups/clades.

·   'Irish Type II/CTS4466 - tested/predicted', 'L226 - tested/predicted' and 'L362 - tested/predicted' includes any surnames with those haplotypes where no specific tribal affiliation has been uncovered.


The following is a brief summary of prominent Y-DNA clusters present in Munster.


THE ANCESTRAL HAPLOTYPES OF MUNSTER


Contents:


Introduction

Irish Type II (CTS4466)

Irish Type III (L226)

Munster I (L362)

Introduction


In the early days of genetic genealogy, Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH) was a label given by geneticists to a commonly occurring Western European pattern of DYS allele counts (values) found at six markers within what is now FTDNA Panel 1.  As testing extended up to 67 markers the extended haplotype comprising the most frequently occurring DYS values found along the Atlantic seaboard became known as Super Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype (SWAMH) and became equated, upon the discovery of SNP R-L21, with the likely haplotype of the progenitor of this SNP, who lived perhaps about 4,400 years ago.


Tested or predicted SNP R-L21 is seen possibly in over 90% of males whose paper trail ancestry indicates Munster origins. (Our project will refine this figure in due course). We give in Table 1 below the SWAMH modal haplotype, extended to the full 111 markers of FTDNA’s current STR test range, and have assumed, rightly or wrongly, that this is the ancestral haplotype of both SNPs R-L21 and, immediately upstream thereof, R-P312, from which various more recent Irish ancestral haplotypes are derived. The values for Irish Types II and III and Munster I are also given, immediately to the right of this column.


We will also attempt to identify other ancestral haplotypes found among the carriers of surnames derived from the pre-Norman peoples of Munster, including peoples whose ancestors did not arrive in Munster carrying SNP R-L21, whether through participation of such people in this project or isolating appropriate data from haplogroup projects already advanced (in which case due acknowledgement and links will be given).  Table 1 will therefore grow with the project.


The sections which follow the tabulation address the aforementioned three Munster-specific haplotypes and will discuss any potential further Munster-specific ancestral haplotype in turn as it is identified, the information being supplemented and/or updated on a regular basis as the project progresses.



FTDNA

Sequence No.

DYS / DYF No.

SWAMH (R-L21)

Irish Type II

(CTS4466)

Irish Type III (R-L226)

R-L362


1

393

13

13

13

13

2

390

24

24

24

23

3

19/394

14

14

14

14

4

391

11

10

11

11

5

385a

11

11

11

11

6

385b

14

15

14

14

7

426

12

12

12

12

8

388

12

12

12

13

9

439

12

11

11

12

10

389-1

13

13

13

13

11

392

13

13

13

13

12

389-2/389-1

16

16

16

15

13

458

17

17

17

17

14

459a

9

9

8

9

15

459b

10

10

9

10

16

455

11

11

11

11

17

454

11

11

11

11

18

447

25

24

25

25

19

437

15

15

15

15

20

448

19

19

19

19

21

449

29

29

29

29

22

464a

15

15

13

15

23

464b

15

15

13

15

24

464c

17

17

15

16

25

464d

17

17

17

17

26

460

11

11

11

10

27

GATA H4

11

11

11

11

28

YCA IIa

19

19

19

19

29

YCA IIb

23

23

23

23

30

456

16

15

15

16

31

607

15

15

15

15

32

576

18

18

18

18

33

570

17

17

17

18

34

CDYa

36

36

36

37

35

CDYb

38

37

38

38

36

442

12

13

12

12

37

438

12

12

12

12

38

531

11

11

11

11

39

578

9

9

9

9

40

395S1a

15

15

15

16

41

395S1b

16

16

16

16

42

590

8

8

8

8

43

537

10

10

10

10

44

641

10

10

10

10

45

472

8

8

8

8

46

406S1

10

10

10

11

47

511

10

10

10

10

48

425

12

12

12

12

49

413a

23

23

23

23

50

413b

23

23

23

23

51

557

16

16

15

17

52

594

10

10

10

10

53

436

12

12

12

12

54

490

12

12

12

12

55

534

15

15

15

15

56

450

8

8

8

8

57

444

12

12

12

12

58

481

22

22

22

22

59

520

20

20

20

20

60

446

13

13

13

13

61

617

12

12

12

13

62

568

11

11

11

11

63

487

13

13

13

13

64

572

11

11

11

11

65

640

11

11

11

11

66

492

12

12

12

12

67

565

12

11

12

12

68

710

35

35

34

36

69

485

15

15

15

15

70

632

9

9

9

9

71

495

16

16

16

16

72

540

12

12

12

12

73

714

25

25

25

25

74

716

26

26

24

26

75

717

19

19

19

19

76

505

12

12

12

12

77

556

11

11

11

11

78

549

13

13

13

12

79

589

12

12

12

12

80

522

11

11

11

11

81

494

9

9

9

9

82

533

13

13

13

13

83

636

12

11

12

12

84

575

10

10

10

10

85

638

11

11

11

11

86

462

11

11

11

11

87

452

30

30

30

30

88

445

12

12

12

12

89

GATA A10

13

13

13

13

90

463

24

24

25

24

91

441

13

13

13

13

92

GGAAT 1B07

10

10

10

10

93

525

10

10

10

10

94

712

20

21

21

20

95

593

15

15

15

15

96

650

19

19

19

18

97

532

13

14

13

13

98

715

24

24

24

24

99

504

17

16

17

16

100

513

12

12

12

13

101

561

15

15

15

15

102

552

24

24

24

25

103

726

12

12

12

12

104

635

23

24

23

23

105

587

18

18

18

18

106

643

10

10

10

10

107

497

14

14

14

14

108

510

17

18

18

17

109

434

9

9

9

9

110

461

12

12

12

12

111

435

11

11

11

11

 

-2

-1

Difference from Modal

+1

+2

                             

Table 1:  Ancestral Haplotypes derived from R-L21


Irish Type II (CTS4466)

In 2006, Dr Ken Nordvedt identified two distinctive modal haplotypes largely associated with southern Irish names.  The first, in February, was described as “South Irish” or “South Irish R1b” because of its concentration in the south of the island. (It had in fact been independently identified with the creation of a corresponding “Group A” in the McCarthy Surname Study in 2004 as well as the separation of the Glens and Mór tribes in the O'Donoghue Society project in 2005.)  Following the use of “Irish Type I” to describe the earlier discovery of a north-western Irish modal haplotype, it also became known as “Irish Type II”.  In 2013, the 1000 Genomes Project and National Geographic's Geno 2.0 established CTS4466 as a representative SNP associated with this haplotype and subsequent Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) testing such as FTDNA’s Big Y has revealed many CTS4466 ‘equivalents’ as well as an extensive subclade tree structure both upstream and downstream of CTS4466.  This is being studied by the R1b-CTS4466 Plus haplogroup project at  https://www.familytreedna.com/public/R1b-CTS4466Plus. Both a basic Irish Type II structure and a detailed tree identifying the placement of hundreds of participants are maintained in its associated forum website at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/R1b-CTS4466-Plus/files. The latter is also available at http://mccarthy.dnagen.org/.

Referring to the possible Irish Type II ancestral haplotype, as indicated in Table 1, seven characteristic mutations were initially identified in FTDNA Panels 1-3 (1-37markers). FTDNA Panel 4 (37 to 67 markers) revealed just one more and extension of STR testing to Panel 5 (67 to 111 markers) added another six,  making fourteen in all. It should be noted that the coincidence of four of the six characteristic Irish Type II mutations in Panels 1-3 has been seen in kits which proved to be negative for R-L21 but positive for its‘sister’ SNP R-U152.  However, these kits have few, if any, of the six Irish Type II Panel 4 and 5 mutations. The combination of the three Panel 1 mutations (first twelve markers) alone is also seen in other haplotypes under R-L21. This stresses the importance of either testing positive for SNP CTS4466 or one of the SNPs defining a subclade thereof, or at least testing the full range of 111 STR markers to validate Irish Type II membership.

From this Munster Irish Project and other FTDNA Surname projects it is noted that the Irish Type II haplotype is shared by over 60% of southern O’Donoghues (The name O’Donoghue has risen independently in several parts of Ireland.  The “southern” groups refer to those of interest to this project and are historically recorded as comprising Eoghanacht Caisil and Eoghanacht Raithlind.) and O’Sullivans, and about 50% of O’Keeffes, 30% of O’Mahonys and 20% of McCarthys. These names are strongly associated with the Eóganacht dynasty in the ancient genealogical tracts.

It has been estimated that the progenitor in whom the Irish Type II haplotype of Table 1 was realised (the final mutation probably being that at DYS 439) lived in the first half of the first millennium A.D.  This heralds the period when the Eóganacht dynasty began to consolidate its hegemony over the other tribes of the south. However, other considerably different haplotypes are seen in significant percentages of the aforementioned families as well as the many other surnames said to derive from Eóganacht sources. 

As sheet 2 of the detailed Irish Type II tree shows, SNP CTS4466 occurred in a bottleneck period during which many other SNPs and STR locations occurred without any apparent branching off into surviving lineages. We estimate this as lasting of the order of 1500 years, and CTS4466 itself could have occurred at any time within this period. Finally a small surviving branch materialises, identified by SNP A7751, and from the surnames so far identified within it, this has a strong Welsh connection. The main stream continues with SNP S1115 before dividing into three major haplogroups. These are marked by SNPs A212, A663 andA541. There are in addition a few participants who test positive for S1115 but negative for all three of these SNPs (i.e. they are S1115*).

Of the approximately 25 surnames found in the haplogroup of SNP A212 only the name Heffernan has a definite Munster connection. There is a considerable Scots element among this group. A663 is tested or suspected in only thirteen kits as at February2016, but none of the surnames suggests a pre-Norman Munster origin. In each of these haplogroups SNP and STR mutations common to all (or all but one for A663)participants suggest a ‘bottleneck’ of several centuries from the formation of the branch until it began to flourish with a male progeny which has survived to this day.

About 85% of CTS4466 participants, however, are found in the A541 subclade, and this divides into the following principal subclades:
  • S1121: this is the largest of the three A541 subclades, accounting for about 55% of A541. It subdivides into the branches of SNPs L270, in which O’Sullivans are dominant, and Z16251, which immediately further divides into the subclades of SNPs A1134, Z18170 and A159.

The subclade of A1134 contains a large cluster of O’Donoghues in downstream subclades under SNP A804, including The O'Donoghue of the Glens (the recognized chieftain of the Eóganacht Casiel/Glens tribe) in A802, while those O’Moriartys who have tested are found in the parallel subclade of A2221.  O’Mahonys form the main cluster in the subclade of A150, with distant common ancestry under Z18170. While numerous surname-specific clusters appear underA159, notable among which are O’Keeffe, Sheehan, Dennehy, further O’Sullivans, Toomey, Quirk, Dunagan and Kelleher. Most of these Munster surnames found in the subclade of A1134 are associated in ancient genealogies with Eóganacht origins.  Further, except for one O’Keeffe, they are not found elsewhere under the Irish Type II banner.

While S1121 does seem to be a marker for Eóganacht origins, it should be noted that not all surnames associated with this dynasty share this genetic origin in SNP S1121. Hegartys are entirely absent from Irish Type II within this project while a single Callahan is found amongst the Sheehans. Irish Type II MacCarthys are scattered throughout the A541 subclades, suggesting that ‘migrants’ from a variety of tribal origins took this surname early in the second millennium as the MacCarthy power base moved from Tipperary into Cork and Kerry. In fact these amount to only 20% of MacCarthys and the bloodline of the eponymous Cárthach and his O’Callaghan cousins is argued below to be that of the ‘Munster Type I’ haplogroup of SNP L362.

  •  Z21065: this accounts for about 35% of A541 and breaks down into numerous subclades. The most frequently found names here are Donovan and Regan(and variants) in the subclade defined by the path Z21065>A195>A761>A88>Z16259, where they are accompanied by Hayes and O’Hourihane.  The article “Irish Type II explored through Uí Chairpri Aebda” - https://www.dropbox.com/s/5roa5ik4l7mvsbl/Irish%20Type%20II%20explored%20through%20U%C3%AD%20Chairpri%20Aebda%20%28Rev%200%29.pdf?dl=0 - concludes that, although the name Donovan and some other surnames under Z21065 can have origins among the peoples of the Corca Laidhe, the presence of the Regans and numerous other surnames of possible Thomond (North Munster) and even more northerly origins supports an Uí Chairpri Aebda provenance. The Uí Chairpri Aebda were purportedly a division of the Uí Fidgeinti, whose homelands were centred on Bruree, in the south-east of present day Co. Limerick.  The common ancestry of the Eóganachta and Uí Fidgeinti claimed in ancient genealogies has, on this basis, some substance, aligning as it does with theS1121 and Z21065 branches respectively under SNP A541 however, there is little evidence of alignment of other surnames claimed as having their origins in the progeny of the eponymous Fiach Fidgenid anywhere among the Irish Type II haplotypes, and as noted above, neither did all Eóganachta share such haplotypes.
  • A151: this has the greatest diversity in most distant ancestor (European) locations, and includes branches of Scandinavian origin, of Corca Dhuibhne surnames (O’Shea and O’Connell) and of MacAulays of the Outer Hebrides (these last are unrelated to the MacAulays of Lennox who some claim are of Eóganacht descent).

Irish Type III (L226)


The second southern Irish modal haplotype identified by Dr Nordvedt, in April 2006, appeared to be most common where origins were stated as the counties of north Munster (Clare, Limerick, with appreciative presence also in neighbouring Tipperary and Cork) where surnames associated in the genealogical tracts with Dál gCais peoples are found most prevalent.  This region of north Munster was known as Thomond in ancient times (the south was called Desmond).  

 

Dennis Wright’s excellent website at http://www.irishtype3dna.org/index.php provides detailed information on this cluster and identifies estimates which suggest the common ancestor lived roughly between 350 A.D. and 650 A.D.  The Dál gCais, historically known as Deisi Tuisceart (Northern Deisi), claimed descent from Cas, brother of the Eóghan Mór who gave his name to the Eóganacht families, their father being King Ollioll Olum. However, this is considered by many a historian a unification of convenience fabricated by Brian Boru’s tribe and later writers; and since Irish Types II and III are unlikely to have common ancestry more recent than 2,000 B.C. they cannot both be direct descendants of King Olioll Olum.

 

Late in 2009 an SNP, R-L226, was discovered in a L21 Walk Through the Y Test on a representative Irish Type III sample, and this has been found to be positive only in kits clearly displaying the Irish Type III characteristics. Like CTS4466, it occurs in a bottleneck period and has about 20 'equivalent' SNPs, probably spanning 2,000 years, so we don't know whether L226 itself occurred at the beginning, at the end or in the middle of this period.  Alex Williamson's The Big Tree at http://www.ytree.net/DisplayTree.php?blockID=15 gives an idea of the distribution as the lineage flourished at the end of this period.



Munster Type I (L362)

 

Cliff McCarthy, one of the early administrators of the McCarthy Surname Study, identified, in 2004 that 9 out of 32 McCarthys (28%) carried the modal haplotype now associated with SNP P314.2.  At this time only 12 marker tests were available, but fortunately these included three distinctive mutations from SWAMH:

 

DYS 390                                 24 to 23 (or even 22)

DYS 388                                 12 to 13

DYS (389-2 - 389-1)              16 to 15

 

By the time of the discovery of SNP P314.2, in a L-21 Walk Through the Y test late in 2009, seven further mutations from SWAMH had been associated with this haplotype in FTDNA Panels 2-4.

 

The surnames and locations of the earliest known ancestors of the first 100 males identified with this ancestral haplotype indicate a significant presence in north-east Ireland and Scotland, north and south Munster, and occasionally in England.  However, it is evident that the main P314.2 lineage with the above ten-mutation ancestral haplotype then splits into two principal groups, with very little evidence of any exceptions. One of the two branches has mutations from 12 to 13 at DYS 617 then 16 to 17 at DYS 557 (a fast moving marker, thus occasionally showing this same mutation elsewhere), but crucially also a further SNP, R-L362, discovered late in 2010, which appears to have occurred after the DYS 617 mutation. This combination has not been seen in any of the presumed northern participants except a Kelly, if he is indeed of northern origin: almost all of these have their own identifying mutation 19 to 18 at DYS 448 and most have 17 to 16 at DYS 458). 


A P314.2 tree is maintained at http://mccarthy.dnagen.org. This was originaly speculative, based entirely on STR results, but the first six Big Y data sets giving the reliable definition which SNP testing affords have not caused any changes to its structure to be made.  The Munster-based L362 subclade is dominated by McCarthys and accounts for about 28% of all McCarthys, this surname’s largest grouping by far with a common ancestor within the past 1,200 years or so. It also has early branches to (O')Sullivans and (O')Callaghans, both in a manner consistent with the ancient genealogies.


The P314 +ve, L362 -ve section also appears to have two Munster-based branches of its own. One of these comprises solely (O')Sullivans and Dennehys, and this too is not inconsistent with the ancient genealogical tracts both in their inter-relationship and a conceivable dating of their common ancestor based on their position on the phylogenetic tree. However, it should be recognised that the O'Sullivans discussed in this section cannot have shared the post-Iron Age paternal ancestry of those who are so prevalent in the S1121>L270.2 subclade discussed under Irish Type II above.

 


FIRST CONCLUSIONS


The three administrators of this project are an O’Donoghue, a McCarthy and a Regan, all bearing southern Irish Eoghanacht/Uí Fidgeinti surnames.  Each has been researching his or her surname, the haplotypes found within their respective surname projects and their association with other surnames found in Munster.  The understanding of the history of these families is inextricably entwined with that of the entire population of Munster, and this project is devoted objectively to increasing our knowledge of the whole.


The membership of the project makes apparent that the Irish Type II haplotype features strongly within the surnames identified as belonging to the different Eoghanacht tribes referred to in the oldest annals and genealogies of Ireland.  The Irish Type II haplotype can, however, be found in other surnames throughout the province as well.  (We are accumulating a database of haplotypes nearing 1,000 that are potentially Irish Type II.)  Similarly, surnames are found in the Irish Type III haplotype that are not of a Dál gCais lineage and the Northwest Irish/Type I Haplotype has surnames that are not of an Ui Neill lineage.  This degree of disparity cannot be adequately explained by adoptions, NPEs, raids and pillage, name changes, etc.  While we are hesitant, at present, to rely with certainty on any of the various estimates of the time to the common ancestor of these Irish haplotypes, it is clear that the common ancestor of each of these Irish clades lived before surnames developed.  It seems that whatever dominant families maintained the control of the leadership of their tribal territories, some of the relatives may have made their way independently and eventually adopted different surnames or variations when they came into use. Likewise, the Eoghanacht surnames contain considerable diversity of haplotype, indicating that not all holders of the surname were genetically related to the chiefly line.

The early peoples who inhabited Munster were described as Clann (children), Corca (race), D
ál (tribe), Tuaithe (people) etc.  They were probably tribal confederations of various family units united by proximity of geography.  The participants currently in the project with surnames the ancient genealogical tracts associate with these tribes show a variety of haplotypes, which would indicate that the genealogies of these early people are apparently no more accurate than the tracts that describe the Eoghanacht.

It is only logical to assume that whatever size contingent of ‘Gaels’ arrived in Ireland in the last pre-historic waves of invaders, whenever those may have occurred, there would certainly have been a number of different, albeit sometimes inter-related families.  The annals indicate that the leadership of these Gaels in Munster was centered in the line which became the Eoghanacht.  Which haplotype or haplotypes they bore is impossible to know with any certainty.  But, besides the high occurrence of Irish Type II throughout the Eoghanacht families, there are a few significant anomalies amidst the later families said to be Eoghanacht.

There are three Eoghanacht names which have a low but significant incidence of  Type III – O'Donoghue, O Mahony and O’Callahan.  The Type III O'Donoghues are found in Tipperary and a bit further north-east into Offaly.  They are clearly a different tribe from the Cork/Kerry Eoghanacht O'Donoghues.  While it’s probably just coincidental that a Donohoe is closest to the modal for Type III, there are six of the name who are Type III (three in the Munster Irish DNA (MIDNA) Project) which seems less than coincidental.  It is possible that the Type III peoples were amidst the Gaels and garnered their own territories in Munster, mainly in what became the Dál gCais territories of Clare, Tipperary and Limerick.  The fact that county Cork, the homeland of the Eoghanacht, runs a close fourth in the density of Type III (according to Dennis Wright’s website) may be seen to support that possibility.

The O Mahonys have a slightly larger group of ten Type III (four in the MIDNA Project).  These could be Type III for another reason as well:  Cian, the progenitor of the O Mahonys, married the daughter of Brian Boru.  We may surmise that some of her male cousins would likely have come with her in the entourage she would have had.  In such a scenario they would have become part of the tribe and no doubt procreated.  They could be legitimately considered members of the tribe, though in such a patrilineal society it is not clear if they would have been considered part of the Derbfine from which the chiefs were chosen.

The most populous groups in the O’Callahan Project are of NW Irish (a different sept) and Irish Type III.  Cellachán of Cashel is claimed to be the regal progenitor of both the O’Callahans and the McCarthys, but the latter have no Type III at all.  However, the O’Callahans do contain a growing number of haplotypes that are L362 – one of our recognized haplotypes for Munster.  The modal haplotype associated with SNP L362 is the largest group among McCarthys but rare in other names.   There are one Sullivan (also Eoghanacht Cashel) one O’Donoghue and  a few O Mahonys with that haplotype.  More SNP testing is needed to clarify this further, but it does appear that L362 is the haplotype of the line of McCarthy Mor.  There is more detail available on the McCarthy Surname Study website - https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/mccarthy-surname-study/about/results.

We continue to pursue these lines of investigation as the project progresses.


PRESENTATIONS

The Administrators made a presentation about the project at the Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference in 2013 entitled The Munster Irish DNA Project & the Men of Munster - Who Are They?  A video of the presentation is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCPAlFRXUKU.

The project updated this presentation at the Genetic Genealogy Ireland October2015 conference, The Munster Irish DNA Project, An Update Two Years On & An Explosion of SNPs.  Unfortunately, there was a malfunction in the recording of it.  If we are able to recreate the narrative adequately, we may be able to post this video as well.

A presentation was also made at the Genealogy Event in Adare, Co Limerick in August 2015


 
Last updated: 4th March 2016