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All humans belong to a haplogroup, an ancestral clan, whose markers represent branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens.  The test for determining one’s haplogroup is a test that looks for rare mutations (single nucleotide polymorphism) on the male Y-chromosome.  The nickname for this testing procedure is “SNP” (pronounced “SNIP”).


According to SNP tests Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) surnamed people who closely match the 111 marker DNA panel (see Ó Ciarṁacáin-Irwin Modal this chapter) will test positive for the L21 SNP.  In addition to the L21 SNP there are new SNPs, recently discovered, for which Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) surnamed people should test positive.  Presently (April 2014) these new SNP discoveries are: DF13, CTS4466 et al, 18384907, 18572166 and 22576571 and they are all “downstream” of SNP L21.  Also at this time the latter two SNPs, just mentioned (18572166 and 22576571) are presently the “terminal SNPs” for Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) surnamed people.  So in the future, as research progresses, the Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) haplogroup designation could change depending on new SNP discoveries for which Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) people test positive.


Prior to the L21 mutation (about 4,000 years ago) the Irwin (Ó Ciarṁacáin) ancestors had accumulated a number of more ancient SNPs labeled “upstream.”  The list is quite long but the key SNPs giving direction to our migratory path from the beginning of the R1B haplogroup are: M343, P25, P297, M269, L23, L51, L11 and P312.  In the interest of clarity and brevity the story of this DNA history will begin with the branch of the Homo Sapiens Family tree known as “ARBINS” (R1B).  “ARBINS” is a convenient term used to avoid the repetitious “bearers of haplogroup R1B.”  This appellation is patterned after R1A’s (Aryans from R1A) name appellation.


According to the well known and respected chemist, Anatole Klyosov haplogroup R1B arose at or near the Altai mountain region of South Siberia, circa 16,000 years ago.  Thereafter various R1B tribes followed different  circuitous paths westward away from Central Asia via present day North Kazakhstan…the south Urals…the Russian Plain and 10,000 years later finally reaching the shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.


By 6,000 years ago those tribes of the R1B haplogroup that would ultimately finish their epic trek in Ireland left the shores of the Black Sea and Mediterranean via two separate routes.  From the Black Sea “river borne” Arbins would follow the network of river routes north and west and ultimately end up leaving continental Europe for Britain and thereafter Ireland.  From the shores of the eastern Mediterranean “sea borne” Arbins would wind their way across the Mediterranean shores and ultimately reach Iberia (Spain) some 5,000 years ago.  Those “sea borne” Arbins who had taken the Mediterranean route to Spain, arriving there 5,000 year before present (ybp) soon thereafter acquired the SNP 312 at or near Spain.


The last leg of the sea borne Arbins journey (Spain to Ireland) was perhaps the most celebrated in myth and legend (Milesians). The voyage(s) from Spain to Ireland was probably an incremental one spanning numerous generations.  From Spain they probably followed the French Coast up to France’s Bretagne peninsula… thence across the Channel to the Cornwall peninsula… then perhaps to Wales… and ultimately on to south Ireland.


They sailed these voyages, settling and resettling all along the way, in their ocean-going boats (now called “Curraghs” in Irish).  The curraghs were made of a latticed wooden frame lashed together with raw-hide and covered with animal hides which had been tanned in oak bark and stitched together with flax thread. These stitched seams were waterproofed with fat from sea mammals and other animals. Depending on durability requirements curraghs hulls were stitched together in a single hide construction, double hide construction or even triple hide construction all of which were placed together in contact. These curraghs could be propelled by oars, masts with sails and riggings or both. The sails (pre-woven cloth era) were of animal skins sewn together with fine cat gut.  Curraghs intended for long voyages were furnished with solid decks…steering oar and steersman…rowing seats…and a crew of 10 to 12 men. Their size (the large ocean sailing curraghs) could range between 45 to 60 feet in length and 12 to 15 feet in beam.  Smaller riverine curraghs would be constructed much smaller and could literally be carried on a person(s) back from river to river.


This lightweight and flexible hull design made them very fast sailors.  The lattice-work wooden frame provided strength for extreme sea-worthiness, maneuverability and an astonishing load capacity.  It was in these varying sized light vessels that our pre-L21 and L21 mutation ancestors committed themselves to the mercy of the most violent Atlantic storms and ultimately came to colonize Ireland’s south coast about 4,000 or more years ago.


Between four and five thousand years ago our first L21 mutation ancestor was born possibly somewhere in the south of Ireland…but arguably in France, (Bretagne Peninsula), or Cornwall or Wales?  Most of his descendants would remain and become very numerous in those places.  In time descendants of our first L21 ancestors would spread out and colonize not only south Ireland’s coastal region but also its hinterland.


Ireland at this time was heavily forested and nearly impenetrable by land and so our L21 forbearers colonized south Ireland via the numerous fjords, rias and estuaries that extend deep into south Ireland’s heartland and also via its vast network of rivers and tributaries that criss-cross in all direction.


To accomplish this river borne colonization they depended on their sturdy and versatile curraghs which, being smaller than their ocean-going curraghs, were light and portable and of a shallow draft.


The Ó Ciarṁacáin (Irwin) sept of Munster descend from those “L21s” who remained in south Ireland.  But even though most of the L21 descendants remained in Ireland a minority of them, in their curraghs, left Ireland as seafarers (fishermen, merchants, raiders and colonists) and resettled elsewhere.


Those of the L21 majority who remained in Ireland would mainly “cluster” in Ireland’s southern province of Munster and give rise to the haplogroup now known as the “South Irish Cluster.”  Today they bear, for the most part, “Eoghanacht” surnames such as O’Leary, O’Shea, O’Connor, O’Keefe, Sullivan, Kelly, Donahue, Callaghan, Healy, Crowley, Driscoll, Desmond, Donovan and Irwin to just name a handful.


As “Eoghanachts” they claimed ancestry from Milesius of Spain and his son, Heber, who purportedly flourished circa the 17th century B.C.  They also claim ancestry from Eoghan Mor I, called Mogha Nuadhad, who fought a battle with Conn of the Hundred Battles, Monarch of Ireland, in 123 A.D.  Resulting from this battle Mogha compelled Conn to divide Ireland into two equal parts.  The south part came to be called “Leath Mogha (Mogha’s half).  The northern part came to be called “Leath Cuinn (Conn’s half).  And furthermore Conn was forced to give his daughter in marriage to Eoghan’s son Oilill Olum and from this union were born three sons: Eghan Mor II, Cormac Cas and Kian from whom descend the prominent southern “tribes.”  These “tribes”, also referred to as “races”, are the Race of Cormac Cas (Dalcassions)…the Race of Kian (Clan Kian)…and the Race of Eoghan (Eoghanachts).


The Eoghanachts in the 3rd century A.D. were further subdivided into seven “septs”:  Eoghanacht of Chaisil…Eoghanacht of Locha Lein…Eoghanacht of Raithlind…Eoghanacht of Glendahnach…Eoghanacht of Ruis Argait… Eoghanacht of Arann…and the Eoghanacht of Ainy (to whom belong the Ó Ciarṁacáin/Irwins).  All of the traditional ruling families of these septs now have surnames largely populated by L21 positive people or haplogroups “downstream” of the progenitor of the L21 mutation.


Whether or not the large “South Ireland Cluster” of L21 population truly descends from these people (Milesius, Heber, Eoghan Mor and Oilill Olum) is not provable.  Many modern historians consider these individuals to be legendary only and whether or not they were actual historical figures is a matter of debate and beyond the scope of this presentation.  There are arguments to be made either way.


What is known for sure is that ancient Ireland was polygamous and that royal kindreds enjoyed superior wealth and power and tended to reproduce themselves at a much higher rate than average.  Thus these royal kindreds would come to constitute a steadily increasing proportion of the population which certainly seems to hold true as regards the large L21 population in south Ireland today.


What is also known for sure is that by looking at the amount of variations (number of mutations that have accumulated over time in a haplogroup) it is possible to estimate a date of origin of a SNP.  Thus our DNA indicates that the first ancestor of ours to have the L21 mutation lived between four and five thousand years ago.  This was well before any of the legendary warriors and chieftains (already mentioned) ever existed.  So whether or not these legendary figures are historical or fictional is best left up to future studies and historians to debate.  At the end of this chapter is the 111 marker DNA Ó Ciarṁacáin (Irwin) Modal (last updated May 1, 2014).






Ó Ciarṁacáin (Irwin) Modal

(111 Markers)

Note:  This modal is taken from the FTDNA printout of the author’s (#75606) DNA test results.  It is also displayed on Y-Search at QY7VH.  Data from two other related Irwin tests are as follows:


  • Y-search AURXF differs from the 111 Modal presented here at DYS 464 A,B,C,D(15-15-15-17).

  • Y-search GYZQH differs from the 111 Modal presented here at DYS 464, A,B,C,D(15-15-17-17).

  • Y-search GYZQH differs here from the 111 Modal presented here at YCA II(b)  ...22 instead of 23.

  • Y-search GYZQH differs with Modal presented here at CDY (b)…37 instead of 36.

  • Y-search AURXF and GYZQH both differ from the 111 Modal presented here at  DYS 446…14 instead of 13.


Note also: All three participants mentioned (QY7VH, AURXF and GYZQH) are all Irwin surnamed people.  Although GYZQH is, in America surnamed Ervin, in Ireland his oldest known forbearer was surnamed Irwin.  QY7VH oldest known Irish born ancestor lived at Rathainy…AURXF lived at Kilfrush…GYZQH lived at Bulgaden.  It has been determined that all three probably had a common ancestor in the late 1700s early 1800s.  Their common ancestor was probably at Rathainy, Knockainy Parish, County Limerick which is within a several mile radius of Kilfrush (AURXF) and Bulgaden (GYZQH).  All three of these town lands are in east/central county Limerick.


All three participants ((QY7VH, AURXF, GYZQH) are proven to be definitely related because of a very, very rare score at DYS 459 that they all share.  For DYS 459 their score is 10-11 which can only be seen in that combination in less than ½ of one percent of those tested.  In almost all other cases (99.5%) the combination score for DYS 459 is 9-10.



R1b-L21….CTS4466 Trek

(Siberia – Ireland)

The oldest R1b subclades are found in the Altai region of South Siberia.  Thus it is theorized that the R1b haplogroup began in this region about 16,000 years ago.  Presently the Altai Mountains and Steppe are located in south Siberia (Russia) bordering Kazakstan, China and Mongolia.

The Eurasian Steppes were capable of sustaining large herds of wholly mastodons, horses, bison, etc.  Groups of R1b hunters followed these herds wherever their seasonal migrations would take them.

The R-Haplogroup ancestors of R1b had followed the great herds of wholly mammoths from the western shores of Europe to the eastern shores of Asia for thousands of years.  This east-west hunting pattern became no longer possible due to conditions brought on by the Great Ice Age.  As the vast ice age glaciers began and continued to melt immense rivers and lakes were formed which served to isolate the R1b hunters to Asian lands. It was not until eight thousand years ago that these great rivers and lakes receded to passable proportions.  Also about this time the great wholly mammoth herds were thinning and becoming extinct.  It was in this context that the R1b people relocated westward along the Scythian shores of the Black and Caspian Seas.

The R1b people adapted to their new environment along the shores of the Black and Caspian Seas, mixed with indigenous people there to form the Kurgan Culture.  They also became proficient in seamanship (both riverine and open sea).  About 6,000 years ago, as the Great Ice Age glaciers continued to melt, the Mediterranean Sea rose to the point of breaching the Dardanelles and flooding coastal settlements along the Black and Caspian Sea basin.  Once again the R1b people were “refugees”.  Some of these refugees took to their riverine craft and headed north and west to central and western Europe.  Other R1b refugees headed south and went to the shores of the eastern Mediterranean.  The forbearers of the R1b-L21 Ó Ciarṁacáin took the Mediterranean seaborne route and generations later they came to settle in the Tagus River estuary region of Portugal.

By the time the R1b-Ó Ciarṁacáin ancestors had settled on Iberian/Atlantic shores the Mediterranean Bronze Age was already underway.  In Iberia they mixed with various tribal people to form the “Bell Beaker” culture.  The British Isle Bronze Age began about 2500 B.C. when large deposits of copper and tin were discovered near coastal regions of Spain, Armorica, Cornwall, Wales, and south-west Ireland.  The “Iberian” seafaring Ó Ciarṁacáin ancestors were, at this time, bearers of the P312 mutation.  Given the logistics at this time it was commercially advantageous to change “homeports” from Iberia to the Armorica peninsula (Bretagne, France).  It was here that the Ó Ciarṁacáin ancestors became the bearers of the L21 mutation circa 2500 B. C.  From Armorica they had open sea access from Iberia to the British Isles and river access to continental Europe.  Using their seamanship skills, geographic positioning and versatile, fast moving curraghs they prospered and would became numerous along the shores of these trade routes.

It is estimated that 75% of the Irish people directly descend from the father of the first L21 SNP bearer.  It can be reasonably assumed that this progenitor must have been a very rich and powerful man.  It seems that at the beginning of the Irish Bronze Age (2500 B.C.) that this rich and powerful man (probably a merchant sea lord) “homeported” the bulk of his shipping operation in southwest Ireland near the copper mines at Ross Island (Kerry) and Mount Gabriel (Cork).  In time his progeny settled at or near these copper mines and eventually moved into the Munster hinterland to become “cattle lords” with numerous “clients.”  Over 2,000 years ago these L21 Ó Ciarṁacáin forbearers became CTS 4466 SNP bearers.  The CTS 4466 SNP bearers presently make up the subclade known as South Irish Type 2.

Bearers of Irish type 2 SNP (CTS 4466) were quick to take advantage of Britain’s weakened position after Rome abandoned its colony there.  CTS 4466 Irish sea raiders, pirates and colonists looted and plundered western Britain (Wales and Cornwall).  Several generations later these sea raiders were expelled and returned back to Ireland (5th century) where they would establish Munster’s Eoghanacht dynasty.  The CTS 4466 people that remained behind in western Britain (Wales and Cornwall) had offspring there whose progeny still can be found in those counties.



Founding father of R1B-L21 lineage.jpg

The above picture is a portrayal of the caption below. The caption below is a verbatim quote from Dr. Joe Flood's website: " The phylogenealogy of R-L21: four and a half millennia of expansion and redistribution." In my option, this picture plus Dr. Flood's words illustrate an accurate image of the founding father of the R-L21 lineage:  


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