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Are you a descendant of Niall Noígíallach? More commonly known as Niall of the Nine Hostages. Geneticists say about 3 million Irishmen around the world are related to a man who lived in the 5th century. In northwest Ireland as many as one in five people of descendants of this man. In New York City, about 1 in 50 European-Americans are descendants.

It was during Niall’s early dynasty that St. Patrick returned to Ireland to do missionary work. Some legends hold that when St. Patrick was a teenage slave in Ireland, Niall himself was St. Patrick’s master. However, St. Patrick was probably born near or after the death of Niall.

From New York Times…

The survey not only bolsters the bragging rights of some Irishmen claiming a proud heritage but also provides evidence of the existence of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an Irish high king of the fifth century A.D. regarded by some historians as more legend than real.

The survey shows that 20 percent of men in northwestern Ireland carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y chromosomes, possibly inherited from Niall, who was said to have had numerous sons, or some other leader in a position to have had many descendants.

About one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin – including men with names like O’Connor, Flynn, Egan, Hynes, O’Reilly and Quinn – carry the genetic signature linked with Niall and northwestern Ireland, writes Daniel Bradley, the geneticist who conducted the survey with colleagues at Trinity College in Dublin. He arrived at that estimate after surveying the Y chromosomes in a genetic database that included New Yorkers.

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