Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Today, I was reminded that AncestryDNA had released a new feature called a Genetic Community™. According to their definition:

“A Genetic Community is a group of AncestryDNA members who are connected through DNA most likely because they descend from a population of common ancestors, even if they no longer live in the area where those ancestors once lived.”

I saw that I had only one community to view and it is Connacht Irish. The provided map seemed to imply that this area is partly in County Mayo. My interest really picked up.

In a blog post last May, I discussed my attempts to transcribe the illegible words on the tombstone of Edward Noble, my great-great grandfather, to determine what parish and town/townland that he was a native of in County Mayo. Please see “Tombstone Tuesday – Edward Noble (1827 – 1872)”. I wondered if Connacht Irish might give me another clue.

According to Wikipedia,

”Connacht Irish is the dialect of the Irish language spoken in the province of Connacht. Gaeltacht [Irish-speaking] regions in Connacht are found in Counties Mayo (notably Tourmakeady, Achill Island and Erris) and Galway (notably in parts of Connemara and on the Aran Islands).”

The map below shows the three dialects of the Irish language, with Connacht in the west.

By original uploader Angr, transferred from en.wikipedia to commons,

By original uploader Angr, transferred from en.wikipedia to commons,

I was very intrigued to see that Connaught Irish were found on Achill Island, County Mayo. While this is not a proof, the fact that my DNA placed me in this community does add some weight to my transcription of ‘Parish of Achill’ on Edward’s tombstone.

Next thing to consider is how valid is this new Genetic Community feature. Is the algorithm that placed me in this community science or speculation?

Anymore Connaught Irish out there?

Print Friendly
This entry posted in Family History, Interesting Finds | Bookmark the Permalink
<-Back to Blog

24 Responses to CONNACHT IRISH?

  1. Mary Solar Brown says:

    I am also in that community. I grew up with family stories about my great grandparents who spoke Gaelic. They were from Galway and were from two small towns. The family names were Lydon and Mangan.

  2. Michele corcoran says:

    Just did mine too and received the results which said Connacht , am very interested in my history and hoping to visit very soon. Ireland has always been on my bucket list for many years, and somehow I felt a connection. Now I have even more reason to visit. 35% Irish 🍀. I guess my great grandparents are from there. 🙂

  3. Anna Marie Davis says:


  4. Eileen Schneider says:

    I just received the Ancestry DNA results for my mother who will be 95 years old next month. She is 83% Irish, and it says she’s connected to the community of Connacht. Her mother’s name was Mary Agnes Murphy, her grandmother was Mary Feeney. Her father’s side of the family was named Hardin and Golan. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jack Waterson says:

    I received my Ancestry DNA results this morning, which states I am 89% Irish from Connacht. I am not sure how to interpret this as I have traced what I thought was my ancestry to the late 1700’s in the Isle of Man. I cannot find a reference to my name anywhere in Connacht.

    Can anyone enlighten me as to where I can look for more information.

    • Thank you for your comment. Ethnicity testing is not yet a science. If your Ancestry Ethnicity Estimate showed you as 89% Irish that may be reasonable. My original ethnicity on Ancestry showed as 70% British Isles (which in my case would be Ireland) and a couple of years ago they revised their formula and now my British Isles ethnicity shows as Ireland 20% and Great Britain 7%. Who knows what will show the next time they revise their formula. Remember they are testing you only within their own database of testers, as that grows and ethnicities become more diverse, the results may differ. I would rely mostly on your own paper trail. That is what I do.

      The next ethnicity you mentioned is Connacht. No ethnicity is accurate when it gets specific as to country or tribe. You may be referring to a feature they added called a genetic community. This genetic community does not necessarily mean where your ancestors came from, at least not as recently as the 1700s, but rather more ancient origins–pre-genealogical time.

      Connacht refers, in this case, more to the Gaelic language than a geographical location. In my article I mention the areas known to speak Gaelic as defined by Wikipedia. Your assignment to Connacht Irish may be because the language spoken on the Isle of Man, Manx, is a branch of the Gaelic languages. Again, I would trust my paper trail.

      • Jack Waterson says:

        Hi after the DNA result stating I am 89% Irish from Connacht. I have been delving into the history the Waterson surname and as I stated in a previous mail I traced my line back to the 1700’s in The Isle of Man I came across this article on the web gives me some explanation of my Connacht connections. After the murder of the Great Earl of Ulster, William de Burgo, the third Earl of that name in 1333, and the consequent lessening of the English power in Ireland, many, if not all the distinguished Anglo-Norman families seated in Connaught and Munster became Hibernicised-Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores-spoke the Irish language, and assumed surnames like those of the Irish, by prefixing Mac to the Christian names of their ancestors. Thus the De Burgos, in Connaught, assumed the name of MACWILLIAM, from these sprang many offsets as the MACGIBBONS, MACWALTERS.
        Members of these families settled in the Isle of Mann, particularly in the south-western portion, and contracted their names of MACWALTER and MAC WILLIAM into the decidedly harsh QUALTROUGH and QUILLIAM. QUALTROUGH, contracted from MacWalter, ‘Walter’s son, to Waterson.

  6. Jane Werner Steele says:

    I recently was pleased to find my genetic community, which was originally Connaught, was narrowed to North Connaught, Ireland. My original ancestry showed as 57% Ireland. My mom is something like 97% Ireland. I know from knowledge handed down from her (she is 94, and her mother was born in 1884) that my maternal great grandfather, Dominic Connolly, was from Grange, Sligo, and maternal great grandmother, Mary D’Arcy, was from western Ireland (County Mayo) but we are not sure where in Mayo. Her paternal grandfather, Patrick Casey, was from Tipperary, and her maternal grandmother, Bridget Manning, was from Limerick, I believe. All these people came here in the early 1860s as teens and Dominic Connolly was stationed on the Mississippi River in the Navy during the Civil War. I am very fortunate to have made two trips to Ireland, one last December 2016 and in October of this year 2017 with my husband. I feel like it is so familiar and that I have come home.

    • Thank you for your comment. I envy you for being able to visit Ireland. Since I do not know exactly where either of my two immigrant Irish ancestors came from, I did not want to waste a trip. I think, as I said in my post that Edward Noble came from County Mayo. He married a Mary Devine, who may have come from County Longford. They were married in England after they emigrated there during the famine, so I have no Irish connection between the two of them. I was told that the Nobles originally all came from Northern Ireland and Scotland but I have not seen any actual evidence of that fact.

  7. Rita Mattia says:

    We are researching our family history as well … and the Ancestry DNA provided “Connacht, Ireland” as a possible/probable origin. My great grandmother (1863-1941) Christina McCormick was born in Glasgow, but her parents, John McCormick and Margaret Timlin were both born in Ireland. Her husband (my great grandfather) was Bartholomew Maloney (1861 – 1891), also living in Glasgow when they married, but was listed as born in Ireland. His parents were Martin Maloney, born in Ireland and Anne (Honnorah) Thornton, also born in Ireland. The birthplaces (simply “Ireland”) of the four parents of Christina and Bartholomew were provided on their 1881 marriage certificate. I wonder if anyone has any good “clues” as to places in Ireland where my ancestors may have lived, based on those four surnames. And perhaps this info will help someone else with their quest. thanks!

    • Thank you for your comment. I do hope it helps other researchers. I see that Ancestry has replaced their original Connacht Irish genetic community with Connacht, Ireland; but I believe that when Ancestry refers to Connacht, Ireland they are referring to the region shown in green on the map in this post located in the province of Connacht. Goog luck in your research.

  8. Susan says:

    I’ve just done my Ancestry DNA and discovered that I am 64% Irish from the Connacht region of Ireland. I’m not sure where to go from here to learn more about this. I know I have grandparent ancestry from Tipperary and Bantry. Are these in the Connacht region. Thank you. Susan

    • Thank you for your comment. While AncestryDNA may have assigned your ethnicity to the Connacht region, it does not mean that any recent generations lived in that area. The ancestors being identified as Connacht may be from hundreds of years ago or more. The genes just got passed down unchanged. Tipperary and Bantry are not in the Connacht region to my knowledge.

      The ethnicity estimates provided by AncestryDNA and other DNA sites are accurate to the continent level. The algorithms used in these estimates are just that–estimates. In addition, they can only compare you to the people who tested in their database and we do not know this distribution.

      For me, my immigrant ancestor, came from Co. Mayo (from his tombstone). So this may be a clue. I personally rely on tried and true research and on the records found by tracing my ancestors online, in courthouses, and in archives.

      You are lucky you have real locations for your grandparents. If you cannot or do not wish to do the research yourself, you might consider hiring a researcher located in the area close to these locations to trace your Irish roots.

  9. Paul Lowry says:

    I received my 82% Connacht Irish DNA designation after extensive research led me to locate my great-grandfather’s tenant farm in the mile-square townland of Ballydoolough, Galway – a few miles from the Mayo border. My mother’s family were from Wesport, County Mayo putting both parents within the Connacht map blob.

    I have been looking for Irish DNA research that might tell me how deep my Irish roots are in that soil and from where the earliest ancestors came from. Some media say Connacht held some of the earliest Irish. Trinity College seems to have an active DNA program to map where geographic groups came from and when.

    I’ve discovered that creating a PDF narrative with items found during your research and old scrap books help share your efforts with family to create interest.

    • Thank you for your comment. Congratulations on finding your ancestors in Galway based on your AncestryDNA designation. I wish you success in your future endeavors. I hope you find your answers.

  10. Debra Scarlett says:

    I, too, had North Connacht listed as my region. I am fortunate to know that my grandmother”S family came from a small town in Sligo, Tubbercurry. I visited there several years ago but didn’t have time to do any research. Still it was fascinating to visit where my ancestors were born and lived.

    • Thank you for your comment. You really were fortunate to know the town. I would love to know the towns for most of my immigrant ancestors. So far, I only have towns for two lines. Would love to see where my ancestors lived in Ireland. Good luck in your research!

  11. I am related to the O’Flaherty/Flaherty clan from the Connacht. My grandmother came from Tuam and I visited Tuam and had my picture taken in front of the church where my great aunt was married. From what I understand the O’Flahertys were not pirates as their name does not appear on the 12 Tribes of Galway. I understand they thought piracy was colluding with the British Crown.

  12. Ginny Prunty-Ayotte says:

    I tested my DNA THROUGH Ancestry also. I am 44% Celt. I then received an update that I am Connacht. I had never heard of this before.
    My paternal grandfather and his parents were from Drumlish, Longford Ireland. Irish documentation is difficult to find. I am on three Genealogy sites so I am trying to go further back.
    Longford was a Viking Port. Even more frustrating is the fact that after coming to the USA in the late 1890’s, he married my grandmother from Norway. The names frustrate me.
    My Irish surnames so far are Prunty, O’Donnell, Gallagher, Hinds.
    I have been matched to many cousins and I am in contact with three who have always lived in Ireland.
    Any suggestions for me. I hope to make it to Longford in 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *