In our documentary series for RTÉ Lyric fm – Mother’s Blood, Sister Songs, Irish composer Linda Buckley explores how the genetics of Iceland reveals its Irish motherhood.
“I really felt that many aspects of the landscape there connected to here as well. I remember walking down the street and seeking people who looked quite like me, and thinking what is this about? And being quite puzzled by it. And then seeing a lot of girls with long red curly hair and freckles and thinking these look more Irish than the Irish themselves, and what’s happening there?”
In Reykjavik Linda meets scientist Dr. Kári Stefánsson, of DeCODE Genetics, the force behind the groundbreaking genetic research which shows how the majority of the women in the settlement of Iceland were Gaelic. While Iceland had traditionally seen itself as Norwegian and Viking in its origins, the DNA studies have prompted a shift in thinking.
“There are very significant events that indicate we were different from the Norwegians,” he says –
” I think we have looked at ourselves as a nation of writers, people of literature, and I think we have always felt that came with a Celtic mix, so it came from our mothers, not our fathers!”
Watch: Dr. Kári Stefánsson on Iceland’s Irish roots