Macneil clan shocked as DNA checks force rewrite of history
For centuries the MacNeil clan based on the Hebridean island of Barra have proudly claimed to be descendants of Ireland’s “greatest” King, Niall of the Nine Hostages.
But a check on hundreds of modern day MacNeils has revealed their roots actually lie with the Vikings and not the Irish.
DNA swabs taken from Barra MacNeils as far away as Canada and Australia have proved that the blood of fierce Norse raiders runs through their veins.
The finding comes from the MacNeil Surname Y-DNA project run by genealogists Vincent MacNeil and Alex Buchanan. Clansmen from all over the world including Scotland, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have provided DNA samples.
MacNeil remains the main surname on Barra on the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides with a population of just 1,000.
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