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Blood of the Irish
Blood of the IrishRTÉ One, Monday, 9.30pm

The Background

Blood of the Irish is a spectacular voyage of discovery. Diarmuid Gavin travels to the birthplace of humankind in Africa and unveils extraordinary recent findings about our identity. The latest research on our DNA shows that, contrary to popular opinion, the Irish are not descended from the Celts. In fact, our true genetic origins date from the stone-age, many thousands of years before the Celtic tribes emerged in Europe.


The Family
Featuring stunning high definition photography of some of the most remarkable early human locations on Earth, Blood of the Irish focuses on one symbolic family, a man, woman and a child who undertake a 55 thousand year journey out of Africa, crossing salt deserts, mountain ranges and glaciers before making the last leg to Ireland. As Diarmuid shadows our ancestral family - dressed authentically by some of the world's leading experts in such dramatic reconstructions - he observes from a distance, telling their story.


The Journey
En route, Diarmuid explores the key locations in humankind's journey from Africa to Ireland. Starting with the stunning vistas of Kenya's Eastern Rift Valley where modern humans evolved around 200,000 years ago, Diarmuid also visits the exquisite cave paintings of El Castillo in Cantabria, Spain, and comes tantalisingly close to home in Britain when he tracks down human traces going back more than 700,000 years; he asks why is it another 690,000 years before the first evidence appears of people in Ireland?


To unravel the mystery of our beginnings, Blood of the Irish visits some of the most exciting archaeological sites in Ireland and follows the country's leading researchers as they explore remote and inaccessable caves searching for the faintest traces of the earliest Irish people. The series reveals the very latest research on some hoary old chestnuts. How much Celtic blood really flows in us? Are the dark-eyed, dark-skinned inhabitants of the West of Ireland truly a legacy of roving Spanish Armadas and wine merchants?


Blood of the Irish
Blood of the Irish