Prehistoric Ireland and Early history of Ireland Carrowmore tomb, c. Neither their languages nor terms they used to describe themselves have survived.
As late as the middle centuries of the 1st millennium the inhabitants of Ireland did not appear to have a collective name for themselves. Scotland takes its name from Scota, who in Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, and pseudohistory, is the name given to two different mythological daughters of two different Egyptian Pharaohs to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry, allegedly explaining the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, and later to the Irish invaders of Argyll and Caledonia which became known as Scotland.
This last word, derived from the Welsh gwyddel "raiders", was eventually adopted by the Irish for themselves. However, as a term it is on a par with Viking , as it describes an activity raiding, piracy and its proponents, not their actual ethnic affiliations.
This practice is paralleled by the Anglo-Saxon dynasties' claims of descent from Woden , via his sons Wecta , Baeldaeg, Casere and Wihtlaeg. The Greek mythographer Euhemerus originated the concept of Euhemerism , which treats mythological accounts as a reflection of actual historical events shaped by retelling and traditional mores.
In the 12th century, Icelandic bard and historian Snorri Sturluson proposed that the Norse gods were originally historical war leaders and kings, who later became cult figures, eventually set into society as gods. This view is in agreement with Irish historians such T.
O'Rahilly and Francis John Byrne ; the early chapters of their respective books, Early Irish history and mythology reprinted and Irish Kings and High-Kings 3rd revised edition, , deal in depth with the origins and status of many Irish ancestral deities. It is from this that the Irish were, as late as the s, popularly known as " Milesian ". This doctrine was adapted between the 10th and 12th centuries, as demonstrated in the works of Eochaidh Ua Floinn — ; Flann Mainistrech died 25 November ; Tanaide died c.
The first Irish historian who questioned the reliability of such accounts was Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh murdered Genetic history of Europe , Y-DNA haplogroups in populations of Europe , and Genetic history of the British Isles Genetic research shows a strong similarity between the Y chromosome haplotypes of Irish men with Gaelic surnames and males from the area of Spain and Portugal, especially Galicia, Asturias, and Cantabria and perhaps former Basque country.
R1b's incidence declines gradually with distance from these areas but it is still common across the central areas of Europe. R1b is the most frequent haplogroup in Germany and in the Low Countries, and is common in southern Scandinavia and in northern and central Italy.
This led to writers, such as Stephen Oppenheimer and Bryan Sykes , to conclude that the majority of Irish people primarily descend from an "Iberian refugium" population bottleneck dating back to the last ice age.
According to recent studies by Bramanti et al. There was discontinuity between mesolithic central Europe and modern European populations mainly due to an extremely high frequency of haplogroup U particularly U5 types in mesolithic central European sites. The existence of an especially strong genetic association between the Irish and the Basques , one even closer than the relationship between other west Europeans, was first challenged in ,  and in scientists began looking at the possibility of a more recent Mesolithic- or even Neolithic-era entrance of R1b into Europe.
A recent whole genome analysis of 1 neolithic and 3 Bronze Age skeletal remains in Ireland suggested that the original farming population was mostly similar to present day Sardinians and the 3 Bronze Age remains had a Steppe component to their genetics showing links with Eastern Europe.
For Irish people of black African descent, see Black people in Ireland. Black Irish is an ambiguous term sometimes used mainly outside Ireland as a reference to a dark-haired phenotype appearing in people of Irish origin.
While preferring the term "The Atlantean Irish", Quinn's reference to certain phenotypical characteristics within elements of the Irish populace and diaspora as possible evidence of a previous Hibernian-Iberian and possibly Berber admixture mirrors common descriptions of the Black Irish.