Study exploring whether Ireland's first settlers came from Wales 3 months ago

Study exploring whether Ireland's first settlers came from Wales

Current evidence suggests that the first humans to land in Ireland arrived from Scotland.

Archaeologists have been undertaking a study to help determine whether or not the first settlers in Ireland arrived from Wales.


Some involved in the Portalis archaeology project have put forward the theory as, during prehistoric times, the Irish and Welsh coastlines were much closer than they are now. This would be a change from the current understanding that Scotland was the place from which Ireland's first arrivals came.

Speaking to RTÉ News, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David's Dr Martin Bates - who is involved in the study - explained:

"The basis of the archaeological evidence at the moment has people coming into Northern Ireland first, or what is today Northern Ireland, and moving southwards.

"But there's no reason why they couldn't have crossed from [the Welsh county] Pembrokeshire into southeast Ireland.


"But at the moment, we haven't got that direct evidence."

According to RTÉ News, Bates said that Irish evidence of Neanderthal habitation earlier than 30,000 years ago would indicate that settlers came from Wales. This is because there is evidence of Neanderthals being in Wales during this period but not in Scotland.


While a Cork discovery suggested human activity in the county 33,000 years ago, Bates told the outlet that the evidence is contested.

The Irish side of excavations for the Portalis archaeology project were carried out by the US team Geoarchaeology Research Associates, with their findings set to be published later this month.

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