I spit into a tiny test tube, shook it really hard, sealed it up and sent it off. And then I waited. That’s how my adventure in Ancestry DNA Ireland testing began.
So, glamorous, I know. Well, no one ever said that DNA testing was like a Hollywood movie.
However, it turned out my Ancestry DNA Ireland profile would be worth the wait.
I was Irish, this much I knew. My great great grandmother had emigrated to the United States from County Cork many years ago. It was the one solid thing we knew about our family lineage.
Everyone else in the family had come over soon after the Mayflower, but the details were murky. Now the time had finally come to complete our ancestry puzzle and I couldn’t wait.
But, I waited. And waited and waited.
The Ancestry.com package said it could take 4-6 weeks for results. I sent it away with just enough time to get my results before our planned trip to Ireland, and yet no results arrived.
I was sad, but I was going to Ireland. No way could I be that bummed out, right?
The boys and I traveled to Dublin, headed down to Killarney and toured around. We spent the weekend in Killarney National Park and driving the Ring of Kerry. On a very wet Monday we drove to the Dingle Peninsula, setting up at the Pax House where we met my parents.
And still, no results popped up in my Ancestry account.
We saw where Rey met Luke in his Beehive hut in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (yes, it is filmed on the Dingle Peninsula). We hiked up hills, climbed over rocks and got soaked at Inch Beach.
The boys held baby lambs, and I horrified my oldest by ordering a lamb dish for dinner that same night (whoops!).
One morning, while chatting over a scrumptious breakfast of smoked salmon, eggs and fresh scones, my dad and I were talking about my grandmother who had recently passed away.
She was the second-generation American born to Irish parents. She’s the reason we knew we were from the south of Ireland.
We were chatting with one of the servers at our B&B, who’s first language was Irish, telling her our family ancestral names. She said “Burns and Donovan? No, those are from up north.”
Naturally, we just brushed it off and didn’t question where our family was from. We knew better.
A few days later, I checked my email and finally my Ancestry DNA results were in. The test results held a few surprises too.
Not only was I Irish, I was 64% from Ireland/Scotland/Wales, primarily from Donegal and Ulster—the northern part of Ireland.
Turns out our server was right and she knew better than us. My Ancestry DNA Ireland profile was on point.
We assume our family was originally from up north and had moved down south at some point. Cork was also where many Irish American’s emigrated from, so they put the city as their point of origin on their immigration paperwork .
Now I was kicking myself for not making sure our road trip through Ireland brought us up to Donegal as originally planned (don’t worry, I fixed that on a future trip).
The rest of my ancestry was the usual mesh of Scandinavia, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein (those last three were a bit of a surprise!).
My mother’s side held most of the German and other Germanic influences.
My sister was going to do her test next to see how her DNA balanced out. Apparently, siblings can come up with a different mix. After all, we aren’t the same person, even though we have the same parents.
She and I look very different too (oh, that age old joke that one of your siblings is adopted. Yes, we did that!)
As we continued our journey around Ireland, I found myself embracing this new, more Irish side of me.
Yes, I am American, but somehow, I now knew a little bit more about myself. The farther north we drove, I felt like I was stepping where my family had stepped.
Locals would ask if I was Irish. Why yes, yes I was. I could proudly say that I was 64% Irish, and most people would laugh.
Many white American tourists in Ireland are trying to find a connection back to their ancestral roots. The locals are used to this. The fact that we were on a trip to pay homage to my Irish grandmother was no surprise to anyone.
I even had one gal and her sister tell me I looked Irish, which was a surprise to me, since I didn’t think I looked like anything other than a generic white woman.
But I had the red hair, fair skin that burns to a crisp in summer, and that slight sprinkle of freckles, especially if I wore a t-shirt or tank top, showing off where those little brown freckles are most prevalent.
The craziest thing of all: I started to see my nose on other people.
Now, finally having proof that I am Irish, 64 percent in fact, doesn’t actually change much. But being more aware of my ancestral background and DNA makeup helped me connect to the location we were exploring in a way I never expected. It was thrilling to spend time in the place where my family has deep rooted origins.
Now we are getting my husband tested. We know a little about his background, but quite frankly, his last name is so unique that anything could pop up in his DNA when his Ancestry DNA profile comes back to us with the results.
Trust me- we will use this as an excuse to travel more too.
Table of Contents
Ready to plan your Ireland trip?
Ireland Trip Tips
- 50 Irish Children’s Books
- Ireland Planning Checklist
- How to plan your first trip to Ireland
- Planning A Trip To Ireland With Kids
- Best Alternates to Ireland’s Most Popular Sites
- How to rent a car in Ireland
- How to drive in Ireland as an American
Things to do in Ireland
- The Art of Falconry at Ashford Castle
- Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Dingle Ireland
- How to Tackle the Ring of Kerry
- How to Explore Killarney National Park
- Things to do in Northern Ireland
Ireland (Dublin) Destination Guide
This page contains affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!)
- Dublin Skylon Hotel: A family run hotel situated near many Dublin landmarks. Hotel features free Wi-Fi, paid parking, and a bar/lounge.
- The Mayson: Beautiful hotel with pool, free Wi-Fi, and bar/lounge.
- The Croke Park: An unforgettable experience. The Croke Park is nestled close to Dublin center and features conference facilities, free parking, and Wi-Fi.
- The Grafton Hotel: Fun boutique hotel near Temple bar with free Wi-Fi and parking nearby.
- Anantara The Marker Dublin: Luxury hotel with a pool, spa and free Wi-Fi within walking distance of most attractions.
Looking for more? Search for the best Dublin hotel on Expedia.com.
Dublin Vacation Rentals
- Condo Across from Temple Bar: Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms + 1 bath
- City Centre Apartment: Sleeps 5 in 2 bedroom + 1 bath
- Stunning Penthouse in the Heart of Dublin: Sleeps 4 in 2 bedroom + 2 baths
- The Yellow Door: Sleeps 22 in 6 bedrooms (16 beds) + 5 baths
Need a car? Grab the best rates on rental cars HERE (and yes, we use this site for every trip).
3 thoughts on “Discovering That There Is More To Your Irish Heritage with Ancestry DNA Ireland”
What a great family experience!
I love this so much. I recently found out I’m a lot more Irish than I thought, too! It would be incredible to be *in Ireland* when learning this about yourself!
This sounds like such a great experience! I’ve always wanted to do one of the DNA tests to find out where I’m from as well. It’s so cool that you had one nationality be such a large part of your heritage so that you can feel really connected to a place.