Vikings – getting back to their roots


A chara, – I refer to the report “Brown hair, dark features: DNA evidence recasts Irish view of Vikings” (News, September 17).

According to this news item, new DNA evidence challenges the commonly held view of the Vikings as being exclusively blonde-haired and blue-eyed.

I recall learning in history class in school some 60 years ago that the Irish distinguished between two categories of Vikings: fionnghaill (fair-haired foreigners) and dubhghaill (dark-haired foreigners). We were further told that the former came from Denmark and the latter from Norway, as the scientific evidence has confirmed in your report.

We now have a county council in the north Dublin area, Fingal, named after the first of these groups.

So I don’t think we needed modern scientific techniques to establish this distinction, although they can add additional detail. – Is mise,



Maynooth, Co Kildare.