Posted by Anna Swayne on March 12, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Growing up I always thought I had to be more Irish than any of my other siblings because I was born the day before Lá Fhéile Pádraig (Saint Patrick’s Day)—one day early I might add; my due date was actually the 17th. Knowing this, and since my birthday was celebrated with all things green most years, I figured I must be Irish.

Now that AncestryDNA can give you an estimate of how much of your DNA is Irish, and with St. Patrick’s Day happening next week, I decided to see who is more Irish in my family: my mom, my dad, or my sister. This could vary depending on which part of your DNA you inherited from which parent.

What did the DNA say?

See my parents’ results below:

dad resultsmom results

Both my mom and dad have Ireland, or the Irish, in their DNA, with my mom technically being more Irish than my dad. But what about my sister? Could she be more Irish than me? Even though I thought I was the Irish baby? See for yourself:

jeanne resultsmy results

Did you see that? My sister is 11% more Irish than I am. Apparently, I wasn’t “more” Irish after all, even with a lucky birthday so close to St. Patrick’s Day.  Nonetheless, I will still continue to celebrate with pride my Irish roots and this year I will be wearing the following shirt to celebrate my 22% Irish.

kiss me irish

Now it’s your turn. How Irish are you? Share your results in the comments below or upload a screenshot of your text and add the tag #AncestryDNA to it. We’d love to see your results! And what will you be doing to celebrate this year?


Anna Swayne

Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.


  1. Paula Tillman

    According to ancestrydna, I am 20 % Irish! This was something new to me, as I figured we had small amount of it, but didn’t expect this much…This year, I WILL be wearing green!

  2. Jennifer Wade

    MY DNA test is 26% Irish. I had thought it would be more, but am proud of my 1/4 Irish DNA! I will be celebrating with my family in Atlanta this Saturday. I am very proud that my daughter is an Irish Dancer, and that she continues the tradition of many generations.

  3. I’m 26% Irish, which is a lot more than I was expecting. A cousin on my dad’s side took the test and has only trace amounts of Irish, which suggests my mom must be almost half Irish. She knows one of her grandmothers was Irish, but knew of no other Irish in her family tree.

  4. Patricia Collins

    I was adopted by an older married couple. My dad was English and German. Mom was 100% Irish. Her parents were alive and very “old school” Irish, so of course, I grew up “knowing” I was all Irish. About a year ago, I decided to trace my birth mother (birth father unknown), and to my utter horror, I am NOT Irish. I haven’t done the ancestry DNA as yet (waiting until I move 2000 miles away in the fall). As an added “mystery,” all my life I’ve been fascinated by mediaeval English history — even majored in college. I find out I am almost 100% English (well, Anglo-Norman) with quite a bit of Saxon thrown in early. Can one’s genetic makeup be responsible for one’s intellectual interests? If so, I guess I’m a great example.

  5. Stephen Cunningham

    I’m showing 38%. But you know, some of that should be Scottish, too. So it’s St. Patrick’s day and Burns Night for me!

  6. Debbie Waters

    14% Irish 50% Great Britain (Wish this part was broken down more between England/Wales/Scotland). How can one order the shirt saying my DNA says I’m Irish?

  7. Laura Yaremcho

    I am feeling sort of dence here….I would really appreciate some enlightenment…Why is it that siblings would not have the same percentage?

  8. Elizabeth Graf

    I always though I was mostly English and a little Irish. My DNA says 40% Irish and 7%. I was surprised.

  9. Richard Kannarr

    My DNA shows I’m 28% Irish and I was surprised. I knew I had some Germany ancestry in me, because some of my ancestors came from a place call Rheinbrier, Germany (spelling might knot be quit right). So I’ m pleased and interested both at the same time.

  10. Glenn Peterson

    My Dad’s grandparents came to America from County Offaly in the 1880’s, and family legend said they were married in St Patrick’s during the Blizzard of ’88. Nice story, but really a bunch of blarney, as I discovered on this site.

    But then I got my DNA results…….ZERO Irish Gaelic ancestry, but surprisingly 28% from Great Britain. A total surprise. My theory is my ancestors probably came to Ireland in the 17th century and settled with other displaced English and Scottish Catholics, and lived and married among their community for a century or so.

    So….. I guess i must be Anglo-Irish (and a lot of other things). And I’ll be wearing green and cooking up corned beef and cabbage on March 17. Time for some Dropkick Murphys!

  11. George Davis

    I had always suspected I might have some Irish ancestry but I had not been able to verify it. My ancestry DNA test results showed my largest ethnicity to be Irish at 33%! I even have 9% Iberian/Spanish DNA which I knew nothing about. My son’s British literature teacher, who also teaches history, was talking about the “black Irish” and their origins. Are you familiar with any of these discussions? My son’s youth group is having a St Patricks day Party at church with green costumes- the adults have to dress up like Leprechauns. Anyway, I’m proud to have Irish ancestry. My favorite color has always been green.

  12. Jim Becke

    My DNA is 33% Irish, so I get to celebrate for 8 hours on St. Patrick’s Day. (Do the math. 😉 )

    @Laura Yaremcho: Siblings usually won’t have exactly the same DNA. You and your parents have 46 chromosomes each. You got 23 from your mother, 23 from your father. Your siblings also got 23 from each parent, but probably not the same 23 you got.

  13. Terry Yelvington

    I don’t know how to post a screen shot but my DNA shows as follows:

    Of my 99% European make up, 53% is Ireland and 21% Great Britain.
    We were always told, among other family stories, that we had alot of Irish in our background. This story turned out to be true! Thanks Ancestry DNA! Best money I ever spent. Now I’m saving up to get a professional help me find out where in Ireland we are from. My Great Grandmother on my fathers side was born an O’Donnell, so I suspect the Donegal area, but can’t be certain.
    In the meantime, Happy St. Paddy’s day and Éirinn go Brách!

  14. Scott Mitchell

    Only 4%! Of course, knew it was only a little amount, but proud of that wee amount of Irish showing up.

  15. kaye smith

    I had a DNA test several years ago but it does not show a breakdown like above. It only says I am hapolog V? I have also been disappointed in never finding any connections after my results were posted. Kaye Smith

  16. Priscilla Curran Durrell

    I am thrilled with my DNA results. I knew I had Irish because my Dad’s family was Irish Catholic. I was raised Irish Catholic as well. My great grandfather was from Ireland and migrated to Canada. He is buried at Prince Edwards Island with a huge stone with Irish details. My DNA says I am 57 to 65% Irish!!!! My Dad was full Irish so I believe I was lucky enough to receive his DNA. Thanks Dad!!! I am well pleased with my results. Thank you Ancestry!!!!

  17. Cynthia Bennett Beggs

    I am 12% Irish and my mother is 17%. Beggs is an Irish name, but it belongs to my husband. His 2nd great grandfather immigrated from Antrim, Ireland, but my husband hasn’t taken a DNA test yet. I am sure his would be much more than mine.

  18. Larry Parker

    This blog post just destroyed the validity of those DNA tests. It is mathematically impossible for biological parents to have any given ancestry (in this case I will reference Irish) in percentages of 29 and 37, while their biological children do not have an average of those two numbers as THEIR percentage of Irish ancestry. So the children of those parents MUST have the average of 29% and 37% which is 33%. NOT 22% which the poster showed she was given for herself. Her sister’s number of 33% makes sense, but not her own 22%.

    Could a child who had one parent whose ancestry was European for 50 generations, and the other parent whose ancestry was Nigerian for 50 generations, get accurate results that said she was 90% African? NO! Common sense tells you that the child must be 50% European and 50% African. Nothing else makes sense. And the numbers posted above (including numbers showing that the woman has MUCH more ancestry from Great Britian than the average of her parents) do not pass the common sense test.

  19. Adriana

    @Larry Parker:

    I don’t think you’re taking into account how admixture calculators work, though. They’re based on markers (mutations) in your DNA inherited from your parents. These markers are present in certain populations and not others, and so based off sample populations, companies like AncestryDNA make estimations.

    Distinguishing Irish DNA from its neighboring populations alone is a difficult challenge, and one I don’t think AncestryDNA or any other DNA company can do with any real certainty, but ignoring the validity of admixture calculators, you’re interpreting the information incorrectly.

    If your parent is 1/2 Irish and your other parent no Irish, that doesn’t mean that you’ll inherit 1/4 Irish DNA. On paper, in genealogical terms, you are 1/4 Irish. In terms of DNA markers, though, you may have inherited much less or much more than 1/4. Your DNA is a random combination of mother’s and your father’s DNA. The majority of your markers from your 1/2 Irish parent could be from his or her 1/2 German side. We can’t operate simply off averages because there’s no telling which markers will be passed. You don’t give your child even division of yourself, 1/4 of your mother and 1/4 of your father. You might pass more of your mother, and of your mother’s genes, you may pass on more of her father’s genes.

    Because of that, two full siblings can appear more of one “ethnicity” than another even though, on paper, they should be the same admixture.

    What we should really call into question is the admixture test itself. In other words, can an autosomal test really distinguish between different types of European, and even different types of European in the same population? Sometimes, to varying degrees of success. But because we’re not just averages of our parents, that’s why admixture calculators show different results for siblings. That’s not a failure of a DNA, but the reality of inheritance.

  20. Susan Aylward

    I did my DNA a few years ago and didn’t get my nationality breakdown.:( Do I have to have it re-done to get this?

  21. P Boen

    I have an oversimplified explanation of DNA…. if you take 23 pennies and toss them in the air, chances are you aren’t going to get all heads or all tails. Most likely you will get an average. Sometimes more heads, sometimes more tails. Which is why some kids in a family resemble Dad and some look more like Mom. I don’t think DNA is this simplistic, but just because someone has 50% Irish ancestors doesn’t mean their DNA is going to be 50% Irish.

    My mother’s brother did his DNA… the family is Irish/English, he has 45% Irish DNA. But he also had 20% Scandinavian. Could that be some ancient Vikings lurking in our family tree? I am 20% Irish by DNA (25% by ancestors), but I have 25% Scandinavian. So my mother probably inherited a lot more of the Scandinavian than her brother did (my late father was 100% French-Canadian, and I doubt there were any Scandinavians in his line). My son is 28% Irish (his father has some too) but only 5% Scandinavian (and even though my son is 1/256 Cherokee, he has no Native American DNA… sorry!) .

  22. Mary McAloon Watanabe

    Well, I guess I should get the St. Paddy’s Day Prize. I came out 99% Irish. Some Finnish-Russian marauder got in his 1%. Since I know where all of my great great grandparents came from, it wasn’t a surprise. What was a surprise was when I went to Ireland in 1982, I had the most visceral feeling that I was “home”. Maybe it was because I live in a city where the Europeans are now in the minority and I just hadn’t seen so many people who looked like my childhood friends and neighbors and my relatives. I’ve that where I grew up was an Irish ghetto.

    It was more than physical features that were familiar. After 2 days I was speaking with an accent that the locals thought I was from there and asked if my mother was a friend visiting from America. She was embarrassed and told me to stop making fun of them, but it was totally involuntary. It was really weird!

  23. Candice LaPrade

    I am 11% Irish. My Greenaway and Totten ancestors were from County Armagh, Ireland.

    I didn’t realize one sibling could “be more Irish” than another sibling. I imagine that isn’t the case with my identical twin sister and me.

  24. Anne O'Connor

    I’m 100% Irish and proud of it. Lovely to read so many of you so proud of your Irish DNA. Happy St Patrick’s Weekend from Cork, Ireland x

  25. Allie Bishop

    I’m 22% Irish and my Mom is 42% Irish. I’ve found three Irish immigrants in her tree, but they were here very early, a couple of them since the late 1600s, so I’m kind of surprised that she’s showing so strongly Irish – especially when most of her lines are traced back to England, and her direct paternal line is German.

  26. Roy E. Thompson

    The way I see it is that the decendent’s of the early settler’s, by now has too be a ” Duke’s mixture “

  27. We had my husband’s DNA tested and were surprised to see that he had only a trace of Irish DNA. His maternal grandfather’s family came to the colonies from County Down. We haven’t been able to trace the family back any further than that immigrant ancestor (William Patrick Hanvey), so we don’t know where the family came from, if they were not originally Irish. We are assuming that since he was from what is now Northern Ireland, his ancestors must have been transported to County Down from either Scotland or England. My husband has 70% Great Britain DNA, which is even more than today’s current residents of England. This was a very large shock (regarding the lack of Irish DNA). We will probably have his mother tested, or one of his siblings, in the near future.

  28. Kristin

    While I haven’t found an actual immigrant from Ireland yet, my DNA results showed 27%, higher than any other ethnicity. I was quite surprised!

  29. Lynda

    My DNA came back 70% British Isles, 13% Scandinavian, 7% Iberian Peninsula, and only 5% Irish. This is really strange because a lot of my great grandparents came from Ireland. Go figure.

  30. Matthew Langley

    I come up 25% Irish, ironically higher than either of my parents (20% and 12%), so apparently I got parts from both of them to end up making me more Irish than either. Another interesting potential with autosomal DNA.

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