Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Fields of Athenry

According to my AncestryDNA results I am overwhelmingly descended from people who lived in South West Munster. This has led me to transfer some loyalty to Munster in sport, so I was backing them (to no avail unfortunately) against the Saracens in the European Champions Cup semi-final yesterday.

According to Wikipedia:
Munster fans are known for their silence when a kick is being taken, but also for their boos when an opposing player is waiting under a high ball. Fans repeatedly chant "MUNSTER" or sing "The Fields of Athenry" (an Irish famine song from Galway, Connacht) and "Stand Up and Fight" (from the Broadway musical Carmen Jones.)
That is right, we Munster Fans repeatedly chant "MUNSTER". Whoever would have guessed?

When singing The Fields of Athenry we build to this last verse:

By a lonely harbour wall, she watched the last star fall
As the prison ship sailed out against the sky
Sure she'll wait and hope and pray for her love in Botany Bay
It's so lonely round the fields of Athenry.

There is a section in my online AncestryDNA report called DNA Origins that can be broken down by time slice. My map from 1825 to 1850 is inserted below.

Can you see the faint line from Ireland to Australia? (If you click on the image you will see a larger version.) The line all but lands in Botany Bay! Some other offspring of my forefathers was probably  probably - like the poor boy in the song - transported there as a convict before our branches escaped to Wales.

Here is what the analysts say the dots and lines on the map represent:
The dots represent ancestral birth locations. We collect birth locations and dates from online trees that members of Genetic Communities™ have linked to their AncestryDNA results. We remove locations that are not statistically significant or relevant to a Genetic Community. Then, based on that data, we create maps with large and small dots showing population density at different times.
We use the same data to track migration patterns by comparing birth locations between parents and children. These are reflected by the lines on the map. By looking at changes in migration paths over time, we gain more insight into where and when people moved.
You'll notice the dots change with the time periods. Each dot represents ancestors born during that time. A dot in the middle of a state or country that doesn’t seem to correspond with a population center represents people in trees who had only a state or country listed as a birth location.

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