Irish and Scottish linked by High King Niall of the nine hostages

Illustration of Niall of the Nine Hostages

Read more: Meet Ireland's most prolific high king - you may be descended from him

There has always been a very special bond between the Irish and the Scottish. But now it appears that bond is closer than we ever imagined.

According to new DNA research released this week, many Scottish and Irish people are direct descendants of a 5th-century Irish king.

The first High King of Ireland, Niall Noigiallach, was a powerful ruler and so epically promiscuous that today no less than 150,000 Scots, or a full 6 per cent of the population, are genetically-related to him!

40 per cent of all men from Ulster and 20 per cent of Irishmen as a whole carry Noigiallach's gene markers.

DNA is inherited, but over time flaws develop as genetic material is passed down through the generations.

These flaws become known as markers. Nowadays researchers have found that marker 222 on the Y (male) chromosome can be traced back to the randy Irish king, who lived in the fifth century.

Doctor Jim Wilson of the University of Edinburgh told the press this week: "The only possible candidate for this fecund paternal figure is Niall Noigiallach, the first High King of Ireland who was believed to have ruled between 430 and 455 AD. According to later accounts in the 11th century, Niall beat his brothers to the crown in feats of endurance, intelligence and romance."

"When sent to obtain water from a hideous hag, his brothers retreated when she demanded a kiss, while Niall puckered up and so revealed her to be a beautiful maiden in disguise, who then granted him and his future generations the sovereignty of Ireland."

The story may be a charming myth, but the genetic code inside Scots and Irish men reveals that Noigiallach made multiple female conquests, resulting in 12 legitimate sons and many more illegitimate offspring.

It wasn't only his power, but his DNA that he speared across two nations.

Read more: Meet Ireland's most prolific high king - you may be descended from him