Growing up, I always thought I had to be more Irish than any of my siblings because I was born on the day before Lá Fhéile Pádraig (Saint Patrick’s Day)—one day early I might add; my due date was actually the 17th.
When I realized an AncestryDNA test could tell me if I really was the most Irish, I jumped at the chance.
I started by testing my own DNA. And my test results did indeed confirm my Irish roots. (Phew!) I was 22 per cent Irish.
But my test was only half the story.
Yes, I was almost a quarter Irish. But was I more (or less) Irish than my sisters? To find out, my sisters needed to take a DNA test too.
Luckily they were easy to convince. They spat in the test tubes, sent in their saliva samples, and waited.
Though, as I had explained to my sisters, most siblings have a different mix of ethnicities due to the random nature of genetic inheritance, I still wondered: How different could we really be?
And of course I was dying to know: Which sister would prove to be the most Irish?
As we waited for our results, we challenged our friends and family to see if they could tell who looked “most Irish.”It’s hard to say just based on our photos, I know. We don’t even look particularly alike, though I can say for sure we are all sisters — DNA did prove that.
After several weeks, we had everyone’s results.
Take a look:
My oldest sister’s ethnicity results show she’s 45% Irish.
Mine show I’m just 22% Irish. So my sister is twice as Irish as I am!
And my other two siblings were right around 30% Irish. That means, despite my birthday, I’m actually the least Irish.
Oh wow. I was reeling. But our DNA had more surprises in store.
Take another look:
All three of my sisters received a good portion of ethnicity from Europe West — and I basically got none.
In the first moment I almost felt robbed. But then I realized my ethnic mix is just different but every bit as awesome.
I am, for example, the most British. We all get 50% of our DNA from each of our parents. But they don’t give each kid the same 50% — unless you’re identical twins.
So it’s not super unusual for siblings to have different percentages of their parents’ ethnicities.
It makes sense if you think about the science behind it. But the first time most of us learn that our siblings can be more Irish or have DNA from a region that we totally lack, it’s definitely mind blowing.