Ireland has the reputation of having one of the highest concentrations of red-haired people in the world, along with Scotland. A strong and authentic image, halfway between clichés and reality… Is freckles of Irish origin? Is there really more redheads in Ireland than elsewhere? We offer you to untangle the true from the false, and to enlighten you on the origins of this freckle!
This image can be found almost everywhere in tourist communications about Ireland: an Irish, red or auburn, freckles on the face, and very light skin… Here is the archetype as we perceive it of typical Irish people…
But is that really the case? Are the Irish really all redheads as advertised?
Here is our answer in figures: more than 10% of the Irish population is indeed redheaded, auburn or Venetian blond in Ireland. A figure which nevertheless remains behind the score of Scotland, which has 13% of redheads on board.
It is estimated that 46% of the Irish population carries the recessive freckles gene. Nearly half of them do, but carrying this gene does not imply that they are apparently freckled.
As a result, redheads are still a minority in Ireland, although they are highly concentrated within the country. This particularity is genetically explained by a particular gene, which directly impacts the colour of the skin as well as the colour of the hair. The skin is very light, while the hair is generally very thick, with shades ranging from red to auburn.
But beware of clichés: although Scotland and Ireland are currently the countries with the highest concentration of redheads, other peoples have historically been made up of many redheads, such as the Germanic-Celtic and Atlantic-Mediterranean peoples (the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia, but also the Kabyle people of North Africa, the Bretons of the South, the Basques, the Spaniards of the South-East)…