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Did the Legendary Irish Milesians Come from Spanish Galicia?

Did the Legendary Irish Milesians Come from Spanish Galicia?

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The legend of Irish Milesians is one of the strangest stories connected with the origins of these islanders. Where did they come from? Is it possible that the early ancestors of modern Irish people had Spanish roots?

The legend of the Milesians begins in the Holy Land, during the period when the Tower of Babel still existed. Their story was described in many books since early medieval times. But the most problematic issue about this group is connected with the original name of the Milesians, which comes from the name of Míl Espáine (Soldier of Hispania), a mythical ancestor of the Irish. His name was Latinized to Milesius, what gave the term ''sons of Míl'' or the Milesians.

The Legend of a Spanish Soldier

The story of the tribe called Milesians is found in the medieval Irish Christian text Lebor Gabála Érenn. This text is seen by some researchers as related to real Celtic beliefs, but others suggest that it is a fictional tale created by Christian monks. In the Irish language, they are known as “ gairthear Mílidh Easpáinne.” The first Milesians were said to be led by a mysterious man, whose roots may shed light on the true origins of the Irish people.

Apart from the previously mentioned text, the man appears in the semi-historical work Historia Brittonum (The History of the Britons), which was written in the 9th century probably by a man named Nennius, who was a Welsh monk. He described a story of a man whose father was Bile, son of Breogan. The grandfather of the man is now known as the “Soldier of Hispania” who, according to legends, discovered the city called Brigantinum (now La Coruña) in Galicia. The Irish legend explains that Míl Espáine took the people from his homeland and went to Ireland. The people who arrived there with him then became the fathers of the Irish Gaels.

Statue of Breogán statue in La Coruña.

Statue of Breogán statue in La Coruña. (Basilio from gl/CC BY SA 3.0)

The story of Milesius is also related to Egypt. Legends say that he served as a soldier in Egypt and Scythia. He allegedly traveled through Europe and became a famous warrior known in many parts of the world.

Moreover, according to some resources, it seems that he could have been the husband of the legendary Scota - making this story even more incredible. It is unknown if he really made it to Ireland.

A depiction of Scota on a ship from the 1400s.

A depiction of Scota on a ship from the 1400s. (Public Domain)

This part of the story creates more questions. Some resources suggest that Milesius died in Iberia, and Scota went to Ireland with a company of their eight sons. Another story says that when one of Milesius’ uncles, Ith, was killed by the Tuatha De Danann, the invaders decided to take his body back to Iberia. Soon after the burial ceremony, Milesius also died, so his wife and sons went to Ireland without him. Due to the terrible storms created by the magic of Tuatha Dé Danann many of the brave soldier’s sons supposedly died, but others may have become the fathers of Irish people. In the end, Milesius is known as a head of the Irish ancestors - one whose rule started the impressive culture.

Searching for the Truth

According to the 16th century scholar, Thomas F. O’Flaherty, the invasion of the Milesians took place around 1,000 BC. He wrote that it was in the time of the reign of Solomon, but this explanation seems to be based more on imagination related to biblical stories than fact.

However, it is known that the Celts had penetrated lands over the Rhine, including many areas such as the Pyrenees, Iberian Peninsula, England, Scotland, Ireland, etc. This happened long before the books about their history were created. Nonetheless, ways of understating time and ancient chronology in the 16th century was different than it is now, so O'Flaherty’s suggestion cannot be fully ignored.

Representation of a Milesian Tomb, opened near the Cimmerian Bosporus - Clarke Edward Daniel- 1810.

Representation of a Milesian Tomb, opened near the Cimmerian Bosporus - Clarke Edward Daniel- 1810. (Public Domain)

Moreover, according to A. M. Sullivan:

“The earliest settlement or colonization of Ireland, of which there is tolerably precise and satisfactory information, was that by the sons of Miledh or Milesius, from whom the Irish are occasionally styled Milesians. There are abundant evidences that at least two or three "waves" of colonization had long previously reached the island; but it is not very clear whence they came. Those first settlers are severally known in history as the Partholanians, the Nemedians, the Firbolgs, and the Tuatha de Danaans. These latter, the Tuatha de Danaans, who immediately preceded the Milesians, possessed a civilization and a knowledge of "arts and sciences" which, limited as we may be sure it was, greatly amazed the earlier settlers (whom they had subjected) by the results it produced. To the Firbolgs (the earlier settlers) the wonderful things done by the conquering newcomers, and the wonderful knowledge they displayed, could only be the results of supernatural power. Accordingly, they set down the Tuatha de Danaans as "magicians," an idea which the Milesians, as we shall presently see, also adopted.”

Many researchers have tried to find out if this is the truth, but after so many centuries, even DNA tests aren't bringing clear results. There was so much migration through the years, that previous attempts of using DNA to find the roots of the tribe or the nation haven't brought expected results. For example, in a case of searching for the roots of ancient Egyptians, DNA tests suggested there are more descendants of pharaohs in England than in modern Egypt.

‘The Coming of the Sons of Miled’ - THE COMING OF THE MILESIANS (1910).

‘The Coming of the Sons of Miled’ - THE COMING OF THE MILESIANS (1910). (The Commons)

It is commonly believed that the legendary Milesians and the Gaels were the same tribe. Gaels originally came from the south of France and the north of Spain. The correlation between the legendary story and reality recorded by historical resources seems obvious. However, many scholars still believe that the legend was invented by early medieval monks - which is somewhat more questionable. It is hard to believe that Christian monks trying to convert people into the new faith would like to promote a story which would support the power of the old cults at the same time.

Connecting Ancient Celts

Nowadays, symbolism and other aspects of cultures associated with Celts are still very popular themes in Ireland and also in some parts of Spain - including Galicia. Many people interested in history argue about the roots of the Celts, Galicians, Irish, etc. It is unknown if this problem will ever be completely solved.

Top Image: Milesian Invastion by Maura O'Rourke. Source: The Progressive Influence

By Natalia Klimczak


Irish Historical Mysteries: The Milesians, available at:

The story of the Irish race,available at:

The Spanish Milesians invasion, available at:

The Story of Ireland by A. M. Sullivan, available at:

Did the Irish Come from Spain?, available at:



As a kid I heard the statement Truth is Stranger Than Fiction! It cause me to ask questions. This coupled with "the winners write the history books" is why I am flipping rocks looking for clues at the scene of the crime.

Read the Declaration of Arborath
Here in the 1300's the Scots claim to have come from Scythia after a sojourn in Spain
coming to what is now Northern Ireland 1200 years after Israel crossed the Red Seas, which would be the date of about 247BC Why would they use such a benchmark if the Red Sea Crossing were not a part of their history? No one else has use it.
Other Sources have claimed that the Scythians were of Israel. John Locke related a story of a dialogue between the Scythian & Athenian indicating a kindred people.
The use of the term Jew does not appear in the Bible until it was used as a slang term for the Nation of Judah by Babylon not to long before the captivity. We are discussing the Nation of Israel that divided over a the excessive debt of Salomon's Kingdom etc The 10 Tribes that became the Nation of Israel to the North.

The Son of Jacob came from 4 different mothers. Joseph and Benjamin were the sons of his old age and Jacob took time to train them and these two tribes are different that the others. the use of the term Wild Asses in reference to the other son is in the bible. Here the Saxons & Norse come to mind.

There were 3 Roman invasion of Britain! Of course now you are going to say WHAT? The original actual attempted Roman conquest, but also let us not forget Augustine that brought Roman Christianity to Britain. Here a book called St Paul in Britain will be helpful
The Catholic Monks with their Fairy Tails painted the ancient Druid British Culture as witchcraft to blot out the fact that said system was the Bulwark of British Liberty. Thomas Jefferson made reference to "Our Wise British Ancestors" and said he meant prior to 800 AD which was well before the UNIFIED ENGLAND.
The 3rd invasion of Rome is just as interesting. The Norman Invasion of 1066 AD William had adopted the Roman Civil Law and called it Norman Law and blended with the Ancient Common Law of Britain and we are still feeling the effects of this conquest yesterday!

The Creator confused the tongues at the Tower of Babel and it never offers how many new tongues there were. One day while studying the Ancient Religions and their commonalities it occurred that they had one source that been Noah who live 350 years after the flood and taught the ways of the Creator. According to the Book of Jasher the Tower of Babel occurred just after Noah's death and then emerged the 7 ancient religions. 500 Years Later Moses came to correct the record and establish the Nation of Israel. Not to form a religion called Judaism. Compare Number 2, Salomon's Temple & Revelations 4 with the diagrams of Ancient Religions. American Indian Medicine Wheel all ties back to Seth the 3rd son of Adam. (see St Paul in Britain)

Google the latin for Beware of the Greeks even when they bring gifts
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" is a Latin phrase from Aeneid (II, 49), written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC. It has been paraphrased in English as the proverb "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". Its literal meaning is "I fear the Danaans [Greeks], even those bearing gifts" or "even when they bear gifts". Most printed versions of the text have the variant ferentis instead of ferentes.[1]

Compare this to the name of the early people of Ireland
So it may be that the Scythian's having lived for a long time in Spain now come to kick the butts of their Brother, Tribe of Dan aka the Greeks, the Seafarers who walked off the pages of biblical history shortly after the conquest of the promised land. To displace them as the Scots and later moving to the now present day Scotland as the Lowland Scots. Not to be confused with the Gaels who moved in later bring there Catholicism which has been a the fight on that Isle for years.

St Paul in Britain was written in 1860 and offers that the ancient British had a Solar System to track time and they view of the age of the earth coincided with Genesis! These topics are not as foggy or complicated as they appear. As some else said use your mind, I offer to allow the leading of the spirit. On that topic check David Hawkins Power vs Force.

The name Tuatha seems to have a Polynesian or Tongan sound to it. Funny, the Tongans wear Kilts like the Irish and Scottish.

Also DNA studies confirm that the irsh living there 5,200 years ago was likely an immigrant from the middle east... so actually DNA studies do point towards them being israelites.... its just common held BELIEFS that may not confirm here theory. Use your brain... not your ears.

Well considering the J haplogroup evolved in eastern Asia and is linked with the Ashkenazi who in RECENT dna studies have been proven to be of mongolian or asian stock... id say that the J haplogroup has nothing to do with the original Israelites... r1b1 could be the stock of the israelites.... considering there is 10 tribes there may be more. Hell even the name askenazi is found in the bible.... and hes not a son of SHEM but a son of JAPETH... ie not a semite.

DNA studies do not back up your claims .. In order for the Scots and Irish to be lost tribes they would need to carry Semite Y chromosome signatures J1 and J2 ... They do not .. They are overwhelmingly R1B which originated on the steppe lands of Russia .. Long before (thousands of years) there was ever an Abraham .



Natalia Klimczak is an historian, journalist and writer and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Languages, University of Gdansk. Natalia does research in Narratology, Historiography, History of Galicia (Spain) and Ancient History of Egypt, Rome and Celts. She... Read More

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