DNA Caillte (The Lost DNA)

3 x 50 minute HD docudrama science / history series

Cutting-edge DNA research is transforming our knowledge of who we are, where we come from and how we got here. This new documentary series produced by Tile Films for TG4 reveals fascinating and shocking truths about the ancient and medieval inhabitants of Europe and how extreme weather influenced the most critical battle in Irish history.

Episode 1 will premiere on TG4 on Wednesday 2nd September 2020, followed by Episodes 2 and 3 on 9th and 16th September respectively.


  • Series Producer – Stephen Rooke
  • Producers – Maeve Kenny & David Ryan
  • Director – Sarah Share
  • Writer – David Ryan
  • Presenter – Manchán Magan
  • Directors of Photography – Ronan Fox
  • Editor – Daithí Connaughton
  • Music Composers – Sarah Lynch
RELEASE DATE: September 2020
GENRES: Science / History
SERIES FORMAT: 3 x 50 minute
PICTURE FORMAT: HD & UHD / 16:9 / 25 fps
SOUND FORMAT: Stereo Sound


  • TG4
  • Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision funding scheme
  • Section 481 – Ireland’s Film Corporation Tax Credit

Clad in animal pelts, a hunter stalks his prey in a dense forest. He pauses, and we notice that he is dark-skinned. Then we see his eyes: they are a bright piercing blue. This is Ireland, 7000 BC. A crack team of geneticists based at Trinity College Dublin is now revealing the truth about ancient Europeans, from the hunter-gatherers who stalked and foraged in the wild, to the first farmers, who migrated from the Middle East. Now, a shocking discovery at the ancient passage tomb of Newgrange gives an astonishing insight into the culture and beliefs of Europeans some 5,000 years ago.

In this dynamic new science / history series, presenter Manchán Magan explores the fascinating scientific evidence that is giving a new perspective on our past. Manchán travels around the country to visit archaeological sites, chats to historians and archaeologists, and ventures inside laboratories to watch scientists’ piece together the past using ancient bones and skulls. In Episode One he investigates the extraordinary new DNA evidence that reveals a dark secret in the heart of ancient Newgrange. In Episode Two he discovers how DNA and other scientific evidence suggests that people practiced paganism for centuries after the coming of Christianity. And in Episode Three he explores extraordinary climate science to reveal how a volcanic eruption affected one of the most critical battles in Irish history, the Battle of Kinsale.

Contributors include scientists Lara Cassidy and Dan Bradley of Trinity College Dublin; archaeologists Chris Read (IT Sligo), Martin Jones (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) and Eileen Murphy (Queen’s University Belfast); and historians James O’Neill and Francis Ludlow (Trinity College Dublin).

‘DNA Caillte’ is produced by Tile Films Limited for TG4 with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s Sound and Vision funding scheme and Section 481, Ireland’s Film Corporation Tax Credit. International distribution is by Off the Fence. Tile Films’ Manging Director Stephen Rooke is executive producer for Tile Films Limited. Máire Ní Chonláin is executive producer for TG4.

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