Skip to main content
John M. Kelly Library

Research Guide to Celtic Studies

PDF version

This research guide is designed for use particularly by undergraduate students in the Celtic Studies Program. It is maintained by Richard Carter. It was last updated August 2011.


Celtic Civilization

Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia.

John T. Koch, editor. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. 5 volumes.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area CB206 .C45 2006]
The major scholarly encyclopedia for Celtic studies with over 1500 articles.

Dictionary of Irish Biography: from the Earliest Times to the Year 2002.

Edited by James McGuire and James Quinn. Cambridge: Royal Irish Academy and Cambridge University Press, 2009. 9 volumes.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area CT862 .D53 2009]
With more than 9,000 articles on subjects ranging from politics, law, engineering and religion to literature, painting, medicine and sport, this widely-praised encyclopedia is the place to start for Irish biography. Articles are signed and contain bibliographies. So detailed is the 9-volume set that you get thorough articles on a wide range of people, from internationally-famous figures such as the poet W.B. Yeats to lesser-known persons such as Denis Kilbride, a 19th Century agrarian campaigner and MP.

Atlas of the Celts.

By Clint Twist. London: George Philip, 2001.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - D70 .T84 2001]
Maps, photos, and illustrations of Celtic history and civilization.

The Celtic Realms.

By Myles Dillon and Nora K. Chadwick. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - D70 .D48 1972]
This source is a good place to get background information on Celtic topics. Although the main focus is Irish Social History, there are also chapters that deal with both Celtic Religion and Mythology and Irish and Welsh literature. This work includes an index, illustrations, and a list of abbreviations. The plates include: photographic examples of Celtic coins, artifacts and art; maps; landmarks and ruins.

The Celts.

By Nora Chadwick, with an introductory chapter by J.X.W.P. Corcoran. Harmondsworth, Eng. : Penguin books, 1970.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - D70 .C47]
An excellent introduction to Celtic Studies. Includes chapters on art, literature, institutions, and religion.

Exploring the World of the Celts.

By Simon James. London : Thames and Hudson, 1993.
[Robarts Library 9th Floor Stacks - CB206 .J35 1993]

Crossed Paths: Methodological Approaches to the Celtic Aspect of the European Middle Ages.

Edited by Benjamin T. Hudson, Vickie Ziegler. Lanham : University Press of America, 1991.
[Robarts Library 9th Floor Stacks — D70 .C76 1991]

The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales.

Edited by John T. Koch in collaboration with John Carey. Aberystwyth : Celtic Studies Publications, 2003. 4th ed.
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area — PB1100 .C45 2003]

The Celtic West and Europe: Studies in Celtic Literature and the Early Irish Church.

By Doris Edel. Dublin: Four Courts, 2001.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - PB1322 .E34 2001]

Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture.

Edited by James S. Donnelly, Jr. Detroit: Thomson Gale, 2004. 2 volumes.
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area DA912 .E53 2004]
Over 400 articles on periods of Irish history, social institutions, organisations and important individuals; each article includes a bibliography of the most important books and journal articles. Also includes the full-text of over 150 primary documents.

Medieval Ireland: An Encyclopedia.

Edited by Sean Duffy. London: Routledge, 2005.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area DA933 .M43 2005]

Encyclopedia of the Irish in America.

Edited by Michael Glazier. Notre Dame, Ind.: Notre Dame Press, 1999.
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area E184 .I6 E53 1999]

Celtic Literatures

See also the Research Guide to Irish Literature for a listing of reference sources in this area.

The Irish Literary Tradition.

By J. E. Caerwyn Williams and Patrick K. Ford. Cardiff : University of Wales ; Belmont, Mass. : Ford & Bailie, 1992.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - PB1306 .T7313 1992]

A Guide to Welsh Literature.

Edited by A. O. H. Jarman and Gwilym Rees Hughes. Swansea : C. Davies, 1976-
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - PB2206 .G8]
A two-volume work which provides a history and criticism of Welsh literature from its beginnings in the sixth century to the present day. It is comprised of a number of articles by subject experts. The articles are arranged both chronologically and thematically. The work includes bibliographies for both writers and topics.

Celtic Societies and Law

The Independence of Scotland: Self-government and the Shifting Politics of Union.

By Michael Keating. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
[Available online for UofT use.]

A Guide to Early Irish Law.

By Fergus Kelly. Dublin : Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1988.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - KDK156 .K44 1988]
Includes the contents of texts in both Irish and English as well as plates showing the primary source documents themselves. Subdivided by topic, the book is well laid out and easy to work with. A guide to pronunciation, a glossary of Irish terms and other lists and indexes make this work an excellent source for those new to the subject.

The Welsh Laws.

By T. M. Charles-Edwards. Cardiff : University of Wales Press, 1989.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - KD9430 .C47 1989]
This is not a collection of primary source documents on the subject but instead a history and criticism of the law in Wales prior to the Modern era.

Celtic History

See also the Research Guide to Irish History for a listing of reference sources in this area.

A Short History of Modern Ireland.

By Richard Killeen. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2003.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St. Michael's 2nd Floor DA950 .K55 2003]

Scotland: A Short History.

By Christopher Harvie. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St. Michael's 2nd Floor DA760 .H36 2002]

A New History of Ireland.

A series of monographs edited by F. J. Byrne, et al. Oxford : Clarendon Press, - .
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA910 .N4 Volumes 2, 3, 5, 6]
Each book in this series covers a different period or topic in the history of Ireland.

Patterns of Power in Early Wales.

By Wendy Davies. Oxford [England] : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1990.
[Robarts Libary 10th Floor Stacks - DA715 .D375 1990]
Examines power relations, ownership, politics and government in Wales to the 1500s.

Wales in the Early Middle Ages.

By Wendy Davies. Leicester, England : Leicester University Press, 1982.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA715 .D38]
A well-illustrated, critical introduction to Wales in the Early-Medieval period. The book can be read by those who do not have a background in either Medieval or Welsh history.

The Creation of Brittany: A Late Medieval State.

By Michael Jones. London ; Ronceverte, WV : Hambledon Press, 1988.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DC611 .B854J66 1988]

The Oxford Companion to Scottish History.

Edited by Michael Lynch. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area DA757.9 .O94 2005]

Warlords and Holy Men : Scotland, AD 80-1000.

By Alfred Smyth. Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press, 1989.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA777 .S68 1987]
Includes a number of maps and genealogical tables as well as a chronology of people and events, and an index. A comprehensive annotated bibliography is included as well. Overall, a good basic source of information on Scotland in the first millennium after Christ.

Image and Identity: The Making and Re-making of Scotland Through the Ages.

Edited by Dauvit Broun, R.J. Finlay and Michael Lynch. Edinburgh : J. Donald, 1998.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA772 .I43 1998]

Kings of Celtic Scotland.

By Benjamin T. Hudson. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1994.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA777 .H83 1994]

Celtic Religion and Mythology

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore.

By Patricia Monaghan. New York: Facts on File, 2004.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area - BL900 .M66 2004]
Besides being our most up-to-date Celtic mythology source, this encyclopedia has a good general introduction to the Celtic peoples, their language, literature, religion and society, as well as a bibliography and an index. The entries range in size from a few lines to a page, and many include a list of sources. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology focuses on Celtic traditions from Ireland, Scotland, Britain, Wales, Brittany, central France, and Galicia in northwestern Spain.

Encyclopedia of Irish Spirituality.

By Phyllis G. Jestice. Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2000.
[Available online for UofT use.]

Early Christian Ireland.

By T.M. Charles-Edwards. Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St. Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area BR792 .C43 2000]

Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend.

By Miranda J. Green. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997
[St Michael's 1st Floor Referene Area - BL900 .G73 1997]
Illustrated, with an index and bibliography.

Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.

By Peter Berresford Ellis. Santa Barbara : ABC-CLIO, 1992.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area - BL900 .E45 1992]
A basic dictionary for the lay reader. Included are introductory reading lists to themes and figures in Celtic mythology.

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology.

By James MacKillop. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area - BL900 .M445 1998]

Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales.

By Alwyn Rees and Brinley Rees. London: Thames and Hudson, 1961.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - GR137 .R43 1961]

Celtic Mythology.

By Proinsias Mac Cana. Feltham, Middlesex : Hamlyn, 1970.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BL900 .M32]

Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition.

By Anne Ross. London : Routledge & K. Paul, 1967.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BL900 .R6]

Dictionary of Celtic Religion and Culture.

By Bernhard Maier; translated by Cyril Edwards. Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 1997
[Robarts Library 4th Floor Reference Area - BL900 .M4513 1997X ]

The Church in Early Irish Society.

By Kathleen Hughes. London : Methuen, 1966.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BR794 .H83 1966a]

Early Christian Ireland: Introduction to the Sources.

By Kathleen Hughes. Cambridge : University Press, 1977.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - DA908 .H83 1977]
An excellent starting point for more thorough research, this book provides background information about Ireland and the Early Christian period. It provides fairly detailed information about the Annals (kingships) and points to other sources for study on a variety of topics.

Medieval Irish Saints' Lives: An Introduction to Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae.

By Richard Sharpe. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BX4662 .S52 1991]

Lives of the Welsh Saints.

By G.H. Doble; edited by D. Simon Evans. Cardiff : University of Wales Press, 1971.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BX4659 .W3D6]

Traditions of the Welsh Saints.

By Elissa R. Henken. Wolfeboro, N.H.: D.S. Brewer, 1987.
[St Michael's 3rd Floor Stacks - BX4659 .G7H46 1986]

Celtic Folklore

The Folklore of Ireland.

By Sean O'Sullivan. New York : Hastings House, 1974.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - GR153.5 .O77 1974]

Welsh Folk Customs.

By Trefor M. Owen. [St Fagans] : Welsh Folk Museum, 1974.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - GR150 .O83 1994]
Covers the folklore, social life and customs of Wales.

Folklore of the Scottish Highlands.

By Anne Ross. London : B.T. Batsford, 1976.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - GR145 .H6R68 1993]

Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations.

By Alexander Carmichael. 5 vols. Edinburgh : Scottish Academic Press, 1941-1976.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor Stacks - PB1631 .C3]

Finding Journal Articles

To search for articles, the best tool to use is an article database. UofT has many article databases. They're essential for retrieving articles in scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, anthologies, collections and conference proceedings. Go to and under the Subjects A to Z tab scroll down to your subject area—i.e. Celtic Studies—and click GO. You'll find a list of online databases containing relevant articles, as well as other online resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries and research guides.

Besides finding articles, these databases round up book reviews, book chapters, dissertations and even book titles. In most cases, you can limit your search to articles if that's all you want. How do I find articles?

Celtic Studies Association of North America's Online Bibliography.

[Available online for free]
The CSANA Bibliography indexes a broad range of publications, including books, periodicals, Festschriften, proceedings and other works relevant to the study of Celtic languages and literatures. The online bibliography is continuously being expanded and currently contains almost 10,000 entries. It can be searched by key word, phrase, author, or subject.

Classics Ireland

[Available online for free]
Classics Ireland is the journal of the Classical Association of Ireland. The full-text of articles from volumes 1 to 12 (1994 2005) is available online.

Historical Abstracts.

[Available online for UofT use (1954 - present)]
Historical Abstracts covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. The database contains more than half a million annotated entries.

Humanities Abstracts.

[Available online for UofT use (1994 - present)]
Humanities Abstracts provides comprehensive abstracting and indexing of 400 English language periodicals covering the areas of archaeology, classical studies, art, performing arts, philosophy, history, music, linguistics, literature, and religion.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

[Available online for UofT use (1975 - present)]
The Arts & Humanities Citation Index is a multi-disciplinary database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. It indexes 1,100 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, as well as covering individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. Cited reference searching, unique to ISI, lets you use a given work as if it were a subject term to identify more recent articles on the same topic. This type of searching often locates relevant articles that cannot be retrieved through traditional subject author searching.

British Humanities Index (BHI).

[Available online for UofT use (1962 - present)]
The BHI indexes more than 300 British journals and is a good source for local history in the British Isles.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

The goal of Iter is to increase access to all published materials pertaining to the Renaissance (1300-1700) and, eventually, to the Middle Ages (400-1500), through the creation of online bibliographic databases. Their 'Journals Database' includes approximately 135,000 records from secondary materials published in more than 300 journals, from 1843 to the present. Publication dates will eventually span from 1700. The database covers the cultural aspects of the Renaissance in Christian Europe from 1300-1700.

IMB: International Medieval Bibliography.

This online index of articles from journals and essay collections contains entries going back to 1969. Although the IMB is intended for medieval studies, it lists hundreds of Celtic-related articles.