The most recommended Celtic mythology books

Who picked these books? Meet our 38 experts.

38 authors created a book list connected to Celtic mythology, and here are their favorite Celtic mythology books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Celtic mythology book?


Book cover of Norse, Celtic Mythology & Runes: Explore The Timeless Tales Of Norse & Celtic Folklore, The Myths, History, Sagas & Legends + The Magic, Spells & Meanings of Runes

George Hagen Author Of Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

From my list on Viking gods & heroes.

Who am I?

George Hagen is a Brooklyn writer who has written two adventure books for children about talking ravens. Hagen lived on three different continents by the time he was eleven, and developed a tremendous passion for folktales of all cultures from Africa, Egypt, Greece, Europe, and Celtic and Norse myth. His children's books were inspired by the myth of the Viking God Odin whose two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, flew around the land of ice and fire, reporting all the news. Hagen has appeared before hundreds of students, unraveling the secret mystery of riddles (modern and ancient) at schools from New York to Los Angeles.

George's book list on Viking gods & heroes

George Hagen Why did George love this book?

Have you ever been curious about changlings, banshees, or megaliths? Have you wondered who, exactly, Merlin the magician was? It's all in Sofia Visconti's timeless tales. This book is a great guide to the Celtic, Irish and Scottish myths. It's like having an encyclopedia of magical beings at your fingertips.

By Sofia Visconti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Norse, Celtic Mythology & Runes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Norse God Odin was a relentless seeker of knowledge and wisdom, willing to sacrifice almost anything for this pursuit.

Odin's hunger for wisdom is evident in many of the stories that involve him, and I invite you to share his willingness to let go of your reality and jump into the mysterious worlds of Norse & Celtic Mythology and Runes.

Included in this Captivating 3 Book Collection are:

Runes: A Guide To The Magic, Meanings, Spells, Divination & Rituals Of Runes Celtic Mythology: Dive Into The Depths Of Ancient Celtic Folklore, The Myths, Legends & Tales of The Gods,…

Book cover of Key of Light

Adele Morris Author Of The Lost Soul

From my list on blending myth and magic into an unputdownable tale.

Who am I?

As a Scottish born Australian writer I grew up reading tales from Celtic and Norse mythology and always wanted them to be fact. With a passion for history, including tales of lost civilizations, and with a deeply rooted love of story, I have spent decades exploring how myth and story intertwine. Where do our stories come from? I have fantasized for many hours about what it would be like if there was an older magical world beneath ours. My first novel, The Lost Soul, began when I asked myself one question: What if myth was true? 

Adele's book list on blending myth and magic into an unputdownable tale

Adele Morris Why did Adele love this book?

The first book in the trilogy, Key of Light, hooked me from the opening page and the rather sassy Malory Price who is driving in a storm to an intriguing dinner invitation and worrying about the bad day she’s just had. A thoroughly delightful woman, a born organizer, with a warrior streak a mile wide who sets off on a quest with her newfound friends to hunt for a mystical key with the power to lift the enchantment cast on three sleeping Celtic demi-goddesses. 

I always love seeing how Nora Roberts crafts a boy meets girl story with a touch of Celtic fantasy. A fun read. A blend of myth, magic, and romance amid the backdrop of a hunt for a mystical key. Who could ask for more?

By Nora Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Key of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The pleasure of your company is desired for cocktails and conversation. 8pm, 4th September. Warrior's Peak. You are the Key. The lock awaits.

When Malory Price is issued with the above invitation she is naturally suspicious, especially as Warrior's Peak is a local mansion house straight out of a Hollywood horror movie. But with her overdraft at crisis limit and on the verge of losing her job at a local art gallery, she has little to lose by attending the event.

But Malory is about to get more than she bargained for. At Warrior's Peak she finds that she and…

Book cover of Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales

Terry Madden Author Of Three Wells of the Sea

From my list on Celts and Druids.

Who am I?

I have been studying Celtic history and lore since I was in college and took a class on Arthurian literature. Drawing heavily from Irish and Welsh lore to build my “land beyond the veil” known as the Five Quarters, I have always been intrigued by the Celtic view of the land of the dead as a distinct world to which we go and then return, like two sides of the mirrored surface of a well. The land below the water, and the land above. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have!

Terry's book list on Celts and Druids

Terry Madden Why did Terry love this book?

An amazing analysis of myth and folklore from Ireland and Wales linking culture and language back to our Indo-European roots and parallels with Hinduism. It is rather technical, but if you are researching the foundation of Celtic lore, this is a must. I got my title from a quote in this book.

By Alwyn Rees, Brinley Rees,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Celtic Heritage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Celts and the Classical World

Sharon Paice MacLeod Author Of Celtic Cosmology and the Otherworld: Mythic Origins, Sovereignty and Liminality

From my list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology.

Who am I?

My passion for Celtic cultures, languages, and traditions comes from my family, where singing and storytelling were common. I worked as a singer and musician, and trained in Celtic Studies through Harvard University. That was an amazing experience, and research in Scotland and Ireland expanded my knowledge tremendously. I taught Celtic literature, mythology, and folklore at numerous colleges, and am Expert Contributor in Iron Age Pagan Celtic Religion for the Database of Religious History at the University of British Columbia, and invited Old Irish translator for the upcoming Global Medieval Sourcebook at Stanford University. I wake up every day excited to share the historical realities of these amazing cultures and beliefs!

Sharon's book list on authentic Celtic mythology, religion, and cosmology

Sharon Paice MacLeod Why did Sharon love this book?

I really think this book has also been underappreciated and overlooked by students and enthusiasts.

It contains a remarkable (and again) unsurpassed collection of written sources from the Iron Age in regard to the history, culture, and religions of the Celtic speaking peoples of ancient Europe. In some places it focuses on interactions between the Celts and population groups from the Mediterranean and other parts of ancient Europe.

But it also goes into a great deal of detail about the Celts themselves; where they lived; the names and activities of many of their leaders, warriors, druids, and others; and fascinating information about their cultures, beliefs, and religions... in accurate historical context which makes for a very engaging - and at times a surprising read.

Without a proper understanding of the historical realities, and the context from which information derives... whether Greek and Roman accounts, inscriptions, other written sources, archeology, and…

By David Rankin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Celts and the Classical World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standard work in the field which was OP

No competition

Recent surge of interest in the Celtic Studies

Multidisciplinary, easily approachable

Includes 4 new pages on the Roman camp outside of Dublin

Book cover of Daughter of the Forest

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

From my list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors.

Who am I?

I have always loved fairy tales, myths, and fantasy, having developed a vivid imagination during childhood because we lived far from friends. When I began studying French, I discovered a love for medieval legends such as Tristan et Yseult.  During trips to France, I explored troglodyte caves of the Loire Valley and prehistoric grottos, such as La Grotte de Lascaux. The more I researched legends and myths, the more my fantasy world of paranormal romance and shapeshifting warriors evolved.

Jennifer's book list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors

Jennifer Ivy Walker Why did Jennifer love this book?

This story is a retelling of a fairy tale of six brothers who transform into swans due to an evil enchantment. Their sister Sorcha, the Daughter of the Forest, painfully weaves shirts from starwort nettle to break the spell and save them. Filled with romance, otherworldly elements of medieval Celtic legends such as fairy folk and magic spells, this novel is a powerful testament to love and loyalty.

I have always loved legends and fairy tales and felt totally immersed in this magic world of Marillier’s Celtic forest.

By Juliet Marillier,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Daughter of the Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum, faces the difficult task of having to save her family from its enemies, who have bewitched her father and six older brothers while forcing her to choose between the life she has always known and a special love.

Book cover of Britain Begins

Brian Haughton Author Of Haunted Spaces, Sacred Places: A Field Guide to Stone Circles, Crop Circles, Ancient Tombs, and Supernatural Landscapes

From my list on folklore and traditions of ancient sacred places.

Who am I?

I have been fascinated by ancient sacred sites since I first visited the ancient Rollright Stones on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border decades ago. I am interested in how the study of folklore and local traditions can be used in conjunction with archaeology to trace the origins and purposes of ancient monuments. I am an author and researcher who has had seven books published on the subjects of ancient civilizations, prehistoric monuments, and supernatural folklore. Born in Birmingham, England, I am a qualified archaeologist with a BA in European Archaeology from the University of Nottingham, and an MPhil in Greek Archaeology from Birmingham University.

Brian's book list on folklore and traditions of ancient sacred places

Brian Haughton Why did Brian love this book?

I was attracted to this book as it uses the most up-to-date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques to tell the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples, from around 10,000BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Whilst there are new archaeological discoveries made every week, one or two of which could potentially challenge some of the ideas in this work, at the moment it is the most up-to-date book on the subject which we have, and as such should be treasured.  

By Barry Cunliffe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Britain Begins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land that had been laid waste. From that time onwards Britain and Ireland have been continuously inhabited and the resident population has increased from a few hundreds to more than 60

Britain Begins is nothing less than the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples,…

Book cover of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

Geoff Turner Author Of Archie's Mirror

From my list on magic, heroes, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Who am I?

As a writer of children’s books, I’ve always been fascinated – not merely by the narrative, characters, and plot that form a story – but how ideas themselves spring to life and cross-pollinate to form some kind of creative endeavor, whether that’s a song, a poem, a book or anything else that provokes an emotional response. Rather than shying away from the question: "Where do you get your ideas?" I like to embrace it and search for answers myself. These books all set contexts through which the nature of imagination and ideas are explored alongside the tales they tell, and they remain an influence on the ideas I have, and the words I write.

Geoff's book list on magic, heroes, and rock ‘n’ roll

Geoff Turner Why did Geoff love this book?

A formative book from my childhood, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen kick-started my love of all things magic, heroic, and fantastical. Not only that, but the setting was close to where I grew up – these were locations I knew but viewed through a mythic lens. Loosely based on the legend of the Wizard of Alderley Edge, Alan Garner creates a fantasy world that feels so real as two children are pulled into an adventure where the very future of the world of men is on the line. It remains so influential on my own writing that I still return to the old dwarf caves of Fundinvale as an adult and enjoy the tale every bit as much as I did when I was a ten-year-old reading by torchlight under the duvet.

By Alan Garner,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Weirdstone of Brisingamen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time.

"Alan Garner's fiction is something special." - Neil Gaiman

When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights.

But the heart of the magic that binds them - Firefrost, also known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen - has been lost. The Wizard has been searching for the stone for more than 100 years, but the forces…

Book cover of The Girl of Dorcha Wood

Mandi Oyster Author Of Dacia Wolf & the Prophecy

From my list on fantasy to take you away.

Who am I?

Picking up a fantasy novel and getting away from real-world problems is an escape for me. Even though many of these issues don’t exist in our lives, we can still learn from the way the characters deal with their struggles. We can find compassion and empathy and maybe see that there are two sides to every story. Along the way, we also get to see stunning vistas and amazing, mythical creatures.

Mandi's book list on fantasy to take you away

Mandi Oyster Why did Mandi love this book?

In The Girl of Dorcha Wood Ward leads her readers on an emotional journey of love and loss that is filled with innocence, betrayal, love, pain, bitterness, and revenge.

Her characters are incredibly realistic. She has a way of making you feel like you’ve known them all your life. The setting is well-written and almost feels like home.

By Kristin Ward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl of Dorcha Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dorcha Wood is all of these.

And none of them.

The people of Felmore talk of Dorcha Wood in whispers, if they speak of it at all. There is danger in the dark forest. Monstrous things, remnants of the Aos Sí, lurk in the shadows, hunting the unwary should one be careless enough to cross those borders.

But to seventeen-year-old Fiadh, Dorcha Wood is home. A haven. It speaks to her in the rustle of the wind through the leaves, in the wild things that come to her hand. It is a forest whose secrets become known…

Book cover of The Mabinogion

Helen Fulton Author Of The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature

From my list on Wales and Welsh culture.

Who am I?

I was lucky enough to be introduced to medieval Welsh literature when I was an undergraduate, and the Welsh language mesmerised me. It is so unlike any other language that I had come across and translating texts from Welsh into English was as absorbing as code-cracking. My apprenticeship as a scholar was long and hard and I soon realised that my particular contribution was to make Welsh literature accessible to non-Welsh speakers, not simply through translations, but by aligning the Welsh tradition with the wider literary cultures of Europe. I want Wales and its two literatures to take their place as two of the great literatures of Europe.

Helen's book list on Wales and Welsh culture

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

I first read the tales of The Mabinogion when I was an undergraduate and their amazing otherness helped to propel me towards a career researching medieval Welsh literature.

These prose tales were composed in Welsh between 1100 and 1300. Four of the tales are linked together and are known as ‘The Four Branches of the Mabinogi’. Other tales include two original Arthurian stories, a dream vision set in the Roman British past, and three tales based on the French Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes.

In this rich mixture of genres, otherworldly women marry heroic men, warfare between Wales and Ireland destroys a generation, and Arthur strides the land as the king of the whole island of Britain. Sioned Davies’s translation is the latest and best, capturing all the drama and apparent simplicity of the original Welsh texts.

By Sioned Davies (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mabinogion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I cannot be killed indoors,' he said, 'nor out of doors; I cannot be killed on horseback, nor on foot.' 'Well,' she said, 'how can you be killed?'

Celtic mythology, Arthurian romance, and an intriguing interpretation of British history - these are just some of the themes embraced by the anonymous authors of the eleven tales that make up the Welsh medieval masterpiece known as the Mabinogion. They tell of Gwydion the shape-shifter, who can create a woman out of flowers; of Math the magician whose feet must lie in the lap of a virgin; of hanging a pregnant mouse…

Book cover of Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature

Nicholas J. Higham Author Of King Arthur: The Making of the Legend

From my list on the origins of King Arthur.

Who am I?

As a university historian and archaeologist my focus has been the Early Middle Ages. In the 1990s I wrote several books about the fifth and sixth centuries which barely mentioned Arthur but popular histories and films based on his story just kept coming, so I decided to look again at his story and work out how and why it developed as it did. I have published three well-received books on the subject, each of which builds on the one before, plus articles that have been invited to be included in edited volumes. I disagree with much in the five books above but collectively they reflect the debate across my lifetime. It is a great debate, I hope you enjoy it. 

Nicholas' book list on the origins of King Arthur

Nicholas J. Higham Why did Nicholas love this book?

Oliver Padel is a linguist specializing in early Welsh and Cornish and as such the ideal guide to Arthur’s presence in early Celtic literature. While acknowledging that the earliest datable instances come in the Historia Brittonum in 829-30, his view is that Arthur began as a figure of Celtic mythology and was only later converted into a pseudo-historical figure fixed in the past. In that sense, the early Arthur is the individual in the Historia Brittonum in the section called Mirabilia (Wonders), where he is used as a way of explaining landscape features and the names given to them, who has then been adapted to be a British general fighting 12 battles in chapter 56. This has strongly influenced ways of looking at the evidence in recent years and it deserves our attention.

Personally, I don’t agree with it for two reasons. First of all is the whole issue of…

By O.J. Padel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating survey of the numerous references to Arthur found in medieval Welsh literature emphasising the diverse literary genres used and the multifaceted portrayal of the character. New edition.