The most recommended books on the Celts

Who picked these books? Meet our 31 experts.

31 authors created a book list connected to the Celts, and here are their favorite Celts books.
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Book cover of Legacy of Hunger

Jason Pere Author Of Calling the Reaper: First Book of Purgatory

From my list on fantasy not afraid of a bittersweet ending.

Who am I?

I currently reside in my home state of Connecticut with my darling wife and a duo of sweet cuddly dogs. I am a renaissance man having dabbled in Acting for Film and Theater, Fencing and Mixed Martial Arts, Professional Dorkary, and a bevy of other passions before coming to land on writing. Having stepped into numerous fantasy worlds over the years I have had the chance to sample many different flavors of imagination and developed a refined taste for all things dark, mystical, and tragic. 

Jason's book list on fantasy not afraid of a bittersweet ending

Jason Pere Why did Jason love this book?

Despite being a work of fantasy the level of research and authenticity has to be gravely respected. The storytelling is organic and feels effortlessly natural while still delivering a compelling mix of action and intrigue. Students of Celtic history will eat up the genuine feel that Nicholas is able to produce in her work from cover to cover.

By Christy Nicholas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the magical secrets of The Emerald Isle beckon, will she survive answering the call?

Pittsburgh, 1846. Valentia McDowell wishes she could rest. Plagued by nightmares of her grandmother’s mysterious brooch lost in Ireland, the well-off woman grows more troubled when a fire ravages her family’s business. But as she buries herself in the rebuilding efforts, she can’t shake the sense that a powerful inheritance awaits her across the ocean… if she can weather the treacherous journey.

Horrified when the voyage claims her brother’s life and afflicts her with malaria, Valentia believes her grief will be for nothing if she…


Book cover of The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales

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?

This is an incredibly useful and totally indispensable resource that provides excellent translations of well-known and lesser-known writings about the Celts from the Iron Age and the Medieval Era.

Many people don't realize that there are really bad translations of some of these materials floating around the internet, and there's no need for that. The editors and translators of this classic anthology are top-notch, and whether the accounts or texts come from Greek, Latin, Gaulish, Old Irish, or Middle Welsh sources, students and enthusiasts can rely upon them.

Because it is a sourcebook, it doesn't provide any commentary, so that's important to know upfront (and fear not: see below). As such, some of the material may not make sense to some readers - or can lead to erroneous claims and inaccurate conclusions - if one doesn't know the history of the text, the historical context, and the secondary studies that…

By John T. Koch (editor), John Carey (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new edition of an invaluable collection of literary sources, all in translation, for Celtic Europe and early Ireland and Wales. The selections are divided into three sections: the first is classical authors on the ancient celts-a huge selection including both the well-known-Herodotos, Plato, Aristotle, Livy, Diogenes Laertius, and Cicero-and the obscure-Pseudo-Scymnus, Lampridius, Vopsicus, Clement of Alexandria and Ptolemy I. The second is early Irish and Hiberno-Latin sources including early Irish dynastic poetry and numerous tales from the Ulster cycle and the third consists of Brittonic sources, mostly Welsh.


Book cover of London: The Novel

Stephen Jarvis Author Of Death and Mr. Pickwick

From my list on turning you into a novelist.

Who am I?

Loads of people want to be writers and the dream can come true! It did for me. So, I want to tell people about the books that have helped to turn me into a novelist. Initially, I wrote journalistic pieces about bizarre leisure activities for various British newspapers and magazines: I lay on a bed of nails, walked on red hot coals, met people who collect bricks as a hobby...and even lost my underpants while performing on the flying trapeze! (No kidding!) But my ultimate goal was always to become a novelist. Then, one day, I discovered the subject I just had to turn into a novel. And the result was...Death and Mr. Pickwick

Stephen's book list on turning you into a novelist

Stephen Jarvis Why did Stephen love this book?

This novel was a massive influence on me. Rutherfurd takes the city of London as his subject, and follows the life of the city through the centuries, taking in Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Normans etc…right through to modern times. I don't have quite such a huge canvas in my book, but I do follow a series of historical events in a manner which is somewhat reminiscent of Rutherfurd. Rutherfurd takes you on a wonderful journey. 

By Edward Rutherfurd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A TOUR DE FORCE . . . London tracks the history of the English capital from the days of the Celts until the present time. . . . Breathtaking.”—The Orlando Sentinel

A master of epic historical fiction, Edward Rutherford gives us a sweeping novel of London, a glorious pageant spanning two thousand years. He brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through his saga of ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of a half-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the twentieth century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of the…


Book cover of Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions

Luke Eastwood Author Of The Druid`s Primer

From my list on Druids and Druidry.

Who am I?

I have been a student of Druidry since the mid-1990s and I have also had a passion for history and mythology since I received a children’s version of “The Twelve Labours of Hercules” when I was around 7 years old. I’ve read pretty much all the major stories and texts in relation to Celtic myth and Druid lore (particularly from Ireland). I have spent the last 20 years studying the remains of Irish Druidism and how to incorporate it into modern practice is a respectful but relevant way.

Luke's book list on Druids and Druidry

Luke Eastwood Why did Luke love this book?

While this draws on many earlier works and is somewhat influenced by romantic ideas of the time (in 1894) it contains much which you would struggle to find elsewhere unless you had access to a huge academic library.

The author gives his personal opinion on the reference material to a large extent, but he is quite explicit in that regard, so even though it is very dated, the reader is well aware of what is stated as pure fact and what is his own interpretation.

An essential work for those with an interest in the Irish form of Druidism and Paganism, which offers a unique insight and perspective long before the Druid revival reached Ireland.

By James Bonwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1894. Excerpt: ... IRISH GODS. SOME writers, from a jealous regard to the reputation of their ancestors, have been unwilling to acknowledge the idolatry of ancient Erin. They reject the testimony as to images, and decline to accept the record as to heathen deities. Yet it is surely a satisfaction to know that the Highest and Unseen was worshipped at all, though under rude and material symbolism, instead of being unknown and unfelt. If…


Book cover of Pagan Celtic Britain

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?

This classic and unsurpassed study of iconography and literature pertaining to deities and various types of symbolism found in Celtic myth, I think has often been overlooked by students... as well as by enthusiasts, who inexplicably prefer trying to discern the veracities of topics related to Celtic paganism through online chat rooms, where many posts (including heated arguments and mind-boggling claims and posturing) rarely seem to culminate in any kind of helpful or accurate conclusions. And readers and seekers deserve better!

I would highly recommend that people step away from the phone, and pick up this book! So many of the questions that never seem to get answered on social media are both answered and clarified in this excellent work (which I use myself!). The chapters talk about a variety of gods and goddesses, and mythic themes (with examples from Britain, Ireland, Gaul, and the Continent) including horned gods, the…

By Anne Ross,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Pagan Celtic Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although some aspects of pre-Roman and pre-Christian beliefs remain shrouded in mystery, the author of this comprehensive, profusely illustrated volume contends that neither the Roman invasion of Britain nor the coming of Christianity eliminated pagan religious practice. Dr Anne Ross, who speaks Gaelic and Welsh, writes from wide experience of living in Celtic speaking communities where she has traced vernacular tradition. She employs archaeological and anthropological evidence, as well as folklore, to provide broad insight into the early Celtic world. She begins by examining Celtic places of worship, the shrines and sanctuaries in which sacred objects were housed and from…


Book cover of The Book of Hallowe'en: The Origin and History of Halloween

Lisa Morton Author Of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

From my list on the history of Halloween.

Who am I?

As a kid growing up in Southern California during the 1960s – what some now call “Golden Age of Trick or Treating” – I always loved Halloween, but I didn’t develop a real obsession with it until I wrote The Halloween Encyclopedia (first published in 2003). Since then, Halloween – once almost exclusively an American celebration – has achieved global popularity, and has created an entire cottage industry in haunted attractions. I remain fascinated by Halloween’s continuous expansion and evolution.

Lisa's book list on the history of Halloween

Lisa Morton Why did Lisa love this book?

Originally published in 1919, Kelley’s book is the first in-depth history of Halloween, and it remains entertaining and surprisingly accurate. The book also includes charming photographs and a brief bibliography. Although the book is scarce in its original printing, it is readily available as either a free e-book or an inexpensive print-on-demand hard copy.

By Ruth Edna Kelley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Book of Hallowe'en as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its original publication in 1919, Ruth Edna Kelley's THE BOOK OF HALLOWE'EN remains the all time classic exploration of Halloween history, from the mysterious year end rites of the ancient Celts, to the autumnal reign of Samhain, the Druid god of death, to the coming to Europe of Christianity and "All Saints Day," to the charming early 20th Century Halloween beliefs and customs of Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Germany and America. Filled with Halloween poems, games and tried and true ancient methods for divining the future (especially for discovering the identity of one's future spouse!), THE BOOK OF…


Book cover of Celtic Myths and Legends

Luke Eastwood Author Of Kerry Folk Tales

From my list on Celtic Mythology and Folkore.

Who am I?

I have been a student of Druidry since the mid-1990s and I have also had a passion for history and mythology since I received a children’s version of “The Twelve Labours of Hercules” when I was around 7 years old. I’ve read pretty much all the major stories and texts in relation to Celtic myth and Druid lore (particularly from Ireland), sometimes in multiple versions, so I think I have a fair idea of what is useful or worth reading.

Luke's book list on Celtic Mythology and Folkore

Luke Eastwood Why did Luke love this book?

This book is over 100 years old but it is still one of the best compilations of mythology about Ireland and Wales.

It gives potted versions of the stories, an excellent summary of what the myths are about, covering a vast number of them. It also has some lovely black and white illustrations.

By T.W. Rolleston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This splendidly illustrated study by the distinguished Celticist T. W. Rolleston masterfully retells the great Celtic myths and illuminates the world that spawned them. Focusing principally on Irish myths, the book first takes up the history and religion of the Celts, the myths of the Irish invasion and the early Milesian kings.
What follows is pure enchantment as you enter the timeless world of heroic tales centered around the Ulster king Conor mac Nessa and the Red Branch Order of chivalry (Ultonian cycle). These are followed by the tales of the Ossianic cycle, which center on the figure of Finn…


Book cover of Wonders of Galicia (Maravillas de Galicia)

Lisa Rose Wright Author Of Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart

From my list on Galicia Spain.

Who am I?

I have lived in beautiful green Galicia for 14 years and am passionately in love with this undiscovered area of Spain. Whilst writing my own travelogue memoirs, I have avidly researched my adopted country and love nothing more than to travel the area, discovering new delights round each corner. I have discovered that Galicia is not just ‘that wet bit of Spain’ and is in fact a whole world away from the Mediterranean costas of the south with its own language – the language of poets, its own identity, and its very own being. Here I have tried to choose books I feel demonstrate that uniqueness, that special quality which makes Galicia extraordinary.

Lisa's book list on Galicia Spain

Lisa Rose Wright Why did Lisa love this book?

If there is one book that will make you want to jump on a plane or get in your car and travel to this unique and beautiful corner of Spain, then it’s this one. A sumptuous coffee table book, Maravillas de Galicia introduces the reader to the wonders of Galicia with stunning photography by José Lourido, a Galego himself. More than simply a guide book, Maravillas is a book to be pored over and savoured again and again. 

The book is well laid out in both Spanish and English: There are chapters covering the major Galician cities as well as national parks and bio-reserves, ancient Celtic ruins and Roman monuments, stunning beaches, and picturesque villages. There are maps for each entry and a list of other must see places nearby making this book the perfect starting point to discover everything which Galicia has to offer. And if you can’t get…

Book cover of The Paradise War

Tina Zee Author Of Fires of Brigantia

From my list on romantic Celtic Britain: Druids, Romans and female warriors.

Who am I?

I love British history. I am fascinated by ancient roots; legends and myths arising from around the Roman invasion. Stories of Boudicca, Casswallen, Celtic legends, and Arthurian tales hold me in a world of imaginings and anticipation. These exciting stories have been told and retold, but Cartimandua, Warrior Queen of Brigantia is new to me. She, a Yorkshire lass like me – led the largest tribe in Britain. I have become absorbed into the iron-age lives and loves of her Brigantia. The interwoven links between known facts and fantasy intrigue me. My favourite books here encouraged my journey of discovery; the old birthing the new. The legends from Britain grow.

Tina's book list on romantic Celtic Britain: Druids, Romans and female warriors

Tina Zee Why did Tina love this book?

I devoured this book with gusto. I guess we all seek a bit of magic sometimes.

When I read this book some thirty years ago, I had hit a rough patch. I wanted to escape the harsh reality surrounding me. The pages of this Celtic story transported me to a better place. You know the feeling, when fear drives you through heavy fog into the unknown? Once through, the landscape opens to excitement and promise.

Steven Lawhead used wonderful imagery to transport me to a time when warriors and kings held the future; when myths were the reality, and ordinary people became heroes. I want to live in a place where bravery and magic link hands. This is where ‘Song Of Albion’ led me. It’s my past and my future.

By Stephen R. Lawhead,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Paradise War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wolves in Oxford; extinct beasts in Scotland: the barriers between our world and the Celtic Otherworld are breaking down. Two men are drawn into Albion, and changed for ever.


Book cover of Stone Heart

Katherine Black Author Of Leverage

From my list on dark and twisted psychological thrillers.

Who am I?

I’ve been writing for a long time and reading even longer. I enjoy intelligent books that are well written—not overwritten or over punctuated—and as we all do both of those, I mean that it’s been well edited. And I understand the struggle which is why four of my five choices are from indie authors like myself.

Katherine's book list on dark and twisted psychological thrillers

Katherine Black Why did Katherine love this book?

I loved this book. If I had to describe this novel in one word it would be intelligent. Set in Celtic Ireland in the Iron Age, the language is rich and expressive and Merrigan takes you into his world until you feel you belong there. You are drawn into a time where everything is governed by the gods. The story takes you through the training of the young warriors and druids. With the ongoing conflict over land, and with the people’s lives steeped in superstitious beliefs, we come to care that the outcome falls well with our tribe.

Fionn is born into a simple rural tribe. His life is sweet as he grows to double figures playing with his sisters in the fields. At the age of ten, he is called to serve, and the boys of fighting age are gathered from across the land, taken from their families, and…

By Peter J Merrigan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ireland, 279 BC. A nation at war. For two boys, it will be gruelling. For Ireland . . . it will be bloody.

When the first raiding skirmishes of a foreign army are crushed and Ireland mourns her dead, one king knows their newfound peace is destined to fail. As Overking of Ailigh, Keeper of the North, he calls for the boys of his Celtic tribes to train as formidable warriors under his command.

For Aed, it begins as a fantastical quest. For Ronan, it helps him escape a cruel chieftain. Together, they must train and grow in strength and…