Antiquarian Books

This is a list of antiquarian books which are now public domain and freely available online. Some of them are seminal works of their time, while others might not be as well known but can be useful for research nonetheless.

Many of these books are over a century old, or very nearly, and so it’s safe to say that while they might be freely available and easily accessible, they’re also probably not the most reliable works compared to academic research methods today. There are some useful things in these books – whether it’s because of their historical value, or because there is some genuinely useful fieldwork or research to be found in them – but at the same it’s important to remember that they also often contain outdated ideas of ‘primitives’ and ‘noble savages’, Aryan theory and so on, along with often self-conscious assurances to the reader that of course all this is silly superstition and they wouldn’t possible suggest that there’s anything to all this… they’re just passing it on in the interests of anthropology.

No matter what you’re reading – old or modern – discernment and some reading around is always required, but it’s perhaps a good idea to take anything here with a pinch of salt unless it’s something that is being directly reported (as folklore), and/or is being presented with reliable citations.

At the bottom of the list are some early volumes of journals and links to searches of some of the most prolific and useful authors of their day. The books marked with a ♦ are what can be considered to be seminal works for one reason or another – significantly forwarding the field of Celtic Studies in one way or another, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they stand the test of time, or are still useful over all. For the ones that I would highly recommend as well, see The Big Book List.

Quick jump:

General

Scottish Legend and Literature

Scottish Folklore and Practices

Scottish Archaeology and History

Irish Myth and Legend

Irish Folklore and Practices

Irish Archaeology and History

Isle of Man

Journals

By Author

General

 

Celtic Religion in pre-Christian Times – Edward Anwyl

 

Gaelic names of plants (Scottish and Irish) Collected and arranged in scientific order, with notes on their etymology, their uses, plant superstitions, etc., among the Celts, with copious Gaelic, English and scientific indices – John Cameron

The Golden Bough – James Frazer

Survivals of Belief Among the Celts – George Henderson

 

Celtic Mythology and Religion – Alexander MacBain

The Religion of the Ancient Celts – J A MacCulloch

The Hibbert Lectures: Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by Celtic Heathendom – Sir John Rhys

Celtic Myths and Legends – T W Rolleston

Celtic Myth and Legend – Charles Squire

 

A critical history of the Celtic religion and learning: containing an account of the Druids … with the history of Abaris, the Hyperborian, priest of the sun; to which is added, an abstract of the life of the author – John Toland

 

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Scottish Legend and Literature

 

The White Wife, and Other Stories – Edward Bradley

 

Popular Tales of the West Highlands – J F Campbell

 

Elves and Heroes – Donald A MacKenzie

Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend – Donald Alexander MacKenzie

 

Scottish Nursery Songs, and Other Poems – William Miller

 

Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border – Walter Scott

 

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Scottish Folklore and Practices

Scottish Charms and Amulets – Geo F Black

 

County Folklore Volume Three: Orkney and Shetland Islands – G F Black

 

Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning the Orkney and Shetland Islands – George Fraser Black

 

Boswell’s Life of Johnson – James Boswell

Carmina Gadelica: Volume 1 – Alexander Carmichael

Carmina Gadelica: Volume 2 – Alexander Carmichael

Carmina Gadelica: Volume 3 – Alexander Carmichael

 

Gaelic Names of Beast (Mammalia), Fishes, Insects, Reptiles, Etc – Alexander Robert Forbes

 

Observations on a Tour Through the Scottish Highlands – T Garnett

 

Essays on the Superstitions of the Highlanders of Scotland – Anne Grant

Notes on the Folklore of North-East Scotland – Walter Gregor

 

Travels in Scotland, by an Unusual Route, with a Trip to the Orkneys and Hebrides – James Hall

 

A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland – Samuel Johnson

Highland Superstitions – Alexander MacGregor

 

The Misty Isle of Sky: Its Scenery, Its People, Its Story – J A MacCulloch

Gaelic Incantations, Charms and Blessings of the Hebrides – William MacKenzie

Evil Eye in the Western Isles – R Maclagan

Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs – James M McInlay (review)

A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland – Martin Martin

 

Description of the Western Isles of Scotland: Called Hybrides – Donald Monro

Folk Lore or Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland Within This Century – James Napier (review)

A Tour of Scotland – Thomas Pennant

 

Easter Ross – A Polson

 

Gairloch – A Polson

 

Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character – E B Ramsay

 

County Folklore Volume Seven: Fife with some notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-shire – John Ewart Simpkin

 

Shetland Folklore – John Spence

 

Lectures on the mountains; or, The Highlands and Highlanders as they were and as they are – William Grant Stewart

 

Domestic Folk-lore – Thomas Thiselton-Dyer

 

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Scottish History and Archaeology

 

Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness

 

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Irish Myth, Legend and Literature

 

Miscellany Preseneted to Kuno Meyer – Osborn Bergin and Carl Marstrander

Auraicept na n-Éces: The Scholars Primer – George Calder (Ed)

The Ancient Irish Goddess of War – W M Hennessy

 

Lebor Gabála Érenn Part I – R A Stewart Macalister

 

Lebor Gabála Érenn Part III – R A Stewart Macalister

 

Lebor Gabála Érenn Part IV – R A Stewart Macalister

 

Lebor Gabála Érenn Part V – R A Stewart Macalister

 

Hail Brigit: An Old Irish Poem on the Hill of Alenn – Kuno Meyer

 

Selections from Early Irish Poetry – Kuno Meyer

 

The Instructions of Cormac Mac Airt – Kuno Meyer

 

Fianaigecht – Kuno Meyer

 

The Triads of Ireland – Kuno Meyer

 

The Death Tales of Ulster Heroes – Kuno Meyer

 

Leabhar na-Ceart – John O’Donovan

Acallamh na Senorach – Standish O’Grady

 

The Silva Gadelica – Standish O’Grady

 

Thesaurus Paleohibernicus – Whitley Stokes

 

Thesaurus Paleohubernicus Volume II – Whitley Stokes

 

The Evernew Tongue – Whitley Stokes (in Ériu II)

 

Three Irish Glossaries: Cormac’s Glossary Codex A, O’Davoren’s Glossary and a Glossary to the Calendar of Oingus the Culdee with a Preface and Index – Whitley Stokes

 

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Irish Folklore and Practices

 

Ulster Folklore – Elizabeth Andrews

 

Peasant Lore from Gaelic Ireland – Daniel Deeney

 

Visions and Beliefs in Western Ireland – Lady Gregory

 

Glimpses of My Life in Aran – B N Hedderman

 

The Religious Songs of Connacht – Douglas Hyde

 

Beside the Fire: A Collection of Irish Gaelic Folk Stories – Douglas Hyde

 

On the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish: A Series of Lectures – Eugene O’ Curry and William Kirby Sullivan

Irish Superstitions – Sir William Wilde

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries – W Y Evans Wentz

 

A Folklore Survey of County Clare – Thomas Johnson Westropp

 

Traces of the Elder Faith in Ireland, Volume One – William Wood-Martin

 

Traces of the Elder Faith in Ireland, Volume Two – William Wood-Martin

 

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Irish History and Archaeology

 

Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 1

 

Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 3

 

Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 4

 

Anicent Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 5

 

Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland Volume 6

 

A Critical Examination of Dr MacCulloch’s Work on the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland – James Brown, John MacCulloch

 

Pagan Ireland – Eleanor Hull

 

A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland – P W Joyce

 

The History of Ireland – Geoffrey Keating

 

Phases of Irish History – Eoin Mac Neill ^

 

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Isle of Man

 

The Isle of Man: Its history, physical and ecclesiastical – J G Cumming

A Second Manx Scrapbook – W Walter Gill

 

Mona Miscellany: A selection of proverbs, sayings, ballads, customs, superstitions and legends, peculiar to the Isle of Man – William Harrison

 

William Cashen’s Manx Folklore – Edited by Stephen Miller (pdf)

The Folklore of the Isle of Man – A W Moore

Manx Ballads and Music – A W Moore

 

An abstract of the laws, customs, and ordinances of the Isle of Man – John Parr

Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx: Sir John Rhys

 

Manx Notes and Queries – C Roeder

 

Historical and Statistical Account of the Isle of Man – Joseph Train

 

A description of the Isle of Man : with useful and entertaining reflections on the laws, customs and manners of the inhabitants – George Waldron

 

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Journals

 

Archiv fur Celtische Lexicographie

 

Ériu

 

Folklore

 

Irische Texte

 

Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society

 

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy

 

Revue Celtique

 

The Celtic Review

 

Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Dublin

 

Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness

 

Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie

 

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By Author

 

Osborn Bergin

 

Eleanor Hull

 

Kuno Meyer

 

Whitley Stokes

 

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