The Celtic Collection


Since the Library was established it has been one of our duties to collect extensively in the fields of the other Celtic Languages besides Welsh, and the history and culture of the Ancient Celts. (See the Welsh Collection page for further information regarding this collection). Through our status as a Legal Deposit Library we receive any relevant publication from the UK and Ireland and in addition we purchase and receive as donations a large number of foreign publications in order to add to the scope of our holdings.

Until the mid eighties of the last century we also bought extensively in the area of the history of the other modern Celtic countries. Though we continue to receive any publication from the UK or Ireland in this area under the Legal Deposit Act, the huge growth in publishing the history of Ireland and Scotland especially, means that we do not necessarily buy a copy of every work that has not reached us by other means. Please find below the main areas of the collection.

The main areas of the collection

The modern Celtic Languages and their literatures and any works in any languages which discuss them

As well as Welsh there are 5 other Celtic languages: Irish, Gaelic, Manx, Cornish and Breton. Our aim is to ensure that there is a copy of every publication in these languages, be they books or monographs, in our collection. The collection also includes any works which discuss the languages or texts in these languages, in whatever languages they are published.

The languages, history, culture, archaeology and religion of the Ancient Celts across Europe

There are a number of different viewpoints regarding who exactly the Celts were and what can be said with any certainty about them. Generally it is believed that they appear at around 800 B.C. in Central Western Europe and that the Iron Age Hallstatt and later La Tène archaeological remains are linked to them.

By the Roman period the Celts had spread to a number of areas to the east and west, including the British Isles of course. Though the relationship between the linguistic remains which are to be found in inscriptions, personal and place-names, the written evidence of Classical authors and the archaeological remains, is not always clear, the aim of this part of the collection is to bring together any publications on these very issues. We are of course just as eager to include publications in the collection which cast doubt on some of the ideas above. The large geographical area of this field means that many of the publications are in German, French, Spanish and Italian – as well as various other European languages.

Brittany and Cornwall

Since its beginning the Library has tried to ensure a comprehensive collection on Brittany and its people. We have already mentioned above the importance of the Breton Language and its literature to the collection but it also includes French literature from Brittany as well as other works in French and other languages dealing with any aspect of Brittany and the Bretons. Some Breton writers have left their personal papers for the Library to take care of. One of the most important of these archives are the papers of the author Roparz Hemon.

Our status as a Legal Deposit Library ensures that we have a comprehensive collection of publications on Cornwall and its people. Where necessary this collection is added to through other acquisition methods.

Arthurian literature and any works which deal with this literature

Though the original stories regarding King Arthur arose in ‘the Island of Britain’ they spread across Europe and developed into a multi-faceted and multi-lingual body of literature. We aim at a comprehensive collection which includes original texts and any works discussing the subject. Once again this means that the collection is in many different languages.