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fieldwork or research to be found in them – but at the same it’s important to remember that they also often contain outdated ideas of ‘primitives’ and ‘noble savages’, Aryan theory and so on, along with often self-conscious assurances to the reader that of course all this is silly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:


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


By Author



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




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



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



Scottish History and Archaeology


Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness



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



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



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 ^



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





Archiv fur Celtische Lexicographie






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



By Author


Osborn Bergin


Eleanor Hull


Kuno Meyer


Whitley Stokes