Welcome to Celtic Civilisation at NUI Galway

What is Celtic Civilisation?

Celtic Civilisation is t‌he study of the legacy of the Celts in the world,  from the earliest times when we first encounter them in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, right down to the perceptions and beliefs about the Celts which prevail in modern times.

As part of this study, we examine the formation of the peoples and nations of Ireland, Northern and Western Britain and France during the early Middle Ages and consider aspects of the representations of Celts in early-modern and modern western Europe.

In short, Celtic Civilisation examines the history, archaeology, languages, literatures, mythologies and cultures of the Celts through the centuries.

Why study Celtic Civilisation?

This subject provides a comprehensive insight into the reality behind popular conceptions and misconceptions of the Celts in the ancient, medieval and modern incarnations. ‌Through the study of this subject, you will be encouraged to view Celtic literature and culture in a new light, and to appreciate the legacy of the Celts, as evidenced in the literatures, languages, beliefs, customs and archaeology of Europe.

Studying Celtic Civilisation will develop your research, analytical and communication skills, and enhance your ability to present material clearly and effectively. We offer Celtic Civilisation at undergraduate level as part of a BA (Joint Honours) degree. Visit NUI Galway's Courses Page for information on how to apply, entry requirements and assessment.

Module descriptors, lecture timetables, etc. for the current academic year are available under:

What do our students say?

Kelsey Holmes, BA (Archaeology & Celtic Civilisation)

"Studying Celtic Civilisation gives you the freedom to explore the languages, mythologies, and histories of the Celts, from battling with the Welsh warriors in The Gododdin, travelling through medieval Ireland with the Fianna and St. Patrick, and struggling alongside the medieval women of Ireland.

Other modules focus on historical aspects of the Celtic worlds, questioning the origin of the Celts, and how they are perceived today. The origins of the Celtic languages and other ancient languages, still spoken today, can also be explored.

Unique to this course is the chance to focus on the role and treatment of women within medieval Ireland, which is a ground-breaking and relevant topic for today’s society.

Personally, having a focus on medieval archaeology, the opportunity to study the medieval literature of Ireland gave my studies in Archaeology a deeper and more vibrant perspective. My experience studying Celtic Civ is one which has stayed with me through my postgraduate studies. I could not recommend it more".


Eoghan Ó Flaithbheartaigh, BA (Archaeology & Celtic Civilisation)

"Celtic Civilisation allows students to delve into the origins of the people that became known as the Celts. In addition, read for yourself the classical writings that record encounters and viewpoints that both illuminate and consternate our understanding of the ‘Celts’ in the ancient world. As the centuries pass explore the civilisation of the Celtic peoples as they encounter Christianity, Vikings and Normans amid the trials and tribulations of shifting and aggressive political powers. The exploration roams through the surviving manuscripts written in the vernacular languages of the Celtic people, with tantalising inscriptions from the continent augmenting our knowledge of the linguistic diversity of these people. The second year of the programme gives the scholar a chance to take a more detailed look at all these aspects including medieval Irish and Welsh literature and the gods and goddesses of old. If the opportunity presents itself beginners Welsh is also a highly rewarding endeavour. Final year examines the lives of women in medieval Ireland, the life and work of the court poet, and will also introduce students to the subject of comparative linguistics. If the medieval period and the rich heritage of the Celtic people fascinates you, then you will find the modules offered in Celtic Civilisation highly rewarding. Celtic Civilisation works closely with the Schools of Archaeology, History and Classics to offer lots of interesting cross-listed modules."

“I found all the modules that I studied in ‘Celtic Civ’ stimulated my academic interests enormously and allowed me to focus on areas and aspects of the past I was most interested in. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anybody.”