Welcome to Celtic Civilisation at Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, University of 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 programme, we examine the formation of the peoples and nations of Ireland, Northern and Western Britain and France during the early Middle Ages and consider the various representations of Celts in western Europe from the early-modern period onwards.

In short, Celtic Civilisation examines the history, archaeology, languages, literatures, mythologies and cultures of these peoples 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 ancient, medieval, and modern incarnations. ‌By studying 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 both undenominated and denominated programmes in Arts. Visit the University of Galway's Courses Page for information on how to apply and to review the programme entry requirements.

Module descriptors, lecture timetables, etc. for the current academic year are available at the following links.

Visiting students (Erasmus+/Study Abroad) interested in participating in our programme during their time in Galway are encouraged to visit this page.

What do our students say?

Jacopo Allio, BA (Archaeology & Celtic Civilisation)

"As a native of Ticino, the only predominantly Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, I have a strong appreciation for the complex relationship between language, local customs and beliefs - but what fascinates me the most is how these characteristics shape the identity of a society and the way in which societies evolve. Studying Celtic Civilisation at this university has been very enlightening in this sense.

The modules of Celtic Civilisation give the student the opportunity to gain a great knowledge of the ‘Celts’ by exploring disparate aspects of culture and society in the Celtic-speaking world. For example, we discovered how making connections between languages and reconstructing those from which they originate offers us a fascinating insight into how Celtic societies moved and who they interacted with. We also engaged with the impressive literary traditions of medieval Ireland and Wales, discussing, among other aspects, why poetry was so important that one single poem could end the reign of a king.

The Celtic Civilization programme has a wide range of modules on offer and is therefore diverse enough to cater for a great variety of interests. But most importantly, this diversity allowed me to draw on a vast range of evidence to develop and enhance my analytical skills. I can now undertake linguistic, literary, toponymic, historical, and archaeological analysis and I can compare and contrast the techniques involved to develop more accurate and insightful conclusions about former and present societies. These skills are relevant in my current Master’s in Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London (UCL). I am confident that they will also be valuable to future employers when I begin a career in Heritage, which is principally concerned with critically evaluating legacies of the past."