What is Celtic studies?
This is a question you’ll get asked a lot once you’ve chosen to study this. To most people, Celtic means druids in long, white garments. So, to help you answer this question, here is a short introduction.
If you look closely at this map of language families, you’ll discover the Celtic branch. Celtic is, after all, a language family just like Germanic (to which Dutch and English belong). The focal point of this study is studying these languages, with a focus on Welsh and Irish. In your first year, you’ll learn how to translate Old Irish and Middle Welsh. These two languages are the ancestors of modern Irish and modern Welsh. They were spoken and written down during the Middle Ages. As well as learning these languages, you’ll become acquainted with the cultures these languages belong to. You’ll be introduced to the stories, laws and government.
The most important Irish story is the Táin Bó Cuailinge, or the Cattle Raid of Cooley. In this story, you’ll meet the great Irish hero Cú Chulainn (and a cow).
The most important book in Welsh culture is the Mabinogi. It contains four stories set in medieval Wales. Each story focuses on other heroes, such as Bendigeidfran, the giant king of the Britons, and Pwyll, prince of Dyfed. The Mabinogi also contains the oldest reference to king Arthur in the story of Culhwch and Olwen.