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Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
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Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  467 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In this widely acclaimed study, Alwyn and Brinley Ress reinterpret Celtic tradition in the light of advances made in the comparative study of religion, mythology and anthropology. Part One considers the distinguishing features of the various Cycle of tales and the personages who figure most prominently in them. Part Two reveals the cosmological framework within which the a ...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published May 1st 1989 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1961)
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Aug 17, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I read this book at 14 and it quite literally changed my life.

In later years I came back to the book for its scholarly analysis. At 14, though, what it did was introduce me to a world of stories that never showed up in my schoolbooks. On the one hand, Gulliver's Travels; on the other hand, the Voyage of Brendan. On the one hand, excerpts from the matter of Arthur; on the other hand, the Mabinogion. That interest in the literature grew into a desire to learn about the culture, which in turn grew
I read this probably not long after it was re-issued in 1989. I remember it as giving a deep insight into the pagan Celtic life and mind-set, relying heavily on the limited amount of Celtic literature that remains to us and within that most heavily on the Irish works as having been least Romanised/Christianised but also delving into historical and archaeological findings.

I have no idea how the scholarship stands up to current scrutiny.
Oct 31, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it
This is a good book but not a light book. Alwyn and Brinley Rees analyse and classify the ancient myths and tales of Ireland and Wales. They compare the myths to those of India and sometimes to Aztec myths. I like the fact that they speak of the Druids in their relationship to myth and story, but they do not pretend that they know their religion, as some writers do.
Oct 11, 2008 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ceredwyn, Schaunette, Karen A.
Not only do you get most of the important mythological cycles of the Celts, you get to have them put into context with Celtic society. As a starter book, for someone with lots of Celtic knowledge looking for a way to combine it, or for someone who wants to read just one, all round, great book on Celtic myth and life, it's perfect.
Dec 06, 2009 Mallory rated it liked it
Way too deep for me at times, it still offered some interesting thoughts on the Celtic mythology and how it relates to other world mythologies. The connections made between Celtic and Indian mythology I found particularly intriguing. Definitely more a book for the scholar than the moderately interested reader.
Mar 02, 2016 Tiamat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: celtic-myths
I've read it in Russian and was captivated by it. It's not strictly a connected narrative, like many other Russian retellings (we do have gorgeous editions of Cetlic myths), but it's an extensive overall review of all Irish mythological cycles. This is a desk book for any lover of Celtic myths, that's for sure.
Feb 18, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: celtic-studies
We read this book as part of an Ancient Celtic Studies Discussion Group that I run in real life. It took a long time to get through, but it was well worth the effort. The book is chalk-full of information about the Iron-Age Celts, what little there is. Rees and Rees did a great job of analyzing the information they did have and making conclusions based upon the scholarship of the time.
Randy Pitcher
Feb 02, 2010 Randy Pitcher rated it liked it
Shelves: celtic
This was our first book of the Celtic Book Discussion group I belong to. It took us almost a year to get through it. It is chock full of information and I learned a great deal from the book. However, it was/is a very dry read.
Apr 19, 2009 Maya rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to get an introduction to Welsh and Irish Mythology
Recommended to Maya by: CR List
Feb 18, 2013 Karin rated it it was ok
Rather more like a textbook ,lots of research matrial for the student of celtic lore.I expected just stories and the book is a bit over my head.
Awesome book with folklore, prayers, and history.
❄Elsa Frost❄
Unfinished (on page 31). Will continue reading soon.
Smallest Tiger
Jul 30, 2014 Smallest Tiger rated it really liked it
Shelves: woo, mythology, nonfiction
Pretty good, and very readable! It draws heavily on parallels with Hindu mythology, and I would like to see some discussion of the arguments for and against that as well.
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 Mark Woodland rated it really liked it
Fine if you want a light, general glossing-over of the topic. Otherwise, lacks depth as well as a good bibliography.
Flip Wibbly
May 01, 2008 Flip Wibbly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hardcore lovers of Celtic Mythology/Folklore
Extremely well written and packed with information, but also very dense. Definitely NOT light reading. Still if you're into this sort of thing (and I am) it's a great read.
May 27, 2014 Steven added it
Anyone interested in our Celtic Heritage should read this as it's both scolarly and easy to read. A very full account. Highly recommended
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