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Irish Literature and Language (Irish Studies)


Irish Language

A multi-page research guide to Irish literature resources in the Boston College libraries

Online Resources

Print Dictionaries

De Bhaldraithe, Tomás. Innéacs Nua-Ghaeilge don Dictionary of the Irish Language. Baile Átha Cliath: Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann, 1981. (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1291.D492x 1981) A guide to new spellings of Irish words.  The dictionary does not provide definitions or foreign language equivalents of Irish words.

Dictionary of the Irish Language: Based Mainly on Old and Middle Irish Materials. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1983. (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1291.D48x 1983; Burns Library: PB1291.D49 1990 REF) Very small print which requires the use of a magnifying device.  Consolidated into a single volume.

Dinneen, Patrick S. Foclóir Gaeilge agus Béarla. Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1996 (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1291 .D5 1996) This Irish-English dictionary was originally published in 1927 and presents traditional orthography.  It includes a pronunciation guide. The Irish words are in the old script, and the words are gleaned from literary sources.

Gearrfhoclóir Gaeilge-Béarla
Baile Átha Cliath: Roinn Oideachais, c1981 (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1291.G4 1981) An abridged version of Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla.

Ó Dónaill, Niall. Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla. Baile Átha Cliath: Oifig an tSoláthair, [c1977] (O'Neill Library: Ref PB1291.O5x; O'Neill Library: PB1291.O5x) The Irish vocabulary in this Irish-English dictionary is based on the living speech of the Gaeltacht. The dictionary is not an exhaustive compilation of all Irish words; rather, it is a list of those that have common equivalents in English.


Biographical resources pertaining to Irish language authors include:

Breathnach, Diarmuid. Beathaisnéis: 1882-1982. Baile Átha Cliath: An Clóchomhar, 1986- (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1317.B327x 1986) Includes biographies of Irish-language writers from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. Entries are in Irish.

Cleeve, Brian. Dictionary of Irish Writers. Cork: Mercier Press, 1967-1971. (O'Neill Library: Reference PR8706. C55; Burns Library: PR8727.C5 IRISH) A three-volume set. The third volume of this set covers Irish-language writers. The subjects "must be Irish by birth or culture" and popularly or critically successful.

Ó Cearnaigh, Seán. Scríbhneoirí na Gaeilge, 1945-1995. Baile Átha Cliath: Comhar Teoranta, 1995. (O'Neill Library: Reference PB1325 .O14 1995) Begins with a lengthy essay on writing in Irish between 1945 and 1995, followed by biographies of authors. Essay and entries are in Irish.

Uí Nia, Gearóidín. Eolaire Chló Iar-Chonnachta de Scríbhneoirí Gaeilge: Who's Who in Irish-language Writing. Indreabhán, Conamara: Cló Iar-Chonnachta, c1998. (O'Neill Library: PB1325 .U48 1998) A directory, in Irish, of Irish language literary authors, with contact information and very brief outlines of literary careers. The entries contain little or no biographical information.

Find Irish Language Articles

The following indexes and bibliographies index Irish language content:

MLA International Bibliography  Produced by the Modern Language Association, this database contains bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Inclusion of Irish language periodicals began in 1967.

Hayes, Richard J. Clár Litridheacht na Nua-Ghaedhilge 1850-1936. Baile Átha Cliath: Oifig Dhíolta Foillseacháin Rialtais, 1938-40 (O'Neill Library: Reference Z2037 .H2; Burns Library: Z2037.H2 IRISH) Indexes books in Irish; Irish-language poetry and song in periodicals; and Irish language prose material in periodicals.

National Library of Ireland. Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature. Dublin: HMSO, 1913 (O'Neill Library: PB1213 .N275x 1913; Burns Library: Z2037 .D81 REF) Divided into two broad categories: Irish philology and Irish literature.  "Mr. Richard Irvine Best ... has had entire charge of the production of this bibliography."--Preface.

Best, R.I. Bibliography of Irish Philology and Manuscript Literature: Publications 1913-1941. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1942 (Burns Library: Z2037 .D82 REF; O'Neill Library Reference: PB1213 .B377x 1969) Divided into two broad categories: Irish Philology and Literature.

Baumgarten, Rolf. Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature, 1942-71. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1986 (O'Neill Library: PB1213.Z99 B38 1986; Burns Library: PB1213.Z99 B38 1986 REF) This bibliography indexes words & proper names, first lines of verse, sources, and authors.

Year's Work in Modern Language Studies (O'Neill Library: Reference Index Area, PB1 .Y45 (current 5 years); earlier years in O'Neill stacks) Includes descriptive essays on bibliographical sources, especially linguistics. Coverage of Celtic studies began in 1974, and includes Welsh, Breton & Cornish, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic studies. Full-text online is available from 1930 through 1994 through Periodicals Archive Online. 

Historical Surveys of Literature in Irish

De Blacam, Aodh. Gaelic Literature Surveyed. Dublin: Talbot Press, 1973. (O'Neill Library: PB1306.D44 1973; Burns Library: PB1306.D42 1973 IRISH) This is a description of Irish Gaelic literature, and a guide to its schools and movements.

Mac Giolla Chriost, Diarmait. The Irish Language in Ireland: from Gíodel to Globalisation. London: Routledge, 2005. (O'Neill Library: PB1214 .M33 2005). Focuses on the Irish language in contemporary society.

Ó Breasláin, Diarmuid. A Short History of the Irish Language. Béal Feirste: Glor na nGael Bhéal Feirste Thiar, 1995. (O'Neill Library: PB1216.O27x 1995) This history of Irish Gaelic is divided chronologically, from the origins of the language to the role and place of Irish in the Northern Ireland and Irish Republic of the late-twentieth century.

Ó Cuiv, Brian, ed. A View of the Irish Language. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1969. (O'Neill Library: PB2002.V5; Burns Library: PB2002.V5 IRISH) This book examines the linguistic setting of Irish and the changes the language has undergone in the past 1500 years.  It considers the Irish literary and oral traditions, and the relationship of the Irish language to the Irish nation-state.

O'Leary, Philip. The Prose Literature of the Gaelic Revival, 1881- 1921. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994. (O'Neill Library: PB1336 .O43 1994) Examines the genesis and politicization of the late-nineteenth century Gaelic Literary Revival, which he dates from the 1881 publication of An Gaodhal to the 1916 Easter Rising.