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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

What's on This Page

This page has a lot on it. You can use the following anchors (links down the page) to jump straight to a relevant box.


    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.

    Burns Box


    In our very own special collections library (Burns), you'll find a selection of material on your topic. Consider visiting the library and seeing history in your hands. To do so, you should start by searching for material through BC Libraries' catalog and then ordering it (if you haven't registered, you'll be prompted). For a guide on the process, check out the "Finding Burns Material" page.  You might also check out the following recommendations: 

    Burns Library has other Irish language manuscripts available for use in the reading room, including works of Irish poets or authors who write in both English and Irish. 

    To locate these materials, try an advanced search in the library database where language=Irish and Material Type= Archives and Manuscripts

    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.