James Bonwick,
Irish Druids & Old Irish Religions
(1894; Barnes & Noble, 1986)

Irish Druids & Old Irish Religions was originally published in 1894; the foreword is dated 1 January 1894. The author was 77 at that time and was producing this book from the studies he had made and the people he had encountered over a period of many years.

Be warned that the printing in this new Barnes & Noble edition is in an aggravating font that is hard on the eyes. But if you have an interest in Ireland, be sure to get this book and read it thoroughly. You will be glad you bought it.

Bonwick explains that he does not intend to offer concrete analysis of the topic. Instead, he provides information from a wide variety of sources on ancient Irish religions, explains any controversies related to the topics, and includes diverse opinions or points of view from a range of other people, laymen to experts. He hoped that his "examinations of old myths and folklore" would help people to understand the "current notions of nationalities."

The book is divided into two primary parts: Irish Druids and Early Religions of the Irish. The first section contains 13 chapters ranging in scope from "Who Were the Druids?" to "German Druidism" and "Neo-Druidism." (It is enlightening to note that in 1894 there was a "neo" movement, just as there has been a neo movement in the late 1990s.) Early Religions of the Irish has 21 chapters that include "Irish Superstitions," "Irish Magic and the Tuatha De Danaans," "Idol Worship," "Serpent Faith," "Holy Bells" and "Ossian the Bard."

Bonwick has included many passages from Irish literature that will keep the reader fascinated. These excerpts will make you want to read the complete work and stimulate your curiosity to the maximum level. No matter what genre you prefer, there is something for everyone in this book: suspense, mystery, fairy tales, romance, fighting, horror and so forth.

This is a thick book packed with solidly referenced information. It can be used as a reference or simply enjoyed during an afternoon of pleasure reading. Bonwick's lively writing style keeps you fully engaged and moving forward to the next page. It is very difficult to put this book down.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 9 August 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.