Celts in Ireland

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How do we know about the Celts in Ireland?

Archaeologists dig underground to find evidence of how people lived long ago. Ireland has lots of old ruins and mounds of earth which hide ancient sites. Archaeological remains like pottery, bones or tools are known as artefacts. They are found in the landscape and tell us a lot of information about people like the Celts. For example, many pins, brooches and items of jewellery have been found which show us not only how the Celts fastened their clothing but also that they were skilled at making beautiful designs on metal. Wealthy Celts wore gold bracelets as well as collars known as torcs. The léine was the long tunic worn by a Celtic nobleman. A belt called a crios was usually tied across the tunic and a woollen cloak called a brat was often worn over it.

Celtic Homes

The Celts built large earthen banks or stone walls around their farms to protect themselves and their animals. These walls were called raths or duns. The more important families had several circular banks protecting their homes and sometimes they built their homes on high ground, which were called hillforts. Some families built forts surrounded by stone walls or banks of earth on headlands looking out to sea.

The Celts loved storytelling. Before they learned to write, the Celts passed on their stories from one generation to another. The people of Celtic times also believed in a race of little people called the Tuatha De Danann. These little people were believed to live in the otherworld which was thought to be under the hills.


The Celts worshipped a number of gods. For example, the god Lug or Lugh Lamhfada was their god of skilful fighting, poetry and music. Lughnasa, which is the Irish word for August, is named after the god Lug. The Celts also had gods of the harvest and gods of the earth and land.

In their pagan religion before Christianity, the Celts also worshipped goddesses such as Danu and Anu. The goddess Anu was believed to be the goddess of prosperity and the mother of the other gods.