In this lively and absorbing account of the world of Celtic myth and the role it has played in the development of western culture, Ward Rutherford explores one of the jewels of European cultural heritage. In so doing he demonstrates how deeply Celtic mythology has become embedded in Western consciousness. With a new introduction from John Matthews - historian, folklorist, best selling author of Pirates and winner of the Benjamin Franklin award for The Winter Solstice, this book provides a highly literary and engaging insight into: The world of the Celts, including an historical overview from their emergence as an identifiable people around 1000 B.C. Also included is an explanation of their social structure. The contents of Celtic myths and the differences and similarities between their manifestation in Britain and Ireland. The geography of the supernatural world of Celtic myth, including discussion of Druids, Shamanism, and the occult meaning of Celtic myths. The influence of Celtic myth in English literature from Arthurian legend to the Grail legends.