BILL: Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature

What is BILL | Scope | Contents and their classification | How to search the bibiliography | Contact

What is BILL

The on-line bibliography here offered is a specialist reference tool for scholars and students of Irish language and literature. It comprises references to scholarly works published from 1972 onwards. It is, therefore, the continuation of the bibliographies compiled by Richard Irvine Best (1872–1959) and Rolf Baumgarten (1936–2012), which together cover everything printed from the earliest times to 1971.


Works listed relate to Irish philology understood in the broadest sense of the term. All linguistic disciplines are considered, from phonetics and phonology to computational linguistics, and so are also all periods of the history of the language, from Proto-Irish to the modern day dialects, with the inclusion of Scottish Gaelic and Manx. The literature comprises all that has come down to us in all genres from the earliest times down to the late-nineteenth-century Gaelic Revival, extant almost exclusively in manuscript form. Gaelic literature from Scotland is also included here, although the upper limit is fixed by the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Contemporary Irish language literature is considered beyond the scope of this bibliography.

Contents and their classification

BILL is an ongoing project and is being regularly maintained and updated. At present it contains citations to over 6000 articles from more than 400 different periodical titles, and to over 800 monographs and miscellanies from which around 2000 book sections or chapters have been listed separately.

References are culled from publications from around the world and no restriction of language has been imposed on their choice; where these are in a language other than Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, German, French, Italian or Spanish, a translation of their title is given. Only published research is accepted: unpublished theses, handouts or manuscripts have been left out.

Note that miscellany-type (or varia) articles, when these are clearly made up of individual parts, have been divided and recorded as briefer pieces. Conversely, when an article is published as a series in several volumes of a periodical title, their details are given under a single entry.

The bibliographical information for books is always based on their first edition. Subsequent editions involving major alterations or the inclusion of new material, as well as translations, are noted; simple reprints generally are not.

Where a book or a periodical volume has been reviewed, this is duly noted in the bibliography.

All material is classified according to author, format of publication, and subject, and it is possible to browse through the contents of the bibliography under each of these headings. In addition, there are also provided alphabetical indexes to names of authors and titles of works, first lines of poems, manuscript sources, and words and proper nouns linguistically discussed.

How to search the bibliography

To start searching, select any of the items in the box in the top left-hand corner of the bibliography home page, i.e. :


A full list of headings will then be displayed in the bottom left-hand box. Select any of these to obtain a list of bibliography entries where that particular term occurs.

The database software used for BILL makes extensive use of hierarchical tree structures, which are seen in the way some information topics branch out to more specific terms by clicking on the plus sign (+) where this is displayed: for example, a periodical title opens to the volumes contained in it, while the name of a manuscript repository opens to the manuscripts stored in it.

It is possible also to navigate through the database by clicking on the highlighted hyperlinks in the text, which connect identical query terms in the database entries: for example, selecting the highlighted title of a text in a bibliography entry will bring the focus to it in the list of the bottom left-hand box; if the focused item is selected, the full list of relevant entries in the bibliography will be displayed in the main box.

The results to every query can be consulted in portable document format (PDF), which can be saved to a local computer. Alternatively, any information on the bibliography screen can be selected, copied and pasted to an open word processing document.

A search tool enabling the reader to use keyword-based queries is currently in preparation.


We would be grateful to receive comments, corrections, or additions to this bibliography. Please send any such information to this email address:

Alexandre Guilarte
January 2014