Just in time for Halloween, the Radio 4 program In Our Time--a round-table discussion program that focuses on topics of history or the history of an idea--spent the September 20th program on a subject dear to my heart: DRUIDS.
Melvin Bragg's guests were Barry Cunliff, Miranda Aldhouse-Green, and Justin Champion. Cunliff, and Aldhouse-Green are well-respected archaeologists, the latter also known for her popular histories on the subject of the Celts, and Champion is a historian of early modern Britain, when the druids reemerged in the public consciousness.
The program itself sticks to an overview of the druids largely in the context of Greco-Roman records due, obviously, to the lack of contemporary records by the Celts themselves--though they did touch on the lingering of druid beliefs and myths in the bardic traditions of Ireland and Wales, a subject I wished they'd have gone into further. And unfortunately they really didn't speak much to the existence of druids in Ireland potentially into the seventh century; the program was largely focused on druids in Britain.
There was no sensationalism in the subject matter; lurid stories of bloody human sacrifices were treated as what they likely were-fairly rare, but also not abnormal (with the note that the Romans themselves only outlawed the practice in the 90s BCE).
Over all, it was a good, fluff-free introduction to the druids. The format itself is, by its nature, a bit dry (which In Our Time can often be), but the subject matter makes up for that.