editCeltic Studies is the academic discipline occupied with the study of any sort of cultural output relating to a Celtic people. This ranges from archaeology to history, the focus lying on the study of the various Celtic languages, living and extinct. The primary areas of focus are the six Celtic languages which still survive, or have only recently become extinct: Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Cornish and on the continent, Breton. Many consider the Celtic languages to be the least studied surviving branch of the Indo-European language family. The field has at this time barely been surveyed; this is due to the small number of trained experts. Thus it is possible for relatively inexperienced scholars to make a significant contribution.
The population of the island is slightly over 6 million (2007), with 4.4 million in the Republic of Ireland (1.7 million in Greater Dublin) and an estimated 1.75 million in Northern Ireland (800,000 in Greater Belfast). This is a significant increase from a modern historical low in the 1960s, but still much lower than the peak population of over 8 million in the early 19th century, prior to the Great Famine.