Patricia Lynch

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Patricia Lynch (c. 1894–1972)[1] was an Irish author of children's literature and journalist. She was the author of some 48 novels and 200 short stories. She is best known for blending Irish rural life and fantasy as in The Turf-Cutter's Donkey.


Patricia Lynch was born in Cork, Ireland. She received her education at schools in Ireland, England, Scotland and Belgium. She became a journalist and in 1916 was sent to Dublin by Sylvia Pankhurst to report on the Easter Rising for The Workers' Dreadnought. Although a committed Irish nationalist, she retained a London accent to the end of her life.[2]

Lynch married socialist historian R. M. Fox in Dublin on 31 October 1922 and they settled in Glasnevin. She died in Monkstown, County Dublin on 1 September 1972 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with her husband. Her semi-autobiographical A Story-Teller's Childhood was published in 1947.[2]

Her work

Patricia Lynch is best known for The Turf-Cutter's Donkey, first published in 1934. This story concerns Seamus and Eileen, an enchanted teapot and the little grey donkey, Long Ears. The children meet a leprechaun, a golden eagle, the Salmon of Knowledge and Finn on their adventure. A few sequels followed.

Another series of hers is the Brogeen series, a fantasy children's book series. In this series, Brogeen is the name of the main character in the book, a leprechaun who keeps running away from his home. It has been read on radio and released as a puppet theatre series on Irish TV.[3]

The Bookshop on the Quay is her best-known non-fantasy book. It tells the story of Shane from the country who learns the trade of bookselling at The Four Masters Bookshop in Dublin. The book was read on Jackanory.[4]

Lynch's literature, always morally simple, remains praised for its otherworldly depictions of life in the west of Ireland. Her protagonists often encounter characters from Irish folklore, and speak a Gaelicised English reminiscent of Lady Gregory's Kiltartan.

Marcus Crouch in The Nesbit Tradition[5] describes Lynch's work as "the richest and most heart-warming of family stories." He particularly mentions the fantasy The Grey Goose of Kilnevin and the "homely adventure" Fiddler's Quest.

Her works had many different illustrators, including the renowned artists John Butler Yeats (The Turf-Cutter's Donkey) and Sean Keating (The Grey Goose of Kilnevin).


  • The Green Dragon (1925)
  • Cobbler's Apprentice (1930)
  • The Turf-cutter's Donkey: An Irish Story of Mystery and Adventure (1934)
    • The Donkey Goes Visiting: The Story of an Island Holiday (1935)
    • The Turf-Cutter's Donkey Kicks Up His Heels (1939)
    • Long Ears (1943)
  • King of the Tinkers (1938)
  • The Grey Goose of Kilnevin (1939)
  • Fiddler's Quest (1941)
  • Strangers at the Fair (1945)
  • Lisheen at the Valley Farm (1945)
  • Brogeen of the Stepping Stones (1947)
    • Brogeen Follows the Magic Tune (1952)
    • Brogeen and the Green Shoes (1953)
    • Brogeen and the Bronze Lizard (1954)
    • Brogeen and the Princess of Sheen (1955)
    • Brogeen and the Lost Castle (1956)
    • Brogeen and the Black Enchanter (1958)
    • The Stone House at Kilgobbin: a Brogeen Story (1959)
    • Brogeen and the Little Wind (1962)
    • Brogeen and the Red Fez (1963)
    • The Lost Fisherman of Carrigmor: a Brogeen Story (1960)
    • Guests at the Beech Tree: a Brogeen story (1964)
  • The Mad O'Haras (1948)
  • The Dark Sailor of Youghal (1951)
  • The Boy at the Swinging Lantern (1952)
  • Grania of Castle O'Hara (1952)
  • Delia Daly of Galloping Green (1953)
  • Orla of Burren: The Story of a Sea-Captain's Daughter (1954)
  • Tinker Boy (1955)
  • The Bookshop on the Quay (1956) (alt. title Shane Comes to Dublin)
  • Cobbler's Luck (1957)
  • Fiona Leaps the Bonfire (1957)
  • The Old Black Sea Chest: A Story of Bantry Bay (1958)
  • Jinny the Changeling (1959)
  • The Runaways (1959)
  • Sally from Cork (1960)
  • The Longest Way Round (1961)
  • Ryan's Fort (1961)
  • The Golden Caddy (1962)
  • The House at Lough Neagh (1963)
  • Holiday at Rosquin (1964)
  • Mona of the Isle (1965)
  • Back of Beyond (1966)
  • The Kerry Caravan (1967)


  • Knights of God: Stories of the Irish Saints (1945)
  • Strangers at the Fair and Other Stories (1945)
  • The Seventh Pig and Other Irish Fairy Tales (1950)
  • Tales of Irish Enchantment (1952)
  • The Twisted Key and Other Stories (1964)


  • A Storyteller's Childhood (1947)


  1. Maria Luddy, "Lynch , Patricia Nora (c. 1894–1972)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ((Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 14 November 2015, pay-walled
  2. 2.0 2.1 Young, Phil. Patricia Lynch, Storyteller Dublin: Liberties press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-9545335-9-5
  3. cf. Eugene Lambert
  4. Patricia Lynch at the Internet Movie Database
  5. Marcus Crouch, The Nesbit Tradition: The Children's Novel 1945-1970 (1972) pp. 182-84.

External links