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Patricia Lynch (1898–1972) was a prolific author, who wrote over 40 books, and many short stories. Born in Cork, she would tell stories to her classmates during sewing lessons at her Convent school, many based on her surroundings after she ran out of books to read them. Patricia’s education became rather more international when the family left Ireland and went to Egypt where her father had interests, and then, after her father’s death, wandered Europe. Although she felt these experiences broadened her outlook, she said:
'... I often felt very lonely and driven in on myself when I was left at a new, strange school. I would dream about Ireland and think of its people, its hills and valleys. These dreams would centre on Cork and I would try to recapture all the stories I had ever heard in Ireland. Perhaps that is one reason why all my books are rooted in Irish life and character.'
Her Turf Cutter’s Donkey series, about Seamus and Eileen and their donkey, and were 'a blend of ordinary life and ... fantasy.' She preferred for her children not to experience unreal worldly adventure, and steered them clear of encounters with gangs of robbers, which she felt were outside the experience of virtually every child. They did meet temptation though, and villains 'because there are plenty of temptations and villains to be met with in life and we must all-children and grown-ups-be on our guard against them,' she wrote.
Finding the books
The Turf Cutter’s Donkey tends to be expensive in hardback: paperbacks, particularly the more recent printings, are more reasonably priced. The Turf Cutter’s Donkey Goes Visiting, even in paperback, is very expensive. The Turf Cutter’s Donkey Kicks Up His Heels is also very expensive. First editions of Long Ears are expensive, the hardback reprints can be reasonably priced, and the paperbacks are reasonably priced, but certainly not pennies!
Links, sources and further reading
Patricia Lynch talks about her work.
A snippet on Project Muse.
Eugene Lambert recalling Patrica Lynch
Patricia Lynch: A Story Teller’s Childhood (J M Dent, 1947)
Phil Young: Patricia Lynch, Storyteller (Liberties Press, 2005)
Marcus Crouch, The Nesbit Tradition: The Children's Novel 1945-1970 (1972) pp. 182-84
I have pitifully few! If you can help supply any photographs, I would be deeply grateful.
Bibliography: pony books only
The Turf-cutter's Donkey: An Irish Story of Mystery and Adventure
J M Dent & Sons, London, 1934, illus Jack B Yeats, 245 pp.
EP Dutton, New York, 1935, 245 pp.
Dent Pennant, London, 1962, 237 pp.
Dent Dolphin, London, 1976, 237 pp.
White Lion Publishers, 1977, 237 pp.
Knight, pb, 1968 and 1971, 254 pp.
Portloaise, 1984, 210 pp.
Poolbeg, Dublin, 1988, 242 pp.
The Turf Cutter’s Donkey Goes Visiting: The Story of an Island Holiday, J M Dent & Sons, London, 1935, illus George Altdendorf, 229 pp.
Dent Pennant, London, 1965
Knight, pb, 1972, illus Richard Kennedy. 222 pp.
The Turf-Cutter's Donkey Kicks Up His Heels, EP Dutton & Co, New York, 1939, illus Winifred Bromhall
Browne & Nolan, Dublin, 1946, 208 pp. Illus Eileen Coghlan
J M Dent & Sons, London, 1951
Long Ears, the Story of a Little Grey Donkey, J M Dent & Sons, London, 1943, illus Joan Kiddell-Monroe, 250 pp.
As Long Ears: Penguin Books, 1954, illus Sheila Hawkins, 232 pp.
Dent, London, 1963. 250pp.
Strangers at the Fair, Browne & Nolan, Dublin, 1945, illus Eileen Coghlan, 159 pp.
Penguin Books, 1949, pb