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Sheep and Lambs, and Katherine Tynan

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All in the April evening,
April airs were abroad;
The sheep with their little lambs
Passed me by on the road

The sheep with their little lambs
Passed me by on the road;
All in the April evening
I thought on the Lamb of God

The lambs were weary, and crying
With a weak, human cry
I thought on the Lamb of God
Going meekly to die

Up in blue, blue mountains
Dewey pastures are sweet;
Rest for the little bodies,
Rest for the little feet

But for the Lamb of God
Up on a hilltop green,
Only a cross of shame,
Two stark crosses between

All in the April evening,
April airs were abroad;
I saw the sheep with their lambs,
And thought on the Lamb of God.

The above poem, “Sheep and Lambs” was set to music by Sir Hugh Robertson, as “All in the April Evening”, and is sung by choirs all over the world at Easter time.

katherine tynan

Katherine Tynan, born in Ranelagh in 1861, spent her girlhood at Whitehall, between Clondalkin and Tallaght. In spite of having poor eyesight, she was an avid reader and writer, having her first book of poems “Louise de la Valliere”, published at the age of seventeen. This brought her into contact with a circle of other writers and notables of the day including W.B. Yeats, Charles Stewart Parnell, Michael Davitt etc.

She married in London in 1893, but returned to Ireland when her husband was appointed Resident Magistrate for Mayo. He died in 1919 leaving her with three children and little money. She moved to the Continent and later London, in search of a cheaper living.

Katherine produced over a hundred novels, and much poetry. She campaigned for humane conditions for shop girls and unmarried mothers, and also against capital punishment. She worked for votes for women, and in 1914 attended the World Congress of Women in Rome, packing a multitude into her seventy years, before her death in 1931.

Lucan’s Memorial
Many old Lucanians will remember the water trough beside the Ball Alley Pub in Lucan. This was dedicated to the memory of the poet, who was renowned for her kindness to animals, and was situated at this spot so that the horses, asses etc, might enjoy a drink, having pulled their load up the hill from Lucan. In May 1969, this landmark was removed by developers

“The Aerodrome” was written by Katherine Tynan, bemoaning the loss of some of her father’s fields, when Baldonnell was being constructed.
That was ‘development’ of those days!

T’was well he did not stay to know
defaced and all defiled,
the quiet fields of long ago,
dear to him as a child.

But when the tale was told to me
I felt such piercing pain,
They tore my heart up with the tree
That will not leaf again!

(Ref: South County Scrap Book by Mary McNally).
Mary Mulhall