Twelve Sheep - John Connell

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Life lessons from a lambing season

For John Connell, the lambing season on his County Longford farm begins in the autumn.  In the sheep shed, he surveys the dozen females in his care and contemplates the work ahead as the season slowly turns to winter, then spring.

The twelve sheep have come into his life at just the right moment.  After years of hard work, John felt a deep tiredness creeping up on him, a sadness that he couldn't shrug off.  Having always sought spiritual guidance, he comes to realise that, in addition to the soothing words of literature and philosophy, perhaps the way ahead involves this simple flock of sheep.

In the hard work of livestock rearing, in the long nights in the shed helping the sheep to lamb, he can reflect on what life truly means.  Like the flock that he shepherds, this book is both simple and profound, a meditation on the rituals of farming life and a primer on the lessons that nature can teach us. 

As spring returns and the sheep and their lambs are released into the fields, skipping with joy, John recalls the words of Henry David Thoreau, reminding us to 'live in each season as it passes.'


A small gem, full of quiet wisdom and gorgeous descriptions of the wonder of nature, the redemption it holds, and how the landscape is charged with meaning...It's been a long time since I read such a positive book - Independent

Connell has written a wise book, suffused with honesty and authenticity. - Irish Independent

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