John Connell: Twelve Sheep

Time and date

Thursday 18 July 2024

11:30 am


Future Forests

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Twelve Sheep is a hymn to the rituals of farming life from John Connell, the bestselling Irish author of The Cow Book. For John, 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.

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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.’


‘Sheep, and sheep farming, are far more interesting than you think.’ Tim Flannery


‘A beautiful and soothing book, at once far-reaching and intimate, it serves as a sublime exhortation to stop and savour our precious and fleeting time on earth, to be grateful for the life we’re given.’ Donal Ryan



John Connell

John Connell is a multi-award-winning author, film producer, investigative journalist and farmer. His documentary programs have won over a dozen international awards. His number-one bestselling memoir The Cow Book was...

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