Katherine Tynan Hinkson

Portrait Katharine Tynan Hinkson
1820 Round Tower. Clondalkin, South Dublin
1836 Map of Dublin
Port Tunnel, Whitehall, Dublin
Map Mayo, Ireland
Borough of Merton London 2011 by Nilfanion
Grave Katharine Tynan Hinkson Plot No. 2543NE. Kensal Green London
Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Novelist / Poet / Journalist / Nationalist

This prolific writer’s career spanned most of the later ninteenth Century with continuation into the first quarter of the twentieth Century.

Katharine Tynan was born on 23rd January 1861 at Whitehall, Dublin: the family later moved to Clondalkin South Dublin.  She was daughter of Andrew Cullen Tynan & Mother Elizabeth Reilly Tynan.  She had eleven siblings.  She was educated for six years at the Dominican Convent of St. Catherine of Sienna up to age fourteen.  Katharine suffered severe eye ulcers as a young child that were somewhat a trial in later years, but she did not let it hinder her trojan workload! [i]

This site details her eye troubles also her lifestyle etc.  She adored her elder sister Mary but unfortunately Mary passed away during Katharine’s illness.  She also stated that: ‘My father was the big beneficent fairy godfather of my very little days.  My Mother was a large, placid, fair woman, who became an invalid at an early age & influenced my life scarcely at all.’[ii]


Several of her early friendships included Dora Sigerson, Frances Wynne, Christina Rossetti, Sarah Atkinson, Francis Ledwidge etc.  During 1886 she befriended Gerard Manley Hopkins.  In June 1885 she met W. B. Yeats.  She declined his proposal of marriage. [iii]


She was one of the first members of The Ladies Land League with Anna Parnell etc.  She acted as her Father’s companion whom she followed in his support of Parnell following the Split. [iv]

She had known & supported Parnell also John Redmond in their efforts for Ireland.  (Ed Mulhall RTE News & Current Affairs, Advisor to Century Ireland, an online Magazine ) [v]

She was an active member of the Irish Catholic Women’s Suffrage Society (ICWSS). [vi]

Her opposition to ninteenth Century British imperialistic policies was a feature of her life’s work. [vii]

Katharine Tynan Hinkson’s works were dominated by the combined influences of Irish Patriotism also her Roman Catholic faith.  She developed an abiding interest in Celtic Mythology. [viii]


She married Henry Albert Hinkson, a Barrister & Novelist during 1893.  They moved to London during 1893.  Later they made their homes at various locations.  They had three children: Theobald Henry Hinkson, Giles Aymler Hinkson, Pamela Mary Hinkson.  (Pamela a Journalist became a famous writer; her brothers were Military men ) Son Toby married Moira Pilkington the great – great – great – granddaughter of Henry Grattan plus niece of Sir Thomas Esmonde. [ix]

Katharine had a still born baby during May 1894 also lost a baby Godfrey in 1895. [x]


Her husband Henry was appointed a Magistrate to Mayo during 1911 (dates differ on various websites.)  That was a new experience for Katharine who was dismayed at the harsh climate plus the isolation of the West.  During the time spent at Claremorris she produced a large volume of work: ten novels, two volumes of memories, three volumes of poetry, two schoolbooks, several articles, reviews plus short stories. [xi]

World War

Katharine Tynan Hinkson tackled several social issues within her articles.  They included the treatment metered out to shop girls, unmarried mothers, infanticide, capital punishment plus the education of the poor.  WW1 was an emotional matter for her, something that engaged her daily as both her sons were involved in Military Service.  For the wars duration she corresponded daily to soldiers also their families. [xii]  Following her husband’s demise during 1919 along with her daughter Pamela they left Mayo.  They depended on her work for financial survival.  She travelled extensively as a Journalist also throughout Ireland, England also Europe.  She sold Yeats’s letter during 1920 to John Quinn for £100. [xiii]


She was a major writer of Irish Literary Renaissance.  She produced more than a hundred novels of social protest plus poetry collections, twelve collections of romantic short stories, (best known was ‘The House in the Forest’) also three plays.  Her first book ‘Louise de la Vallière & Other Poems’ was produced during 1885.  It was financed by her father: it became an immediate success that resulted in the printing of a second edition.  During 1887 she published ‘Shamrocks’.  She contributed to ‘Irish Authors & Poets’  to the ‘Irish Fireside’  in 1887 pages 8 / 9, 24 / 25She revisited ‘The Cabinet of Irish Literature’ which had been originally compiled by Charles Read (four vols 1987 also four vols 1902 – 3 ) to which she eliminated some non – literary writings from his selection plus penned a predominantly Women’s volume.  She contributed poems to ‘Studies’  from 1913 – 22.  During 1915 she produced a second volume of poems in support of Redmond’s Volunteers in WW1, notably the ‘Flowers of Youth’  to the ‘Irish Review’  prior to ‘The Holy War’  during 1916She composed poetry that celebrated in crusade – style the capture of Jerusalem by British Forces in which her sons served alongside Francis Ledwidge.  Her ‘Collected Poems’  were printed during 1930.  Katharine Tynan Hinkson compiled five volumes of Autographical material that included  ‘TwentyFive Year; Reminiscences’  1913 Smith Elder London, ‘The Middle Years’ 1916 Constable London, ‘The Years of Shadow’ 1919 Constable, London, ‘The Wandering Years’ 1922 Constable London also ‘Memories’  1924 Everleigh Nash, London. [xiv]

During 1890 Katharine Tynan was commission by the Loreto Order to write the life of Mother Xavier Fallon; a member of that community. [xv]  She kept a diary of events, that eventually contributed to her two books; ‘Years of the Shadow’  & ‘The Wandering Years.’  (Ed Mulhall RTE News & Current Affairs, Advisor to Century Ireland, an online Magazine ) [xvi]  Her prose work ‘My Diaries 1888-1914’  were mentioned in Letters to ‘Dear Sir’ 1892 from University of Virginia on 27th September 1893. (record id; 57620815 ) [xvii]  Katherine Tynan was considered unique among writers for her personal concern for women, the youth & poor from ‘Profile of Francis Thompson’  which was published in ‘The Fortnightly Review’. [xviii]

Katharine Tynan’s ‘Flowers of Youth’ (a reference to the soldiers in WW1) was extraordinarily popular.  Copies were sold to aid the Red Cross.  A thousand were distributed to bereaved mothers in the South of England plus the Bishop of London used it several times in sermons.  ‘Any Woman’ is a quiet beautiful poem with empathic tendencies.  An analysis of the poem may be read at this link. [xix]  Katherine’s literary output included vast regular articles for newspapers or magazines in Ireland, England also the U.S. [xx]

‘Any Woman

I am the pillars of the house;
The keystone of the arch am I.
Take me away, and roof and wall
Would fall to ruin me utterly.

I am the fire upon the hearth,
I am the light of the good sun,
I am the heat that warms the earth,
Which else were colder than a stone.

At me the children warm their hands;
I am their light of love alive.
Without me cold the hearthstone stands,
Nor could the precious children thrive.

I am the twist that holds together
The children in its sacred ring,
Their knot of love, from whose close tether

No lost child goes a-wandering.

I am the house from floor to roof,
I deck the walls, the board I spread;
I spin the curtains, warp and woof,
And shake the down to be their bed.

I am their wall against all danger,
Their door against the wind and snow,
Thou Whom a woman laid in a manger,
Take me not till the children grow!  [xxi]

She described her own writing as ‘I am not especially proud of this facility of mine.  It has produced a good deal of honest work, with of course, a good deal of necessary pot – boiling, and it has made some few people happy besides myself.’

She said that ‘I shall die young though many my years are – for I was born under a kind star.’ [xxii]


Katharine Tynan Hinkson;’s demise occurred when she was aged seventy – two on 2nd April 1931 at Wimbledon Borough of Merton, Greater London.

She is interred at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery known also as Kensal Green, London.  Plot No. 2543NE.  Memorial 17152400.  She is buried next to her friend Alice Maynell. (Steve Tynan )  [xxiii]


W. B. Yeats praised her ‘on the grounds that in finding her nationality, she also found herself.’ He said she was ‘too full of English influences to be quiet Irish’  in his review of ‘Ballads & Lyrics.’  A bespectacled portrait of her in oil by John Butler Yeats during 1887 is held in the Municipal Gallery, Dublin.[xxiv]  Yeats also stated that ‘She was happiest when she puts emotions that have the innocence of childhood into symbols & metaphors from the green world about her.  She has…a devout tenderness like that of St. Francis for weak instinctive things.’[xxv]

Her ‘Wind that Shakes the Barley’  was adapted for a film of that name on the Anglo – Irish War during 2006 directed by Ken Loach with Cillian Murphy in the leading role. [xxvi]

George Russell penned a foreword to her ‘Collected Poems’ during 1930: he described her as ‘The earliest singer in that awakening of our imagination which had been spoken of as the Irish Renaissance.’[xxvii]

Russell stated that ‘she has something which is rather rarer among poets than most people imagine, a natural gift for song….What is common to Katharine Tynan’s lyrics out of whatever mood she writes is shapeliness which in their architecture.’  A.E. declared that her writing of several subjects of happiness ie; ‘Religion, friendship & children…beauty in gardens, flowers, in sky & clouds …on normal humanity & its affection.’  According to Marilyn Geddes Rose ‘She could not in fact see far, & she restricts her spiritual vision analogously.’ [xxviii]

Katharine Tynan Hinkson is mentioned in Thom’s Irish ‘Who’s Who’ 1923 Dublin Page 111. [xxix]

The University of Manchester Library includes archival documents related to Katharine, Pamela also Henry Hinkson that include transcripts of several correspondences, her diaries plus first poetry notebook.  Reference GB 133 KTH. [xxx]

Katharine Tynan Hinkson papers 1885 – 1929 are contained within the Special Collections Centre in the Southern Illinois Carbonate. I.D. 1 / 4 / MS055. [xxxi]

Her works are archived at the U. K. National Archives, the Open Library, Libri Vox, Project Gutenberg.  Katherine Tynan’s ‘Profile of Francis Thompson’  was published in ‘The Fortnightly Review.[xxxii]

Maire O’ Neill presented an article on K. T. H. on 10th December 1986 that was printed in ‘The Dublin Historical Record’, Vol 40 No 3 pages 82 – 93. [xxxiii]

Her letters to Miss Gossett 1913 – 14 are held within the Special Collection at the University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, U.S.  Identification No.  Mss099, F376. [xxxiv]

She is mentioned in the following works: Ward Margaret 1981 ‘The Ladies Land League in Irish History’  Workshop Vol 1  pages 27 – 35, ‘ 1977 The Irish Renaissance: An Introduction to Anglo – Irish ‘  Gill & Macmillen Dublin 1965  ‘Daughters of Erin: Five Women of the Irish Renascence’  Secker & Warburg, London, ‘W. B. Yeats letters to Katharine Tynan’ 1953 edited by Roger Mc Hugh  Clonmore & Reynolds.  She is mentioned in Braybrook Patrick ‘Some Catholic Novelists: their Art & Outlook’  1931  Oates & Washbourne London. Geddes Rose Marylyn 1981 ‘Katharine Tynan’  Bucknell University Press. Also Fallon Ann 1979 ‘Katharine Tynan’  Connerton Twayne Publishers Boston M. A.[xxxv]

John William Cousins mentions Katharine Tynan in Dent J. M. 1910 ‘A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature’  London. [xxxvi]


Her Biography appears on this site: https://www.poemhunter.com/katharine-tynan/

A Blogpost dedicated to Marcella & Keith Flanagan who are Katharine’s relatives may be perused at the following link. [xxxvii]

She is discussed on this site as an Irish Writer: https://openlibrary.org/authors/OL115188A/Katharine_Tynan

An interesting article is available at this link: https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/ba74757f-9fbb-372d-ac62-7226e55a95f6)

Her Poetry may be assessed at these sites: Katharine Tynan Hinkson Poetry http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/Tynan.html


https://www.poetrynook.com/poem/old-love-7 /


An obituary notice may be viewed at this link (paid site):



[i]Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[ii] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[iii] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Katharine Tynan Hinkson (https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/the-great-day-katharine-tynan-the-mothers-war) [assessed 12th 2020]

[vi] Biography – Katharine Tynan (http://www.theheroinecollective.com/katharine-tynan/ ) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[vii] Tynan Katherine (https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6qc049t) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[viii] Katharine Tynan (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Katharine-Tynan) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[ix] Katharine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[x] Papers of K.T & P.T. (https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/ba74757f-9fbb-372d-ac62-7226e55a95f6) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xi] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xii] K. T. H. (https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/the-great-day-katharine-tynan-the-mothers-war) [assessed 12th 2020]

[xiii] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931 ) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xvi] Katharine Tynan Hinkson (https://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/the-great-day-katharine-tynan-the-mothers-war) [assessed 12th 2020]

[xvii] Tynan Katherine (https://snaccooperative.org/ark:/99166/w6qc049t) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xviii] Katharine Tynan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Tynan) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xix] Katharine Tynan (https://www.iluenglish.com/any-woman-by-katharine-tynan-summary-and-analysis/) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xx] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931 ) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxi] Katharine Tynan Hinkson Poetry (http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/Tynan.html) [assessed 11th 2020]

[xxii] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxiii] Katharine Tynan Hinkson (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/17152400/katharine-hinkson) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxiv] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxv] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxvi] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxvii] Biography – Katharine Tynan (http://www.theheroinecollective.com/katharine-tynan/ ) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxviii] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxix] Katherine Tynan (http://ricorso.net/rx/az-data/authors/t/Tynan_K/life.htm) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxx] Papers of K.T & P.T. (https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/search/archives/ba74757f-9fbb-372d-ac62-7226e55a95f6) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxxi] K. T.  H, Papers (https://archives.lib.siu.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=465&q=) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxxii] Katharine Tynan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Tynan) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxxiii] Katharine Tynan Hinkson (https://www.jstor.org/stable/30079331?seq=1) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxxiv] U D Library (http://www.lib.udel.edu/search/) [assessed 12th May 2020]

[xxxv] Tynan Katharine (https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tynan-katharine-1861-1931) [assessed 11th May 2020]

[xxxvi] Katharine Tynan Hinkson Poetry (http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/Tynan.html) [assessed 11th 2020]

[xxxvii] Celebrating Irish Women Authors (https://pamlecky.com/2016/04/11/celebrating-irish-women-authors-katharine-tynan-hickson/) [assessed 11th May 2020].


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