Catherine Phil MacCarthy

Catherine Phil MacCarthy is a native of Crecora, Co Limerick and has lived in Sandymount, Dublin since 1987. She has published four collections of poetry, and a novel, and is a free-lance tutor in Poetry and Creative Writing. Her poems explore from several angles the idea of ‘threshold’ or ‘the liminal’, the state of being in transition from one moment to the next.

Recent work is included in Poetry Ireland Review, Issue 123, edited by Eavan Boland and New Hibernia Review, Fómhar/Autumn 2016, edited by James S. Rogers.


The Invisible Threshold

The Invisible Threshold


Suntrap (2007)

The Blue Globe

the blue globe (1998)

How High The Moon

How High The Moon

One Room An Everywhere

One Room An Everywhere (2003)

This Hour of the Tide

This Hour of the Tide

For more details on these publications, click the cover thumbnails.

“The Chamber”

One ear to chimney-breast, on bended knee, better to hear
trapped wing-beats, he prized ajar the black ornate
cast hood. Then, slid his arm inside the flue.
As though one gloved limb were deeply sunk
in hind-quarters of a cow, to guide the head in utero.
Though here, no calf in hairy smear or bloody stink
was sensed. First, soot sprinkled rolled up sleeve
of shirt; his thumb and fingers gripped wiry claws
and held. Down, gently, drew his haul into the room.
Disheveled. Stained. Feathery mass weighed his hands.
He cupped the ample beating heart and walked.
The bird was fond of warmth, or slightly stunned.
For seconds brooded. Then, lifted wings and hopped
onto the window ledge. And flew. A freed white dove.

(The Chamber is published in The Irish Times and also on the Poethead blog.)