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 poems are included in The Herald, Scotland, Poem of the Day, edited by Lesley Duncan, and “Singer” and “Skojcan Journey” on RTÉ Lyric fm Poetry File. Her essay “The Island of Poetry” is published in 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.

“Sea Swallows”

dip low over the samphire-sea
as if, one body—
white rhythm, a cast arrow—
they glide above the drowsy tideline,
flight, a woven pattern.

Nesting in pairs, they lay eggs
in slatted grooves of the pontoon,
moored in the Liffey estuary,
brood and feed garrulous young,
dive and pick off krill,
fatten for migration.

August evenings, take-offs,
landings, test-flights, become
flung translucent veils
tuning efficiency.
Flocks mark daylight,
dark hearts primed for signals,

lift from this shore,
above the rainy earth
drawn by a force into unknown
winds, currents that spiral
wings over ocean,

winnowed by storms
by hunger and cold,
on the same wavelength
under the rising moon.

Published in Lute & Drum, Issue 12, A Quarterly of the Arts, Durham, North Carolina (web link).