Eileen Casey

Berries for Singing Birds

ISBN: 9781851322176

’To look on is enough/In the business of love’ says Patrick Kavanagh and Eileen Casey’s gaze is deeply loving and clear eyed. She gives us glimpses of her life and the lives of her family and community framed with reverence for the natural world. It is suburban Dublin: the kitchens, the backyards, the front gardens, the shopping centre, the Luas, the municipal parklands, hammered out in powerful epiphanies. For all that the work is suffused with birdsong and wing spans and feathered ecstasy – the airy wonder of finch, mistle thrush, blackbird, pigeon, plover, robin, crow – the poems are rooted deep in the daily struggle for human survival. Her birds are both real and emblematic, fit carriers of this poet’s desire to celebrate and transcend. A community builder herself, no history of the literary life of Tallaght would be complete without Eileen Casey’s enormous contribution to the writing lives of others. But here, in this collection, we have her own precious lyric worked out in poems both angelic and earthbound.

– Paula Meehan


Within this armful of poems, from ’Workhouse’ through to the ’Lilly Pilly Tree Song’, images conjured by her words express a subject matter that is laden with pain. Eileen Casey’s poetry is so evocative. Readers meet orphan girls, following the promise of home, travelling to the ends of the earth. Descendants, decades later, are testament that some of these lasses lived lives filled with abundance while others fared less well in the newly-colonised land of Australia.

– Dr Christina Henri (Hon Artist-in-Residence, Cascades
Female Factory Historic Site, South Hobart, Tasmania)