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Cáit O'Neill McCullagh

Turning Sunwise Final Image March 2022.jpg

Turning Sunwise was first published by Poets Republic in In War & Peace, Poets Respond  (March 2022)

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Songs I sing   Front Cover.jpg
Songs i sing Back cover.jpg

Copies of The songs I sing are sisters,  Cáit’s chapbook composed collaboratively with Sligo poet Sinéad  McClure are available here.

You can find selections of Cáit's writing in these places:

Essays, poems and reviews.

Cáit is a regular contributor to Bella Caledonia  - click for links to her contributions.

Poems published on line:

Poems in Northwords Now

       Four poems (on page 6)




The Banyan Review   (including a video of Cáit reading her poem ‘Icarus’ Sister’)

Poems in Drawn to the Light

       Islands  (on page 17)

       Drowning in Sorghum  (on page 22)


Poems in Spilling Cocoa over Martin Amis:

     Jack Kerouac’s Orange (An Origin Myth)

    Cop O the North

    A Last Will for your Detriment

Poems in Lothlorien Poetry Journal

    Five poems  Kin, Migrant, Strata, Before the

    rain (Petrichor), Litanies

    Hope is being born: A Solstice Nativity

Crow of Minerva


    Two poems   Tethered,   Whale: A Planet Dream

Visual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words


Poet's Republic  In War and Peace

     Turning Sunwise is on this page

The Blue Note in Not The Time to Be Silent: Collected works

The Mother Tree in Ink Sweat and Tears


Hear Cáit read selections of her poems in the following two episodes of the Eat The Storms podcast (listen on your preferred podcast platform – e.g. Spotify, Podbean, etc.).

Season 5 Episode 14

Eat the Storms celebrates The Storms Journal

Watch Cáit and her chapbook collaborator, Sinéad McClure, read poems from and speak about ‘The songs I sing are sisters’ as part of the Collaborating Voices Live Poetry New Books Showcase.

Cáit reads poem What 2022 wanted us to hear for the Federation of Writers (Scotland) 22 for 22 virtual anthology.

Cáit O'Neill McCullagh’s background includes her work as an ethnologist, archaeologist, and curator. At home on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth, she researches and writes about co-curating historic and contemporary collections of objects and archives, and co-producing new writing, and short films with people living throughout the Highlands and Northern Isles who are continuing and renewing traditional knowledges and practices for assembling sustainable, and sustaining, futures.

Both through placing her palms to whole communities’ pasts while excavating prehistoric settlements and funerary sites from Caithness to Moray, and Cromarty to Sleat, and in her work towards conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, Cáit has practiced an education in attention for how people, through time, have lived and given meaning to their most profound, and often everyday experiences, including displacement, belonging, relationships, and loss.

Cáit’s academic writing has been published in diverse books and peer reviewed journals.  She also writes for print and online journalism, including opinion editorials and cultural reviews for Bella Caledonia.  An essayist, her writing on politics and cultural life has been published in Bella Caledonia: An Anthology of Writing from 2007-2021.  Described as ‘an anthology of some of the best of Bella’s published work since the launch way back in 2007’, this publication also includes writing from Caithness Makar George Gunn, cultural commentator Alan Bisset, Scotland’s Makar, Kathleen Jamie, and novelist Irvine Welsh. Her essay on George MacKay Brown in Beyond the Swelkie, a collection of contemporary poems and writing published to celebrate the poet’s centenary year, has been described as a ’fascinating positioning of GMB in microcosm and macrocosm’, reconsidering this Orcadian skald / bard as an important voice for meeting the challenges of the present Anthropocene.

Cáit began writing her own poetry in December 2020. Since then her poems have been  published in print and online including in Northwords Now, The Poets  Republic, Poetry Scotland, The Banyan Review, Drawn to the Light PressVisual Verse: An Anthology of Art and Words, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin  Amis, and Lothlorien Poetry Journal. She has also had poems commissioned  for North Antrim’s Pub Poetry Network’s ‘This is the World’ exhibition and Crowvus’ Scottish Book Week ‘Poetry in the High Street ‘ exhibition,  both in 2021.

A joint winner of the Boyne Berries Poetry Day Ireland Instapoem  competition 2021, in 2022 Cáit had two poems longlisted for Galway’s  Cúirt International Festival of Literature ‘Poems for Patience’  competition and was also longlisted for the Scottish Poetry Library’s  ‘Roddy Lumsden Memorial Mentorship Programme’.  In March 2022, Cáit and her friend and ‘sister poet’, Sinéad  McClure of Sligo, Ireland, were announced as winners of Dreich’s ‘Classic Chapbook Competition’ 2022, for their collaboratively composed small collection The songs I sing are sisters. This book, a first chapbook publication for both authors, has been described as having a power to uplift which ‘lies in the sheer honesty and clarity of the poetry’ (John Glenday), and as being ‘enshrined in a kind of hard beauty that unites kin, father, mother, mother earth and the many facets of life, death, hope’ (Terry McDonagh). Copies of The songs … are available here.

Cáit’s poetry has also appeared in anthologies, including Dreich’s The Edge of All Storms and Not the time to be silent: Collected works. Her work has also been chosen for inclusion in the inaugural issues of some exciting new print journals including the Irish publications Howl and The Storms.  She has also enjoyed being a featured and invited reader in poetry podcasts, including Eat The Storms. Recently she has  embarked on some new collaborations, including with ceramic artist Rachel Ho and musician Anita Mackenzie Mills. Each is responding to a poem included in ‘The songs I sing are sisters’, and all three are exploring creating together a multi-media installation, and associated programme of talks and workshops. Most recently, Cáit has started tutoring poetry writing classes in person and online, including for Timespan. She is also completing a new pamphlet and preparing and composing work for a full collection to be published by Drunk Muse Press in 2024, and continues to survive cancer, following diagnosis in Spring 2022.

A Co-Director of The Wee Gaitherin, dedicated to promoting contemporary poetry in Scotland through an annual festival in Stonehaven, and a newly elected Trustee of Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre, Cáit is committed to nurturing the development of fellow writers and to ensuring the democracy of the written and spoken word for all. Still with much to learn, she continues to become a poet.

Cáit can be found on Twitter at @kittyjmac


Contributions to published volumes



Cáit has contributed an essay on George Mackay Brown to Beyond the Swelkie


Cáit is the co-author of  Chapter 4, The construction of belonging and Otherness in Heritage events in Heritage and Festivals in Europe: Performing Identities published in April 2021 by Routledge.


Cáit’s essay responding to the publication of the Mother and Baby Homes Report in Ireland in 2021 is included in  Bella Caledonia: An Anthology of Writing from 2007-2021 (published in February 2022)

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