By Philip McDonagh

The Song the Oriole Sang

Second collection by Irish poet/diplomat, currently ambassador to Austria


Philosophically and geographically wide-ranging (as one might expect of a diplomat poet), this second collection by Philip McDonagh features poems inspired by his experiences in places as far afield as India and Finland, at the same time as it sees him find an earth and anchor for those experiences in the realm of family, about which he writes with great tenderness. An insightful guide through political complexities, McDonagh is also very much the lyric poet, remaining open to the unexpected moment of wonder.

“The governing tonality of this collection is restrained, distanced, the ‘voice’ has composed itself judiciously before utterance, and yet the undercurrents of affection, ironic frustration, and constant grief are unmistakable. .. I’m astounded that this important work — in print since 2003 — hasn’t received the kind of attention it richly deserves. Like Neruda, that other shy diplomat, it’s time for Philip McDonagh, already in his fifties, to be acclaimed.”
— James J McAuley, Poetry Ireland Review

ISBN 9781906614300 Paperback
140 x 216 mm, 110 pp
May 2010

Additional information

Weight .15 kg
Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781906614300
  • Size: : 216 x 140 mm
  • Pages: : 110 pp
  • Published: : May 2010

About The Author


PHILIP McDONAGH was born in Dublin in 1952. He attended schools in Dublin and Copenhagen, and university at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was elected President of the Oxford Union. Philip McDonagh’s poetry collections are Carraroe in Saxony (Dedalus Press, 2003), Memories of an Ionian Diplomat (Ravi Dayal, 2004), The Song the Oriole Sang (Dedalus 2010) and Песня, которую пела иволга (Rudomino, 2011 – translations into Russian by four Russian poets, including new material). Philip McDonagh has published two works for the theatre, Gondla, or the Salvation of the Wolves (Arlen House, 2016 - an adaptation of Nikolay Gumilev’s Gondla) and Crime and Punishment (Arlen House, 2017 – an adaptation of the novel). In 2020, with three co-authors, Philip McDonagh published On the Significance of Religion for Global Diplomacy (Routledge, 2020). Philip’s poems and articles continue to appear regularly in newspapers and periodicals. Philip McDonagh is Adjunct Professor at Dublin City University and Director of the Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations. Concurrently, he is Distinguished Global Fellow at the Centre of Theological Inquiry in Princeton. In the Department of Foreign Affairs, as Political Counsellor in London, Philip McDonagh played a part in the Northern Ireland peace process in the build-up to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement. He later served as Head of Mission in India, the Holy See, Finland, Russia, and the OSCE. As a serving diplomat, and since retiring in 2017, Philip has been closely involved in bringing lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process to other situations, including Jammu and Kashmir, Sri Lanka, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the situation on the Korean peninsula.