Renegotiating The Given, Catalogue essay by Declan McGonagle, in From The Poetic To The Political : Irish Art Now, published by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, 1998

Greetings involves two video monitors with archetypal images of the Irish landscape, into which, every now and then, the head of the artist intrudes at the bottom of each monitor screen. As a young Irish woman at the end of the twentieth century, McCarthy is saying that she has no purchase on this landscape of meaning, which is part of a deeply implanted and widely projected sense of Ireland as a site of nature (God-given) rather than culture (man-made).

This reading of the Irish landscape that McCarthy finds impossible to enter is a product of disempowering colonial projections of Irish reality, which McCarthy and her generation simply do not accept. In Greetings she represents it as a problematic, a process that has be negotiated and cannot be accepted as a given. The title of her piece refers directly to the period in the past when heavily idealized postcard images of Ireland were bought in their millions b tourists and sent to family and friends “back home”. This contributed to a powerful and lasting projection of an innocent and nostalgic Ireland that also defined the country’s sense of self over a long period. This Ireland was offered up to outsiders and it is this automatic association of the land and ruralism with a claim on the truth of Irish national identity that McCarthy recognizes as being problematic in her piece…