The Firsts. The Lasts.



(written days before I must leave…Lucky Laura is joined by the Intrepid Pam Goode for the month of June!)


It’s a great privilege when you can stay parked in a place long enough to feel it’s rhythms.  And after 30 days in Ireland, I can say,  lovely Listowel has a beat you can dance to.

With time, routines can happen.  Within days of being here, our language shifts from phrases like, “the first time we ever…,” to “we always…”  As in recalling “the first time we met the unofficial ambassador of all things Listowel, Damien Stack…”  To, “I always holler at Damien when I see him outside his shop…I love the joke he tells about the man and the wife….”


From the very first time we saw Olive Stack as we stumbled into town a month ago….to now, fast friends, day tripping around Kerry, joking and planning our next adventure….

From our first distant glimpse of Mary O Flaherty in her bright pink coat to now, smiling at her quick wit as soon as we catch the glint in her eye! Salivating because she “always” has a pastry  for us in tow.


IMG_8373From the immediate care Phil (greatest barmaid in all of Ireland), took of us on our first night in John B’s. To now scheduling our Art Opening (“Capturing Kerry”) around the bar’s Six to Nine Club meeting. (Six to 9 are the hours members meet at John B. Keane’s.  Really, isn’t that everything you need in a club name?)

We started out brushing up on the colorful stories of this town, finding the plaque which honors  Kathy Buckley , cook for THREE  U.S. presidents. We’ve delighted in the work of  artist, Pat McAuliffe designer of the distinctive, colorful plaster storefronts. We discovered the legacy of writer John B. Keane and his wife, Mary.  Within weeks, like travel guides, we are the ones informing newcomers of the time the entire town dressed as nuns (even the babies wore habits) to make an entry in Guinness World Book.original.jpeg

So it is with bitter sweetness, that as my month here concludes, all the firsts and always, soon must become “lasts.”

That’s the Last John R’s sandwich.

The Last hefting on of the Paint Pack in a chilly drizzle. (Is this thing heavier now?)

The Last morning coffee at Lynch’s.

The Last sly joke with Phil

The Last look from the apartment window.

And The Last…Oh jesusmaryandjoseph I don’t know how I’ll cope …. Pint.

But over that last pint, I’ll contemplate that none of this can really  be the Last.  There will be returns, and then, soon after I hear the first few notes, I’ll be sure to find the rhythm of Listowel once again.




4 thoughts on “The Firsts. The Lasts.

  1. Thank you for this wonderful article of my dad’s hometown of Listowel. As you mention in your article Kathy Black was the cook for three US white house presidents. My dad Cornelius is very proud of his Aunt Kathy and often speaks of her journey to America and the White House. I must point out that her last name is not Black but Kathy Buckley and is it possible to make this correction?


  2. Rose,
    Thank you so much for your comment and correction. I’ve made the adjustment and do apologize for my error.
    How fortunate you are to have a connection to this wonderful town and to be related to a remarkable woman. All my best to you, Jean Cauthen


    1. Dear Jean, my dad and the rest of the family thank you very kindly for your prompt response and correction. Yes, indeed we are very fortunate to be part of Listowel’s heritage and very proud of Kathy Buckley.


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