Vincent has provided us with a final chapter in the Lar Buckley story for now.
Number 24 Upper William St.,the premises where Lawlees have their flower shop was also built (along with number 26 where he lived and had his cooperage) by Lar Buckley. He had moved to Upper William Street from Upper Church Street to continue his trade as a cooper. For a good number of years he had no. 24 rented to various people. From Sept.1895 the tenants were Michael and Kate (Mulvihill) O’Connor, newly returned North Kerry folk. They had been in America for some years and were now anxious to start a business in Listowel. In the agreement their rent for this house was £14 per year, to be paid in two instalments, £7 on both the 3rd of March and the 3rd of September. The agreement also stated that Lar. Buckley would pay half of the yearly poor rate, with O’Connor paying the other half along with the county cess and town rate.
The O’Connors soon had a good business. They sold groceries, flour and meal. To supplement their growing family’s income, Kate, started baking and selling mutton meat pies especially on Market days and at race time. This was the time the name Mike the Pies became synonymous with Upper William Street. The O’Connors’ business continued to grow. When the Mc Elligott family, who ran a multiplicity of businesses out of the house two doors up (these busineeses included, grocery and public house, funeral undertaking, general contracting and joinery) decided to seek further fortune in faraway California to help in the rebuilding after the earthquakes in 1907, the O’Connors were immediate purchasers of this property. The rest is history, with the family having a presence in the street since then.
Another family renting Buckley’s after this, was a Sheehy family, The father, Edward was an insurance agent, a son also Edward (nicknamed Sac) was involved with the Free State forces during the Civil War. He had the sad distinction of being the first fatal casualty of this misguided period. In a ironic move, both sides, Free State and Republican, put down arms at the time of his funeral, and both sides marched side by side, as a guard of honour, accompanied by local bands, until it left the town on its last journey to Gale cemetery (a photograph of the funeral, taken in the the Square, can be seen in Carmodys, “North Kerry Camera” )
After the tenancy of the Sheehy ‘s had lapsed, no.24 was again opened as a grocery shop by Tessie Buckley. She continued running this on her own until she was joined by her sister Nora in the mid 1940s. Prior to this, Nora had assisted a maiden aunt, Minnie Kearney in the running of a grocery shop, in the old Kearney family home in Church Street.
Tessie and Nora sold basic groceries and had a loyal band of customers. It was to this house that Kathy Buckley returned in retirement after her many years in America. After Tessie’s death in 1976 it was left to my first cousin, Eileen McCaffrey, who subsequently sold it to the Lawlees.