Con Houlihan, the great writer, journalist and Kerryman, proposed the three saddest words in the English language are “the last time”.
Today I spent my final day in Killarney before departing to begin my Fulbright Scholarship at Oregon State University. I am unquestionably thrilled and excited to be embarking on this once in a lifetime opportunity and those who know me best would be well aware of desire to spend time living in the United States. Still, there is some sadness in leaving.
Killarney is a special place. Growing up in such a scenic setting, surrounded by some truly stunning natural beauty, is something I’ve never taken for granted. I’m proud to have participated in the unique rowing tradition on Lough Lein that extends back centuries and there are few spots in the world I’d rather be than on the terrace in Fitzgerald Stadium on a Summer’s evening with the Reeks looming in the background. Above all I’m incredibly privileged to have been raised among the family and community that has supported and shaped me.
Houlihan penned those words when recollecting what he knew would be the last day he spent working in the bog with his father. I will be away for less that twelve months so sharing in his solemnity would be excessive, but the sentiment still resonates with me. As enthused as I am to make the most of my time in the US a part of me will always look forward to coming home.