A man described as being ‘ahead of his time’, the passing of Jimmy O’Sullivan, creator of ‘Beverly Hills, the Disneyland of Ireland’ at Ballybeg, Mitchelstown was noted in April 1998. An adventure, which initially began in 1969 with the creation of a life-like concrete cow, saw the addition of approximately 40 different ‘creatures’ at his home over a 25 year period, including a giraffe, elephant, several leprechauns, a whale called ‘Moby Dick’, the Incredible Hulk and ‘a little old lady called Janie Cottonballs, who sat on a donkey and car’. The ‘unintended’ tourist attraction saw foreign TV crews visit from Japan, ABC America, the BBC, France and Spain. Such was the unique nature of the domestic ‘wonderland’ he created, nothing of the kind will likely be seen again.
The need for foster carers was as much in demand in Ireland 21 years ago, with the Southern Health Board calling on ‘families to care for boys’ in a front page callout in April 1998. A preparation training course and ongoing support would be provided to suitable candidates.
The many tourists visiting the heritage town of Lismore were not purchasing from the ‘small shops’, which were dependant on their survival. The point was illustrated by Commissioner John Heneghan, when he highlighted the closure of a small pottery shop, operated by Lismore woman, Eleanor Howard, due to ‘adverse trading circumstances’. Stating it was a sad day when someone capable of producing pottery of such exceptional quality was left with no option but to close, he described the shop’s turnover as ‘desperately low’. ‘Small operators’ in the town were missing out on the tourist trade, he said.
It was alleged that unauthorised sulky races were being staged on a stretch of road close to Acres, Fermoy. Callers to The Avondhu office expressed concern for the welfare of the animals involved, claiming the horses were in a ‘distressed state and in poor condition’ after the racing. Some of those who witnessed the impromptu affairs stated that the horses were being abused during the races.
A live badger which had been snared near Castlelyons was set free following an anonymous tip-off to animal rights campaigner, Jim Phelan. Accompanied by local gardai, Mick Costigan and Claire Kenneally and sister-in-law Dorothy Phelan, the stricken animal was set free with the use of ‘a restraining pole and noose for protection’, from what was described as a ‘homemade and crude’ snare. Pat believed the snaring related to the procurement of badgers for baiting purposes, saying the illegal and cruel activity was ‘widespread in our country’.
Rodger O’Farrell spoke to The Avondhu of his sadness at the demolition of ‘a gem of local heritage and history in the Glenduff area’, an old stone house, known locally as ‘Sandy’s House’. Felled and razed to the ground by mechanical digger in April 1998, Rodger recounted the history of the old house, consisting of one room and kitchen, built by voluntary labour following an appeal from the altar by the local parish priest. The first person to live in the house was an unmarried mother, the victim of an eviction order, with many of the poorest people in Glenduff living there through the years.
Led by lone piper John Murray, members of Fermoy Fianna Fail Cumann marched to the Republican plot in Kilcrumper Old Cemetery in April 1998, to mark the occasion of the 82nd anniversary of the uprising. Event organiser Frank O’Flynn recited a decade of the Rosary ‘as Gaeilge’, with a wreath being placed at the plot by UDC Councillor Richie O’Leary and Cork TD, Batt O’Keeffe. Local historian, Sean O Murchu read the Proclamation, with Mr O’Keeffe providing the oration.
Residents of Liam MacGearailt Place in Fermoy were seeking the safe return of a stone bearing the name of their estate, which had been removed by contractors in 1997 while roadworks were in progress. With ‘growing concern for its wellbeing’, one resident said that no one seemed to be accountable and residents were looking for a replacement if the old stone could not be found.
In brief – ‘The Village Hair Studio’ opened in Ballylanders, with proprietor Catherine Clifford and assistant Ciara McSweeney from Knockanevin at the helm. A trip down memory lane in April 1998 for past and present members of Mitchelstown Badminton Club, celebrating 40 years of the club’s existence at a function in The Firgrove Hotel. Second trophy of the season for Accrington Celtic, defeating rivals White City 2-1 to claim the Whelan Inter-League Cup in April 1998.