21 years ago the front page of The Avondhu carried the news that the Fermoy fish processing plant at Connolly Street was to move to Tallow. The 25 people employed at the firm would be moving with their jobs as the company planned to move into the old Flair Plastics plant.

The Grand Hotel in Fermoy closed its doors in April 2001. Though not operating as a hotel for some time, the closure was seen as a blow and understood to be a result of a transfer of licence to the SG1 night club. A further misfortune befell the town as the Fermoy Coarse Angling May Festival was called off in the shadow of Foot and Mouth Disease. An annual event since 1957, the cancellation was expected to impact the local economy to the tune of £150,000.

A gang of three were arrested in Mitchelstown, believed to be responsible for a number of thefts in the town, as well as in Fermoy. Cornered opposite Maxol, one escaped on foot and was found later making his way to Fermoy (slowly, we assume).

A sign of the changing times was heralded in Araglin, as the parish saw its first three female altar servers, namely Fiona Browne, Mairead Allen and Sharon O’Doherty. Elsewhere in the village, there was opposition to the forestry grants scheme as one farmer said ‘his land wouldn’t be blackened by dirty spruce trees’.

Joe Murphy’s Menswear in Fermoy town were hosting their annual Easter Bonnet Competition, where Lisa and Bart Simpson would be in attendance to judge the entries. A prize for the most colourful picture taken on the day would net the winner £20 and a disposable camera!

A proposed 17 acre quarry at Knockane was met with local opposition, as residents questioned the wisdom of blasting just four miles from Mitchelstown caves, the potential damage that would be done to the visual amenity of the area as well as the local water supply.

Rebecca Daly from Ballyhooly was recovering well after a successful heart operation in Baltimore, USA. Rebecca, whose parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses, was operated on with a drug alternative to a blood transfusion, which the faith does not allow.

St Patrick’s Community Hospital Fermoy were looking ahead to their Celebrity Auction and Dinner Dance in Kilcoran Lodge. Some of the items up for sale were Joe Dolan’s white stage suit, JP McManus silks worn by Charlie Swan on Istabraq, and Michael Flatley’s platinum disc. Meanwhile, Sr Patricia Duggan was honoured upon her retirement as matron from Fermoy hospital.

IFA President Tom Parlon called for support for sugar beet farmers in their ongoing dispute with Irish Sugar/Greencore, and called for farmers to boycott ‘Grassland’ fertiliser.

GlenKerr Promotions were seeking willing employees to join their 46-strong team in Fermoy for a career in telemarketing. With a mainly female workforce, the company said it would be ‘delighted to hear from men with a fondness for the phone’. Meanwhile ‘The Old and the New’ shop on Lower Cork St, Mitchelstown was open less than a year, and young proprietor Pidgie White was enjoying the daily interactions with both the locals and the summer tourists.

Meanwhile, in the National Apprentice Competition, Fermoy’s Donal Caples emerged victorious winning the Electrical Commercial Installation category, while ‘His Holiness’ John Paul McDonald from Beechfield took first prize at the karaoke final in Mac’s Bar.

Following the announcement that Mitchelstown was the worst in north Cork for littering, it was revealed that 40 fines had been issued in the town for littering and dumping. At the time a fine was £50, but the Department of the Environment was due to double the fine to £100 in a ‘draconian’ measure.

The Garda ‘lost and found’ report in The Avondhu 21 years ago had two lots of car keys, three phones, a wallet, purse, eternity ring… and three dogs – all looking to be reunited with their rightful owners.

In Ballysaggart, the Millennium Stone was unveiled, issuing a ‘Céad míle fáilte’ to all who entered the village, while nearby in Lismore £200,000 was allocated to remove their old humpback railway bridge to help improve traffic safety.

In a sign of things to come, the all-male Ballygiblin team were victorious in the Primary Schools 12-a-side football final, captained by Eddie O’Gorman. Fermoy boxing coach John Mahon was to manage the Irish team in France for their two international matches, while in Ballyporeen the U21 team, captained by Paki Ryan, were the ‘easy victors’ in the South (Tipperary) U21C final, beating Ballylooby/Castlegrace – man of the match was Thomas Mee.