In Tallow, there was frustration as the local Millennium committee were forced to throw in the towel as there was a ‘complete lack of interest’ in marking the turn of the century in the town. A spokesman for the local group told The Avondhu that local meetings called to discuss a celebration of the historic New Year event had only attracted ‘a handful of people’. The committee then called a meeting to wind up operations and abandon any further plans – it was not reported how many attended that particular gathering.
Castlelyons man Paudie Barry was celebrating his victory in the prestigious TP Keenan Songwriting Contest in the Castletownroche Welcome Home Festival. His song, ‘Broken Dreams’ was hailed the best of the entrants and he accepted the Spinning Wheel Perpetual Cup from James O’Brien, festival secretary. For his troubles, Paudie also picked up a cheque for £1,000, courtesy of event sponsors IMRO.
The village of Glanworth was taking on a new challenge and bringing an ‘Alternative Olympics’ to the village. Anthony Kelly of The Barber Shop was chief organiser of the event and said the plan was to make the local festival less of a mundane affair. “Here in Glanworth, committee members have been determined to come up with events that are just that bit off beat and original, but the bottom line has always been that people will have great fun,” he said. The entire Alternative Olympics consisted of 20 events – one of the favourite events was the water filled wellie throw and the 100 metre custard filled wellie dash. Competitors could also compete in the gastronomic section and consume 20 fluid ounces of jelly with a dessert spoon in less that 8.25 seconds. As it was the first time the event would be held in the country, the top performers would all establish Irish records and organisers even expected world records to be broken at the event.
There was good news in August 1999 as Fermoy’s traffic woes were finally set to be resolved. It seems like a distant memory now, but Fermoy was once a traffic jam blackspot as the main Cork to Dublin road passed through the town. There was a huge campaign by locals to build a bypass to ease congestion. The Fermoy Bypass Group received confirmation that work would commence in 2001. It was expected that the detailed design and environmental impact statement would be completed by April 2000, with compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) then applied with the ultimate millennium project for the region beginning the following year. Donal Ó Lochlainn of the Fermoy Bypass Group, hailed it as ‘good news’ and Michael Hanley of the local Enterprise Board said his committee were happy with the progress, “This is what had been hoped for and we in the Enterprise Board are delighted that our efforts are coming to fruition,” he said.
Over in Moorepark, more serious work was taking place as they had a world breakthrough. Teagasc scientists found a way to suppress the growth of food poisoning bacteria in food products. The project, led by Dr Paul Ross, discovered a naturally occurring agent which could be used to extend the shelf life of products and kill off nasty outbreaks of listeria and clostridia.
Councillor Tadhg O’Donovan spoke of his concerns for the health of Fermoy people because of the vacant local eyesore on the northside of the town at the junction of Pike Road and the main Dublin to Cork road. The then Labour politician acknowledged that the building was due to be redeveloped and refurbished, but he claimed that the condition of the structure was such, that it was having an impact on the lives of those neighbouring the building. Cllr O’Donovan said there was an over growth of weeds and the situation had led to the ‘indiscriminate dumping of plastic bags on what is traditionally recognised as a scenic location for local walkers in the area’. “If positive action is not taken immediately, the reality of the situation is that this area will become a breeding ground for all kinds of vermin that would represent a major health risk for the people and particularly children living in the immediate vicinity,” he said.
In sport – Kilworth and Dromina played out a thrilling draw in their junior A hurling championship match at Ballyhooly. There was success for Fermoy Soccer Club who beat Charleville 2-1 in the Dave O’Gorman Cup semi-final, with Paul Philpott scoring both goals. They would face Mitchelstown’s Park United in the final.