One front page of The Avondhu 21 years ago carried the story that no fewer than three locals would be gracing the small screen as the Winning Streak gameshow boded well for north Cork. Breda Cummins from Castletownroche, Linda Dorgan in Watergrasshill, and Catherine Stack from Mallow were all drawn to play on one weekend and were each guaranteed at least €10,000.

An ‘Art in the Park’ initiative was announced for Fermoy Town Park, which would allow local artists to display their work on the railings of the park, being compared to the world-famous Bayswater Road at Hyde Park. The plan was to get artists to display their work on one Sunday each month.

The National Roads Authority assured local reps that the Mitchelstown bypass would be ready at the same time the Fermoy motorway would open in 2006; there were fears the town would suffer severe congestion if not. Meanwhile, a traffic and litter warden were to be appointed to the streets of Mitchelstown on a shared basis with Charleville. There was criticism in the town after two-hour parking was introduced, with no warden to enforce the new rules.

Fermoy Scouts held a demonstration against litter in the town park, while a clean-up operation was carried out at Mitchelstown quarry by the council after an incident of fly-tipping. Also in the town, the Fermoy Focus Group had sought tenders and secured a contractor to not only put up hanging baskets and window boxes, but also to maintain them.

One front page in February 2002 featured a picture of John Frewen, Ballyduff Upper with his daughters Gillian and Kate with the U14 Ladies County Shield, and another of Mary O’Shaughnessy, Castletownroche, Brendan O’Sullivan of Glanworth and Carolyn Howard of Fermoy enjoying the point-to-points in Knockanard.

In light of Liam Lawlor’s imprisonment in 2002, Cllr Arthur Dowling in Fermoy said that councillors who supported Deputy Lawlor’s resignation should get their own house in order – “Ye’re a pack of hypocrites and should get ye’re own house in order”, maintaining that Deputy Lawlor was only in jail because he had been caught. 

Meanwhile, tributes were paid to retiring Coláiste an Chraoibhín teacher Aileen Pyne, who was also a serving councillor. Confidence was expressed in Cllr Pyne going on to “greater things in political circles”.

A crane fire between Rathcormac and Watergrasshill resulted in 30 foot high flames, fuelled by the crane’s hydraulic system, degreasers, diesel supply and nearby trees. The 70 tonne vehicle was hauled from the area after 4 and a half hours. 

Mitchelstown’s Mairéad O’Brien was on the winning CIT team that won the Irish Hotel and Catering Institute Case Challenge 2002, while Ballygown NS celebrated a historic double at the Scór na bPáistí with victories in set dancing and the novelty act.

The council were urged to buy land in Castletownroche for housing and private site development to curb the declining population. Meanwhile, the contract was signed for 36 houses in Watergrasshill; 16 were to be social houses and the remaining sold under the affordable housing scheme.

The introduction of a licensing regime for casual traders in Fermoy was on the table. A dispute between two fast-food van operators on Ashe Quay had brought about the discussion, but rather than make a rash decision – “using a sledgehammer to break a peanut” – it was to be discussed with gardaí.

The window of St Mary’s Church in Castletownroche had been smashed on St Valentine’s Night 2002. A group was inside when they heard the “historically irreplaceable diamond stained glass window” smash. Elsewhere, restoration work at Annakissa Church was well underway, at a cost of €450,000 funded by the generosity of parishioners.

Spectra, the country’s largest camera film processing agent, took over Frank O’Brien’s Trucolor base in Fermoy. All forty staff at the lab were retained. 

TNT Entertainment was hosting a ‘Stars in their Eyes’ Soundalike Competition with €3,000 on the table, plus a chance to audition for the ITV show in Kades Kounty, Glenville and The Fisherman’s Rest, Conna. In Fermoy, a ‘Unisex Pool Emporium’ was to open in the Abbey Elbow Room. In Kilworth, Mary Coughlan was to play in the Village Arts Centre.

February 2002 marked the thirteenth anniversary of the official opening of the Bartlemy Lourdes Grotto. At the time, the Rosary was held each Monday evening at 8pm throughout the year. 

The Ballygiblin NS camogie team retained their title in the Sciath na Scol indoor camogie competition, while the Kildorrery Ladies celebrated their 2001 Junior B Championship victory. Finally, Ballyduff Ladies Football club held a presentation for their U14 county winners, their second year to achieve the honour.