The preparations for the Millennium celebrations greeted the pages of The Avondhu 21 years ago as preparations began to mark the beginning of a new era.

The Fermoy Enterprise Board began the effort to make the turn of the century a night to remember. 

The group announced plans for a meeting where, like a Noah’s Ark, two representatives from every group in the area were invited to a meeting in the Grand Hotel.

But not alone were the local groups asked for their views on how best to celebrate, so were the children of The Avondhu region.

A political shock was also reported as popular Councillor Conor O’Callaghan announced he was stepping back from public life.

Local Fine Gael representative Kevin O’Flynn declared: “The news came as a complete shock and we are very sorry to be losing a man who was deeply committed to this area.”

As he bowed out after seven years of service then Cllr O’Callaghan said: “… it became clear that a long term future in political life was not one for me.”

It seemed as though in January 1999 communities embraced pantomimes in their community halls with Sleeping beauty in Rathcormac and Aladdin in Fermoy.

Also Commemorations for the 1798 Rebellion were centre stage as the village of Conna unveiled a  number of tributes to local heroes.

One of the many plaques unveiled was to James O’Brien who was hanged in April, 1799 as he fought against the unfair “Tithe Procter” tax. There was also a tribute to local priest Fr Peter O’Neill who was banished to Australia when accused wrongly of a murder. His conviction was a miscarriage of justice and he eventually returned to Conna. 

A tree of liberty was planted also by Maurice Maloney to mark the occasion.

The community of Lismore began a fundraising drive for the victims of the Omagh Bombing which happened the previous year. 

Moss O’Connell and his colleagues at the Ballyhooly Tidy Town Committee unveiled an “innovative project”. They built a scale model of the village with “every road, river and historical site in the Ballyhooly Parish”.

The upcoming change over to the new euro currency was at the centre of public discussion at the time and a meeting was held in St Fanahan’s College, Mitchelstown to brief the public on what would happen as the Punt was consigned to history.

MEP’s Brian Crowley and John Cushnahan along with Jim Moran of Allied Irish Bank led the discussion. 

The trauma of severe flooding in Fermoy was revealed by Jim Birmingham, the then chair of Fermoy Business Association.

He said: “It was completely devastating.” He appealed for plans to be expedited to make the town flood proof.

Nottingham Forest recruited a Conna teenager to their ranks as then 16-year-old Liam Kearney signed a three year contract to play for the British professional team.

In the wake of a successful campaign with the Cork Youth team he was spotted by scouts from Derby County and Forest. Not a lone was he a talent on the soccer pitch but also an “outstanding” hurler and Gaelic footballer with his club. 

There were calls to restore historic cottages at Alms Houses in Tallow. The buildings were built in 1830 to house retired clergy and were known locally as the Protestant Houses.

In the years before the appeal they had fallen into bad repair and Lismore native Josie Roby was appealing for help to rejuvenate the ailing accommodation.

In the letters to the editor section Catherine Geary hailed the Avondhu area’s community spirit and praised the Southside Residents Group for their work in Fermoy. 

She said: “I take my hat off to those people, who continuously work to make our town lands better places for all to live in”.

In the sport pages the Doneraile Under 14 were celebrating their high up position as runners up in the North Cork ‘A’ Football Championship.

Castle Celtic scored two goals to St Michael’s one in an “absorbing tie” as they “created history” hen they defeated the Tipperary side. 

Castle Celtic were the underdogs in the match and particular praise was heaped on Seanie Browne and Padraig Lankford who were at the heart of the side’s defence. 

Lankford who didn’t put a foot wrong in the match and “blotted out” the opposing danger man.

St Michael took the lead early on but then a triumphant fight back from Castle Celtic saw then draw level and eventually pull away with Tom Barrett and Feral Barry scoring the goals. 

Talented athlete Shane Thornton was also praised for his efforts winning the Munster Indoor Junior A Long Jump Championship.