The new millennium crossed the threshold of calendar this time 21 years ago and The Avondhu marked the occasion.
Fireworks displays, parties and commemorative unveilings happened across the region and The Avondhu recorded all the associated celebration, pomp and ceremony.
The newspaper declared it a ‘fitting start’ to a new millennium. There was much credit given to the people of Mitchelstown, and the Corrin Cross committee. That mountain climb became a blaze of light on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve as religious pilgrims lined its slopes.
In Mitchelstown, the night sky lit up with a spectacular fireworks display, while in Fermoy, a candlelit procession was held on the banks of the Blackwater as people partied at the New Year’s Ball in The Grand Hotel.
Lismore also embraced the occasion with fireworks, as crowds thronged the streets and celebrated the momentous event. Many in Ballyporeen gathered outside the Ronald Reagan Centre for the unveiling of a plaque, a hospice walk and the launch of their millennium book.
In Burncourt, there was the launch of the millennium stone which was unveiled by 92-year-old Sarah Condon. In Ballindangan, the church was awash with colour for its flower festival. Clogheen unveiled a clock and a time capsule was buried in the plaza at Ballyduff.
Despite all the celebrations, the perpetual tension of Fermoy Urban District Council meetings continued with its prickly course of disputes and disagreements. The latest disagreement centred around the fact that not only would people be forced to pay to park in the town, but they would also be forced to pay to pee!
The charge was introduced following a motion by Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan, as he believed it would act as a deterrent to vandals. The councillor denied that it was an effort to reap reward from the necessity for an essential facility.
Cllr John Hussey was not happy about the imposition of the charge as he believed it would attract more vandals. “The pay machine containing the money will be ripped off,” he declared. Cllr Michael Hanley was not happy about the state of the existing toilets and said that the UDC needed to buy a high quality toilet. He believed the council should solve the problem by ‘purchasing a premises and getting rid of the present obscenity on the banks of the river’.
Cllr O’Donovan reacted with exasperation: ‘We have just spent £12,000 renovating the building and you want to pull it down, that’s ridiculous’.
Regardless of the gathering storm of rage in the debate, the motion was passed and second by Cllr John Murphy.
The carol singing expertise of the Teen Spirit Youth Group in Fermoy raised money for St Patrick’s Hospital. The choir was made up of students from Colaiste an Chraoibhin and Loreto Convent.
There was news of a lucky escape for a family in Mitchelstown as an SUV crashed into the diningroom of their house. The lack of appropriate crash barriers was blamed by observers for the collision which happened at around 2am on January 1. The driver of the vehicle involved was said to have misjudged the turn at George’s Street coming from the Kildorrery Road, smashed through an electricity pole and in through the front of the home of a local family.
Local man John Finn had just returned home after enjoying the local celebrations and was heading to bed when he was startled by the sound of the crash. He ran into the dining room to discover the vehicle sitting in the middle of the room covered by rubble and the concrete window sill in the kitchen area having been blown 15 feet across the room into the kitchen.
Eileen Finn said that her husband was lucky to be alive. “Usually we have a party at home on New Year’s Eve but this year, by chance, I was away in Cork for the night. If John had stayed up for a couple of minutes longer he could have been killed. That he’s alright is my only consolation other than that my house is destroyed,” she said.
The collision was the latest incident at the family home, with a number of crashes occurring there previously.
In sport, Accrington Celtic smashed home a 7-0 victory over Glenview at Schillachi Park to record their biggest league win. Goalscorers on the day were Sean Carey (2), Brian Carey (2), Dave Barry, Terence Ryan and Labhras Flynn.