So moved by the distress caused to a group of American tourists looking to use Fermoy town’s public toilets, Cllr Michael Hanley was calling for the erection of ‘appropriate signage’.
Observing their dilemma at the entrance to the toilets ‘from a distance’, the visitors were obviously not familiar with the Irish language signs ‘Mná’ and ‘Fir’ and ‘anxious not to cause embarrassment, the Americans were in a tizzy as to which side of the facility they should enter’!
Cllr Hanley therefore raised a motion at the June 1998 UDC meeting calling for the inadequate signage to be addressed, with the inclusion of English signage. When asked whether or not he intervened to enlighten the visitors in their plight, the councillor replied, ‘I certainly did not, I had no intention of associating myself with that horrible structure’.
Severe disruption to traffic on the N8 in June 1998, when a lorry carrying a cargo of waste cooking oil, shed its load of 40 barrels. With some 2 miles of roadway effected between Fermoy and Rathcormac, traffic was down to a single lane as the road was made safe.
Dinosaurs and fairies
Dinosaurs and fairies were set to take over the scenic village of Castletownroche, with a world class animatronics centre planned for the site of the old Garda station. The duo behind the venture were London born David Gavin and his Castletownroche born wife, Marian (nee Lane). David and his organisation, Arran Studios, were one of the world leaders in animatronics, having helped create characters for films such as ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘Mortal Kombat’.
The large unoccupied building, which had also in the past served as a grain store, would be transformed into ‘a large exhibition area and workshop’, accommodating all sorts of fantastic creatures, including the Realm of Fairies – a section which would be dedicated to the many fairies of Irish myths and legends. The latest special effects technique at the time, known as animatronics, would see the silicon exhibits on display capable of ‘sophisticated movement’.
Four pupils from Glanworth National School tasted success in the Muintir na Tire Inter-Schools Poster competition in 1998. Jackie O’Flynn, Katie Barry, Evelyn Howard and Jennifer Healy proudly kept the Harbour flag flying, winning the competition which had the litter control theme ‘Young People’s Pride In Their Community’. Glenville NS placed third.
Tragic events recalled
The tragic events of the rebellion of 1798 were recalled in Rathcormac and Curraglass in June 1998, marking events 200 years earlier when Nicholas Burke, John Dahill and Florence McCarthy were hanged in the area for their part in the ill-fated uprising. A plaque was unveiled on a wall of The Plough Bar in Curraglass, after which members of the Dahill family assisted in the planting of an oak tree near to the spot of the original ‘hanging tree’ where the men met their death. Many of the Dahill descendants present had travelled from America for the occasion.
A large crowd later attended the unveiling of John Dahill’s restored headstone in Rathcormac cemetery. Two plaques, one in English and one in Irish, were unveiled by chairman of Cork County Council, Cllr John Mulvihill, at the cemetery entrance. Retired county manager, Noel Dillon, was then assisted by a number of young children in the planting of an evergreen oak at ‘a green area close to the national school’, to act as ‘a living memorial to those who gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom and equality’ in 1798. Unfortunately, no records existed of the final resting places of either Nicholas Burke or Florence McCarthy.
A ‘bitter-sweet gathering’ took place at the CBS Mitchelstown in June 1998, when a farewell presentation was made to Brother O’Brien and Brother Treacy, marking their retirement. The Brothers were amongst the last three remaining in the town, where the religious community had had a presence since 1857. Brother O’Brien was based in Mitchelstown since 1977, while Brother Treacy was a resident since 1980. The third Brother, Br Healy, was preparing for a missionary trip to Africa after seven years service to the school.
‘Jovial Geordie’ Jack Charlton, the former Republic of Ireland soccer manager, dropped into Killavullen National School, much to the delight of pupils and staff in June 1998. Holidaying in the Ballyhooly area and enjoying his fishing on the Blackwater, Big Jack was described as being ‘in ebullient form’ as he posed for photos and answered questions on the 1998 World Cup – his prediction was host country France to claim the trophy.