Memories from the Archives – June 2003

Junior certificate students at Loreto secondary school, Fermoy in 2003, at the start of their exams, L-r: Lisa Foley (Rathcormac), Jill O'Donnell (Fermoy) and Siona Fleming (Castlelyons).

2003 ‘Culchie of the Galtees’ Mick Hanley, representing T.O. Park, featured on one front page of The Avondhu 21 years ago, alongside fellow contenders Joe ‘Dodo’ Crowley and Tom O’Donoghue, as well as Queen of the Galtees, Katie Martin. 

In Mitchelstown there was a break-in to an unnamed supermarket on Upper Cork Street, where a sum of cash was stolen after intruders broke in through a skylight.

A woman’s death alone at home in Fermoy highlighted the shortage of hospital beds; Mary O’Leary had been waiting on a bed in St Patrick’s Hospital for respite care and was due to be admitted later that week. One letter writer condemned the situation, as the deceased was a ‘constant contributor to the various fundraising events’ for the building’, but another said the hospital were not to be blamed for a situation that was present countrywide.

€9.5 million was allocated in government funding for housing in North Cork, a 20% reduction on the €12.5 million allocated the previous year. While Cllr Frank O’Flynn thought that housing development in north Cork was going well, Cllr Joe Sherlock disagreed and foresaw ‘a housing crisis emerging’.

Meanwhile, Cork County Council had suspended processing Disabled Persons grants and Essential Repairs grants – with payouts between €10,000 and €15,000 – as the funding was not forthcoming from the Department of the Environment.

The ex-Boyzone singer Ronan Keating was pictured walking through Mitchelstown; the singer was walking from The Giant’s Causeway to the Old Head of Kinsale, a fundraiser for the Marie Keating Foundation.

In Galbally, Tidy Towns volunteer Tim Ryan stepped down after 22 years and was presented with ‘his and hers’ watches by John Joe Fahy of the Tidy Towns sub-committee. Elsewhere, Sgt William (Bill) Doyle of Kilbehenny retired from A Coy 13th Inf Bn after 44 years service; he was pictured cutting a cake with his wife Elsie in the 3 Counties Bar.

Questions were asked in Mitchelstown about why it had been ‘passed over’ for immediate connection to broadband. The Department of Communications blamed Cork County Council and vice versa.

In Castlelyons, the Blackwater Valley Garden Trail was launched at Ballyvolane House, while the village’s Community Council celebrated a very successful inaugural garden fête in the grounds of Castlelyons House, despite the committee suffering a sleepless night of torrential rain the preceding evening.

The house was opened to the public for the day by owners, Felix and Chryseldis Mitterer and their daughter, Anna. Period costumers and bowler hats were the order of the day and Best Dressed lady was Liz O’Leary of Castlelyons, while Best Dressed gentleman was named as Alexander Schumann of Castlelyons House. 

In Fermoy, Sr Consilio (formerly of the Presentation Convent, Mitchelstown) was awarded the Father Cullen medal and certificate for being a lifelong pioneer, while Gaelscoil de hÍde pupil Catríona de Róiste of Fermoy received an An Post education award for Irish language, writing in the An Post National Essay competition, the third pupil from the school to do so. Meanwhile, Carmel Warren of Conna won a Fiat Punto in the 2003 Toss Bryan customer draw in Fermoy.

Burncourt celebrated 50 years of their church building in 1953, with John and Mary Lonergan pictured, the first couple married in the church on 8th June, 1955. Finally, the residents of O’Neill Crowley Terrace in Mitchelstown would also be celebrating their 50th, with a night out in The Firgrove Hotel, preceded by Mass.

In 2003, a main course in Kearney’s Traditional and Chinese Restaurant in Tallow would set you back €7.95; the choices included roast spring lamb, sirloin of beef or breaded plaice. That same year, plans to reintroduce third-level fees were abandoned by Minister for Education Noel Dempsey, but Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy, continued to say that no additional money would be made available for education.

A letter alleged that racism was ‘alive and well’ in Fermoy, referring to an article published the previous week on an incident involving fighting and alcohol. The writer said the incident was provoked by racial abuse, and pointed out that ‘we live in the year 2003, not the dark ages. We are more intelligent people now’.

A public lecture on depression was advertised, stating that there were 300,000 suffering in Ireland; while an advert from the Department of Health and Children alerted the public to the danger of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Avondhu U14 hurlers made history, retaining the Stephen Nolan Shield, when defeating Carrigdhoun in the semi-final 1-7 to 1-5; and narrowly overcoming Seandun at Togher in the final 2-9 to 1-10. Michael Bowles, Newtownshandrum, was captain.