A group of enterprising Clogheen people had ‘devised a special package’, which was being launched to promote the ‘wild beauty and natural appeal’ of the South Tipperary town via the Internet. The brainchild of Ed Riordan, the project was developed over a few months along with Richie O’Sullivan, Mark Ryland, Alice O’Brien and Michael O’Connor. Entitled ‘Clogheen – The Hidden Heart of Ireland’, it was officially launched in March 1997 in Eamon Keating’s Bar, Clogheen.

There was set to be ‘a revolution worldwide in the egg industry’, thanks to the pending introduction of a new product from ‘a relatively small local egg producer’. The square egg was about to be born, thanks to ‘a bit of lateral thinking’ from Araglin Eggs which would provide a solution to a problem which had been one of the major bugbears of the poultry and supermarket industries for years. Turning the egg and poultry industry on its head, apparently all that was required was ‘a simple plastic device inserted into the hen’s ‘egg-laying apparatus’’. Measuring ‘about 25mm wide and 35mm long’, the device carried the all-important patent pending tag, cost ‘literally pennies to produce’ and could be inserted in seconds, causing hens little or no pain or discomfort and only required changing ‘for hygenic raesons’ about every 6 months. The ‘shaper’ did however require the once off use of some ‘special lubrication to the hen’s laying area to ease the initial laying process’. According to company proprietor Liam Finn, the idea ‘was hatched over a few drinks in Higgins’ Pub’ with a friend who was employed as production manager with a Japanese company, specialising in plastic components for the medical industry. It would ‘provide a solution to the 0.83% breakage problem caused by ‘rolling’ in the conventional shaped egg’ – although a small percentage, it represented a substantial slice of a company’s profit margin when dealing with millions of eggs annually. One manufacturer was drawing up plans to produce ‘a massive number of square egg cups’. The product launch was set for Tuesday, April 1st, 1997, just in time for Easter.

Fitter-turner David O’Flynn, hailing from Ballyclough, Kilworth, was crowned All-Ireland champion in precision turning in the National Apprentice Awards scheme. A past pupil of St Colman’s College, Fermoy, the employee of Flyco Precision Engineering, Fermoy received the prestigious Department of Education Silver Medal from Junior Education Minister, Deputy Bernard Allen.

There was ‘a distinguished and representative gathering’ at the official launch at Murphy’s Brewery, Cork in March 1997, of folk enthusiast Mick Treacy’s album, ‘A Folk Anthology’. Featuring some wonderful tracks, including ‘Irene Goodnight’, ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ and ‘Manchester Rambler’, the album was the idea of Mitchelstown’s Liam Cusack, who firmly believed ‘the work and talents of people such as Mick Treacy should be recorded for posterity’. Hollywood star Oliver Reed was amongst those in attendance, adding ‘a wonderful sense of excitement to the whole affair’. Very much a local production, the album recording took place at Studio Fiona, Fermoy, with Mike Cullen Ahern as producer.

Limerick hurling captain, Gary Kirby, was on hand to officially open the refurbished and expanded O’Donnell’s Spar (formerly Upton’s) in Ballylanders in March 1997, with Fr John O’Neill, PP Ballylanders, blessing the impressive facility.

April 1997 would see four separate proposals go on public display in Mitchelstown, to determine the preferred layout for the £300,000 refurbishment of New Square. A grant of £140,000 was forthcoming from the Department of the Environment, with Cork County Council given a deadline for spending the funds before September 30th that year, otherwise ‘funding would be withdrawn and allocated to another project elsewhere in the country’. Cork County Council would contribute £160,000 from its own resources. All plans were aimed at improving the square to be ‘an attractive focal point for the town and developed as a valuable asset’, according to Ben Lynch, secretary of Mitchelstown Business Association, one of four community groups spearheading the project.

Fermoy born Paddy Barry, a civil engineer by trade and a member of Digifone South Aris, the Shackleton tribute expedition, arrived back safely to Dublin Airport having successfully completed a gruelling 10-week Antarctic voyage.

Looking to pick up a cheap car in March 1997? Our Classifieds section had a 1982 Opel Kadett, 1.2, taxed and clean car for £250 o.n.o; while £400 would secure a 1982 Ford Fiesta in perfect mechanical order.