While repairing a ditch in the townland of Garryantaggart, Bartlemy, community activist and historian John Arnold unearthed a historic clay pipe, which he claimed dated back to 1898, made to commemorate the events of the 1798 Rebellion, 100 years earlier. The pipe, minus its stem, contained some unique distinctive markings referring to the failed rebellion organised by the United Irishmen in 1798 – namely, the motto ‘Ireland A Nation’, ‘Remember ‘98’, along with a harp and shamrock motif, plus an engraving of two croppy pikes.
A caller to The Avondhu suggested that Fermoy Town Park be closed at night ‘to prevent vandalism of plants and to discourage ‘unsavoury adolescent behaviour’’. The caller argued that it made little sense to leave the park open all night as it attracted ‘undesirable elements’, with young people ‘carrying on’ around the bandstand. Stating that the said bandstand was ‘a complete waste of space’ which should be demolished, the caller told The Avondhu it only acted as ‘a magnet to young people’, a location for their activities.
Singer/poet, Richard O’Mahony from Tallow, in conversation with The Avondhu explained that he derived great satisfaction from writing ‘personalised poetry’, something which was ‘not poetry for the masses, but for individuals who wished to record a special memory’. Perhaps no Seamus Heaney or WB Yeats, his style was described as uncomplicated, as he kept things ‘as simple as possible’ in his original West Waterford verse. Having had ‘a fairly good sound going’ as part of band Photo Finish, with Fermoy’s Niall Riordan, on packing in the music he took to writing his own unique brand of poetry. He had already penned a poem to honour Tallow’s win in the county final, as well as one for horse trainer Jimmy Mangan when Stroll Home won the Galway Plate in 1997.
A proposed large scale retail development in the area of Mahon and Glanmire which was before the planning authority for consideration, was causing concern amongst local councillors, with the March 1998 meeting of Fermoy UDC seeing an ‘emergency motion’ raised by Cllr John Dunlea. He warned that the building of such a vast shopping centre so close to Fermoy ‘could threaten the existence of many of the retail units in the town’, therefore placing local businesses and local jobs at risk, likely to ‘wipe out’ small retailers. Although his motion was supported by Councillors Mary O’Connor, John Hussey, Richie O’Leary and John Murphy, there were opposing views from Cllrs Aileen Pyne and Tom Egan, who felt that local traders needed to do more to attract shoppers in the face of increased competition and couldn’t afford ‘to bury their heads in the sand’.
Huge support was reported for the local St Patrick’s Day parades in March 1998. Led by grand marshal Jim Smith, who was flanked by Queen of the Galtees Nellie Fitzgerald and Minister of State Ned O’Keeffe TD, the Mitchelstown parade was described as the town’s ‘biggest, best and most colourful parade’, with ‘thousands’ in attendance. St Patrick joined with the Teletubbies, Barney, the Celtic Tiger and the Spice Girls, amongst others, as the parade was deemed an overwhelming success.
In Fermoy, grand marshal Brian O’Reilly proudly led the parade from Cork Road to the reviewing stand outside Ryan’s Centra on Patrick Street. He gave a rousing rendition of local ballad ‘My Home In Fermoy’, as a party atmosphere prevailed throughout the town. Chief organiser Michael J Shinnick expressed his satisfaction with the parade. The overall award of the Martin Joyce Memorial Cup went to the staff of Telecom Eireann, for their People In Need themed float.
With schools always on the lookout for an angle to raise funds to help improve facilities, Loreto Secondary School Parents’ Association in Fermoy seized on the opportunity to combine forces with gourmet chef, Mary Rose Quigg. Collaborating to produce ‘Recipies To Relish’, officially be launched at a Bord Gais sponsored cookery demonstration at The Grand Hotel in March 1998, the cook book was described as ‘the only cook book you will ever need’ (aren’t they all!). Original food drawings were from the pen of ‘talented local artist’ Donal O’Keeffe, while student Martina McAteer was announced as winner of a competition to select the name of the recipe book. Funds would go towards improving the school’s sports and science facilities.