Following advice from structural engineers, it was agreed to ‘cease the tolling of the bells’ at St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore. Preliminary examinations revealed that a major renovation operation would be required to rectify the problem, with the timber structure which supported the bells found to have decayed to such a degree that any further ringing of the bells could damage the spire.

Described as having suffered from the ravages of time, there was a ‘phoenix-like rise from the brink of derelection’ for Glanworth Mill, which officially opened its doors for business in March 1998. Billed as ‘a country inn with a sense of history and a place like no other in Ireland’, the transformation was complete as the vision of proprietors Lynne Glasscoe and Emelyn Heapes became a reality. The rejuvenated old mill building consisted of the Mill Tea Room, the Fleece ‘n’ Loom Restaurant, library and a selection of en-suite bedrooms, decorated in the style of the writer they were each named after. The impending summer season was thus eagerly anticipated.

March 1998 saw a new superintendent at Fermoy Garda Station take up his appointment. Clare native and Castlelyons resident, Kieran McGann, who was stationed in the east Cork town of Cobh, replaced Supt Eamon Carey.

The Grand Hotel, Fermoy was the venue as family and friends gathered to pay tribute to Supt Eamon Carey, who was retiring from the force after 38 years service. The Limerick born superintendent, who joined the gardai in 1960, served in Fermoy for 8 years. Speaking at the event, Mr Carey said he was humbled by the reception and spoke of the comradeship that was the hallmark of the Garda Siochana.

A major player in the world electronics market, Fermoy based Berg Electronics had applied for planning permission in March 1998 to expand their Cork Road facility. When complete, the provision of a new assembly and production unit, in addition to more office space, would yield an extra 200 jobs. Already employing 110 people, general manager Gerry Moran attributed much of the plant’s success to the ‘flexible, positive and forward thinking’ employees, with Fermoy having ‘a lot to offer’ potential employers.

Meanwhile, over the border in West Waterford, the announcement of a £3.4 million investment in Cappoquin Chickens, was broadly welcomed. The plant, owned by MD O’Connor, was a major employer in the town and the national and EU grant aid would lead to the creation of 20 jobs.

All-Ireland schools’ volleyball champions, Lismore Presentation School, who defeated St Louis College Rathmines, Dublin in the final, were recipients of specially commissioned scrolls presented by Lismore Town Commissioners. A school comprising of a modest 189 students, the school had excelled in bringing the national title back to Lismore, having competed against several schools with over 1,000 students. The team was coached by Deirdre O’Neill, captained by Jennifer Hannon and had Jennifer Feeney, Player of the Match in the All-Ireland final, amongst their ranks.

Garda Report snippets – Forged £20 notes were doing the rounds in Fermoy and Mitchelstown; Found – a wheelbarrow in the Grange area, ‘may have fallen from a builder’s truck’; Stolen – amber coloured compressor, the property of Cork County Council, stolen from a farmyard at Kilmurry, Kilworth; Found – the powerdrive of a tractor, found near Fermoy Golf Club.

Ballyhooly junior footballers staged a ‘miraculous’ comeback to earn a draw with Clyda Rovers in their league division 2 encounter in March 1998. Played at Mourneabbey, Ballyhooly trailed by a massive 13 points after only 12 minutes. Four first half points from the boot of Kieran McCarthy were all the blue and gold had to show for their opening half efforts, as Clyda romped into a 4-3 to 0-4 half-time advantage. Although missing half a dozen regulars, Ballyhooly, ‘playing with fire in their bellies’ in the second period, raised green flags courtesy of Roy Duggan and a Joe Dowling penalty and trailed 5-5 to 1-8 with 10 minutes remaining. The comback was complete however when John McCarthy and Kieran McCarthy goaled, leaving a final scoreline Ballyhooly 4-8 Clyda Rovers 5-5.

A first competitive victory was achieved by Fermoy men’s hockey team, when they saw off the challenge of UCC at the home venue. The omens had been good for the Fermoy lads, following a draw in their previous league game, as well as a victory in a friendly. Liam McLaughlin’s first half score and a strike by Eddie Hoare in the 50th minute, secured victory.