Torrential rain and high winds caused havoc locally, with the River Blackwater bursting its banks in November 1997, causing ‘extensive flooding’ in Fermoy. Shops and businesses in Brian Boru Square and Ashe Quay had to be evacuated, as the rising water flooded the entire area. Despite Council workers working ‘throughout the night filling sandbags’ to assist the unfortunate shop owners, the inevitable power of the flood waters couldn’t be haulted. Reports of serious flooding were also reported in Ballyduff, Conna, Curraglass, Corrin and Rathcormac. While a landslide blocked a road in Ballyhooly.
A further ‘sting in the tail’ to the flooding in Fermoy, was the discovery, after the floodwaters had receded, that there ‘was no drinkable tap water to be had after it became known that the mains supply had possibly been contaminated’. Thus, in the interest of public safety, the pumping station at Knockananig was closed. Bulk tankers from Dairygold and Avonmore were drafted in to distribute fresh water, one located at Oliver Plunkett Hill and the other near the courthouse.
Lieutenant Cathal Berry, originally from Lyrenaglough, Ballyduff had the honour of leading the military parade at the inauguration of President Mary McAleese in November 1997. Cathal, stationed at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin, was also the bearer of the National flag and assisted at the guard of honour.
A moving ceremony in the grounds of the Town Hall in Mitchelstown in November 1997, saw a five foot six inch limestone sculpture unveiled to commemorate those who died in what was ‘a terrible chapter in our history’, namely the Great Famine. Chairman of the local Heritage Society, Bill Power, explained the choice of location for the monument, as ‘pits were dug here (Town Hall grounds) between 1845 and 1851 for the burial of famine victims, after local graveyards became too full to take more burials’. An ecumenical prayer service conducted by Rev Ron Matthews, Canon Tim O’Leary and Dean Vincent O’Grady was followed by a tree planting ceremony by Minister Ned O’Keeffe TD.
The poster saga rumbled on – One week after The Avondhu broke the story of indiscriminate dumping of Adi Roche presidential campaign posters in mid-November 1997, a further “batch of ten or twelve posters” were discovered dumped “about a quarter of a mile from where the first lot of twenty five or so was located” by a resident of the Caherdrinny area, near Flagstaff Hill. It was described as “a disgrace”, coming from a political party. However, Labour Party member Tadhg O’Donovan termed the initial reporting on the incident as “grossly unfair”, stating ‘Adi Roche was not a Labour Party candidate’ (as was claimed) and secondly, that the Labour Party was ‘only one of a number of political parties which made up the People’s Alliance, which was responsible for Ms Roche’s campaign’.
Ballyduff Drama Group staged John B Keane’s ‘The Field’ in November 1997. The lead role of the Bull McCabe was in the capable hands of James Lenane, with his son ‘Tadhg’ played by David Murphy. Richie Walsh was ‘The Bird’ O’Donnell, with other parts played by Bill Canning (‘Mick Flanagan’), Margaret Mulcahy (‘Maimie’), Fiona McDonnell (‘Maggie Butler’), Courtney Canning (‘Leamy Flanagan’), Michael O’Riordan (‘Dandy’) and Brendan Cotter (the sergeant).
A third year student at Limerick College of Art and Design, Joan Hickson from Ballyhindon, Fermoy scooped ‘one of the country’s most prestigious titles – the Jim Kemmy Young Designer Award’ at the Limerick Charter 800 Fashion Show in November 1997. Her entries on the medieval theme, ‘featured two deeply textured knit ensembles in earthy tones interpreted as contemporary fashion for both males and females’.
Watergrasshill emerged as top club at the East Cork Scor na nOg finals at Lisgoold Hall in November 1997. Winners included: Watergrasshill’s Cliodhna and Sinead McEnery, Catherine Tobin, Bridget Forde, Elaine O’Farrell and Avril Foley (Rince Foirne – figure dancing); Carraig na bhFear’s Claire Cronin won the Amhraniocht Aonair (solo singing), with the ‘Hill’s representation of Elaine O’Farrell, Sharon Moroney, Cliodna and Sinead McEnery going forward to the county semi-final in the ballad group section.
Three students from the class of 1997 at Colaiste an Chroi Naofa, Carraig na bhFear received 3rd level scholarships. Kim Kavanagh from White’s Cross (6 A1s in the Leaving Cert) was awarded the College Entrance Scholarship at UCC – she was studying Medicine; Eamon Long, Glenville was awarded the Kelliher Scholarship at UCC, where he was studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry; Thomas Gallagher, Carraig na bhFear was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, where he was studying Medicine.