Winning €13.7m Lotto ticket sold in Ireland’s ‘luckiest Lotto town’

Jackpot won by €10 Quick Pick sold in Belmullet, Co Mayo

 The owner and  staff of Careys in Belmullet celebrating selling the winning lottery  ticket. The photograph shows owner Lorraine O’Connor (centre) with   Billy O’Connor and  Molly O’Connor and  staff members Sarah Conmy and Hazel O’Connor. Photograph:  Paul Mealey.

The owner and staff of Careys in Belmullet celebrating selling the winning lottery ticket. The photograph shows owner Lorraine O’Connor (centre) with Billy O’Connor and Molly O’Connor and staff members Sarah Conmy and Hazel O’Connor. Photograph: Paul Mealey.

 

Erris, in north-west Mayo, may be the best place to go wild in the country, according to an Irish Times competition in 2014, but Belmullet is now be the luckiest Lotto town after a €13.7 million win by a mystery purchaser.

At least, that is according to Lorraine O’Connor, owner of Carey’s Newsagent’s and Bookshop on Main Street, who, when not pouring champagne for her ecstatic staff on Sunday afternoon, was fielding questions from members of the media.

While Lorraine left those ceisteanna as gaeilge to her 13-year-old son Billy, she confided that “beer rather than bubbly was more the usual tipple of choice but in the circumstances the champagne seemed more appropriate”.

“I wasn’t on the till myself on Saturday afternoon, but I was in and out during the day. We know it was a €10 four-line Quick Pick, which are a very common purchase on a Saturday. My hunch is that it is a local as there were no weddings in the area and, since it is January, there weren’t many visitors around,” Lorraine said.

“We had a €500,000 win in the Euro Millions Lottery last August and, two years ago, a customer won €350,000 on Lotto Plus. Over the years we’ve had six or seven big wins and the first was was back in 1987.”

Coincidentally, both her aunt and uncle run shops in Loughrea, Co Galway and Lucan, Co Dublin, and they have had 15 or 16 wins between them all.

She said that when she received the call on Saturday night from the local National Lottery representative, Padraig Gillespie, she told him she would have to phone him back as she was so shocked she needed to sit down.

“When it sank in and I had let my family know, I texted our 10 staff in a group message. We had all been out the night before for a staff party and they thought I was winding them up,” Lorraine said.

Hazel O’Connor and Danielle Ginley were on duty when the lucky lottery ticket was sold. They said there were many Quick Picks on Saturday afternoon, nearly all locals, but they didn’t have a clue who bought the winning ticket.

Among the steady stream of well-wishers braving the stiff southerly winds and mists rolling in from the Atlantic yesterday was Annette Howard from the nearby Eurospar shop.

“Our biggest win was €11.8 million in the National Lottery three years ago. We are a very lucky town,”Ms Howard said.

Another friend of Lorraine Carey’s, Sinn Féin councillor and general election candidate, Rose Conway-Walsh, had a big smile on her arrival.

When asked if she was the winner and, if not, had she any idea of his or her identity, she said she was surprised that “the whole area didn’t know, since everybody usually knows everything about each other in Erris”.

Conway-Walsh added: “But if I happened to be the winner, I would make sure Belmullet got a good hospital.”

The winning numbers for Saturday’s draw were 10, 12, 13, 19, 43 and 45 with the bonus number of 05.

The large win comes after Lotto terminals and the National Lottery website were knocked offline by a suspected DDoS cyber attack last week. Services were affected for a number of hours on Wednesday before eventually being brought back online.

Winners can claim prizes within 90 days of the draw being made, and prizes worth over €15,000 must be collected from National Lottery headquarters in Dublin.

Another large ticket worth almost €3 million which was sold in Claremorris, Co Mayo ultimately went unclaimed last year after no winner came forward.