Over the course of the last three decades, Irish Lotto changed hundreds of lives for the better and National Lottery found a perfect way to mark the 30th anniversary of this game. They took a walk down the memory lane, reminding us of the first jackpot winner this game created all the way back on April 16th 1988. That was the day when Brigid McGrath went down in history as the first player to scoop the Irish Lotto jackpot. She collected £147.000, which would amount to €2.000.000 in today’s money. The fortunate Donegal resident became instant celebrity – you could see her face on the front of every newspaper in the country and she even appeared on the Late Late Show with Gay Byrne. McGrath celebrated the victory by buying a cosy cottage in Letterkenny Town and treated her kids to new houses, as well. She purchased the golden ticket at the Proctor’s Newsagents in Letterkenny. The owner Brendan Proctor still remembers how exciting it was to discover someone became jackpot winner inside his store. He received a call from the lottery officials the next day and it was amazing to find out one of the members of his local community scooped this incredible amount of cash. “What a feeling that was! We had to keep it quiet for a couple of days but once the news got out it was a complete media circus in the town as reporters from every corner of the country flocked to get the scoop on who the lucky winner was,” recalled Mr. Proctor. According to Dermot Griffin, chief executive of the National Lottery, the total paid out in all Irish Lotto draws in the last 30 years amounts to €4.400.000.000. The largest prize ever won was worth almost €19.000.000 and it was collected by the Dan Morrissey Syndicate from Carlow in June 2008.
After his dad passed away a few months ago, Anthony Walsh decided to honour him by continuing to play his lottery numbers. He managed to fulfil his father’s dream of becoming a lotto winner by scooping an impressive €44.000 prize and sharing it with his mother. The fortunate Cork resident missed the jackpot by one of the main numbers in the Irish Lotto draw on April 4th. Walsh purchased the ticket at the Glanmire Service Station in Cork, but didn’t realize it was worth €44.000 right away. “I called my mother the day after the draw to check to see if we had any numbers on the lotto and she told me that we didn’t win. I brought the ticket into the local shop on Saturday to get it checked and all of a sudden I’ve been told that we’ve won over €40.000!” recalled Walsh. When his father passed away in December, this man from Cork decided to form a syndicate with his mother Eileen and play the numbers his father used. He was an avid lottery player for decades and always dreamed about coming to Dublin to collect a major prize. His son Anthony fulfilled that dream as he claimed €44.000 with his mom and their extended family. He believes this a sign his father is still looking out for them. “There are seven of us in the family so his lucky Lotto numbers are a combination of our birthdays. He had been playing the same numbers for almost 30 years and although he did come close by matching 5 numbers a couple of times. We just knew that he had a big part to play in all of this,” said Walsh.
If you want to win a major lottery prize, sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Thurles proved to be the right place on several occasions over the course of the past six months. Lotto enthusiasts from this small Irish town collected a total of around €9.000.000 in lotto prizes during this relatively short period of time. We were reminded of how lucky Thurles can be when one fortunate punter matched the winning line in the Irish Lotto Plus 2 draw on March 31st to scoop €250.000. The ticket was purchased at the Centra Store in Stadavoher in Thurles – the store owner Eugene Dwyer said they were “absolutely over the moon” after discovering one of their customers won this impressive windfall. Some of the shoppers thought they were pulling a prank by celebrating the €250.000 victory on April Fool’s Day, but some of the residents of Thurles are already used to this sight. “All the wins have been great for the town and there’s a proper buzz about the place. We’ll enjoy the celebrations today and we wish the winner every best of luck with their new found fortune,” said Dwyer after being asked about the recent run of lotto luck in his town. One of the largest cash rewards in recent memory was collected by a Tipperary syndicate in November. It amounted to €7.500.000 and they’ve won it thanks to a golden ticket purchased from the Eason’s outlet in Thurles Shopping Centre. The list of major prizes recently won in Thurles includes €500.000 Lotto Plus 1 pay-out collected in December, and two separate scratch card victories of €250.000 and €100.000.
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