What happened to Dolores McNamara, Ireland’s biggest lottery winner?

Ireland’s latest lotto multi millionaire still hasn’t come forward to claim his or her fortune, and it understandably made people wonder what has happened to Dolores McNamara these days. The Limerick woman rose to fame in August 2005 when she collected a cheque for the biggest lotto jackpot in European history from the Lotto HQ. The 50-year-old Limerick local had learnt she has won the staggering €115 million a week earlier in July and was snapped in a pic by her friend that made headlines. The €115 million jackpot generated quite a buzz with media outlets on a national scale. Journalists from various publications camped outside the National Lottery headquarters for three days waiting for the winner to arrive and interview her to get the scoop.

No one was surprised when Dolores declined to be interviewed and did everything she could to avoid all the unwanted media attention when picking up her cheque and after that. Instead, her solicitor issued a statement, stressing her ‘desire to return to normality as soon as possible.’ He comment that ‘She is absolutely determined that her feet and the feet of her family, will remain firmly on the ground.’ struck a chord with many readers who saw in the lucky winner just a regular woman who had her priorities right.

Dolores’ win was the biggest in the history of the European lottery at the time and the story of how she found out is like straight out of a modern fairy-tale.
She said she was watching the draw on television in her local pub, the Track Bar, in Garryowen, Co. Limerick. After pulling out her €2 ticket out of her handbag, and asking a friend to ‘check it for her’, Dolores downed a brandy and burst into tears.

One of the barmaids at the bar described the scenes in the light of the win as something out of the movies with ‘drinks starting to flow and pouring champagne all night long.’  Although all of Dolores’ friends were unanimous in her being a very nice person and confident that the win wouldn’t affect her drastically.’

On estimations Dolores would earn up to €3 million a year in interest alone.

Her win skyrocketed her to the 58th place in the richest people in Ireland list at the time. The lotto winner overtook celebrities like Van Morrison, Enya, the creators of Riverdance and even Posh and Becks. But unlike rich people and other lotto winners, Dolores has kept a surprisingly low profile since winning her fortune. She is still rarely photographed or seen out in public. Six months after her win she bought her first major extravagance Lough Derg Hall – a spectacular house set on 38 acres just outside the village of Killaloe, which is less than 30 minutes from her home in Limerick. She then went on to buy houses in and around the area for her children, Dawn, Gary, Kim, Kevanne, Dean, and Lee.

Other financial investments followed, including an unsuccessful one that saw her try her luck at a retail park in Limerick. But there was more trouble around the corner. In the following years dozens of housing investment made by her family  in the US city of Detroit in Michigan were seized by local authorities for failure to pay property taxes, according to the Irish Times .

The McNamaras family, including Dolores and five of her six adult children, are rumoured to have invested close to €5 million on more than 100 homes in rundown neighbourhoods in the city between 2012 and 2014.
November 2012 saw her make a rare public appearance at a charity night organised by her friend and business advisor Tom Moran at the Red Cow hotel in Dublin.

Her most recent public appearance in 2016 has been in connection to her sentencing to two and a half years in jail for taking part in the theft of chandeliers and copper piping from a mansion owned by her son Gary.
Incredibly, Dolores has managed to only speak once publicly since her amazing €115 million win, when she gave an interview to her local paper, the Limerick Leader. She then disclosed that she was in disbelief about the luck that her family had experienced. Her purchase of a Euro jackpot ticket had been a spur of the moment decision as she had only gone into the shop to top up her phone.

Surely, after everything she’s been through, Dolores has some pearls of wisdom for the new lotto winner who bagged the big jackpot!

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