It’s a shop that’s known for having “something for everyone” and now Carey’s in Belmullet can add Lotto Jackpots to its offering.
The lucky bookshop, newsagents, and gift store was buzzing with wellwishers as word spread among the town of just 1,000 people that the ticket worth €13.8m was sold there on Saturday.
In fact, if the so-far undeclared winner wanted to remain anonymous they would have been well advised to join in the fun because it would be easier to identify those who stayed away than those who came to celebrate.
Owner Lorraine O’Connor said she believed the winner was local which, in this remote part of northwest Mayo, means a catchment of no more than 10,000 people.
“The peninsula of Erris would be probably only 20 miles each way and there was no wedding or other big event here over the weekend so our hunch would be that it was a local person. It’d be lovely if it was, but whoever wins it deserves it so we’re happy for whoever it is.”
Little work got done at the shop yesterday and that’s far from routine for the business which has been going for 34 years and is a seven-day-a-week enterprise that Lorraine bought from her dad three years ago.
“We’re very community-based here. It’s a small seaside town and everybody would know everyone and everyone’s coming in congratulating us and the winner and speculating as to who that might be. It’s all very positive.”
Positive it might be but overwhelming too and it was no surprise to anyone that the winner or winners had yet to come forward.
“They need to come to terms with this themselves before they have the hype of people locally and the media. I’d say whoever the winner was will take their time. We had a half a million winner in the Euromillions in August and that wasn’t collected for about three weeks. Erris people tend to keep the cool and do things in their own time.”
The winning ticket was a €10 Quick Pick bought just hours before Saturday night’s draw and was the only winner of the jackpot worth €13,793,435. That’s one of the biggest jackpots in Lotto history although the record is still the €18.9m won by a 16-strong Carlow syndicate in 2008.
The winner has 90 days from the day of the draw to collect their prize and they must do so in person at National Lottery headquarters in Dublin although they may remain anonymous if they wish — and if it’s possible to keep such a life-changing fortune secret in such a small community.
Carey’s, whose shop windows are currently adorned with lovehearts and teddy bears, is now expecting to sell as many congratulations cards as Valentines in the days ahead.
Lorraine said: “We’ve books, stationery, sweets, gifts, greeting cards, something for everything, but the congratulations cards could go quickly — if we only find out who to send them to.”
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