A Clonmany teenager is preparing for a mighty journey in a Massey Ferguson in memory of her grandfather.
Caitlín Mc Gonigle, aged 17, will undertake a 280km charity tractor run from Dublin to Mayo this April while keeping memories of her late grandad Paddy Duffy close to her heart.
The determined student will be on the road in Paddy’s beloved 1961 Massey Ferguson 35x, alongside countless other tractor enthusiasts from around the country. As far as she knows, she’s the first girl to ever take part in the run.
Caitlín has Paddy to thank for her love of tractors. The Greencastle man made the headlines last September when he drove from Mizen to Malin Head at the age of 74.
Paddy had planned to do his next big run with his granddaughter, but the duo never got the chance due to his sudden passing in December 2018.
Paddy’s death came as a shock to the family, Caitlín said: “Granda was never sick and never got the flu. We were so shocked when we got the call.”
Paddy left his restored Massey Ferguson to Caitlín, and their many fond memories on the roads motivated her to see their cross-country run plans through.
“Granda had me in the tractor since I was about two. He had me driving since I was five,” Caitlín told Donegal Daily.
“Granda may not be going this time but myself and the famous 35x will still be heading down the road in memory of him,” she said.
Between her studies at Carndonagh Community School, Caitlín is laying the groundwork for the Dublin2Mayo trip which takes place from 19th – 21st April.
She said: “I want to raise money to add to the fundraiser, I’m getting the tractor ready and I have to get loads of thermals because it has no cab!”
Throughout the trip, Caitlín will have the support of her dad Noel, who is coming in his van, as well as her boyfriend and her father’s friend.
The reaction to her mission has been largely positive, she said: “My friends think it’s class that I’m doing it for my Granda. They think it’s heartwarming for that reason.
“When others heard about it they said: ‘But you’re a woman’, and I’m like: ‘So?’”
Paddy left his collection of tractors to Caitlín and her three younger brothers, but she is keen to point out that her Massey Ferguson was ‘the best one, as granda called it’. She says she is well used to driving around in the bright red motor now.
Caitlín is also full of praise for the Dublin2Mayo Tractor Run committee. She hopes to drum up as much support as she can as they fundraise for the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire, Special Care Baby Unit in Mullingar and in Mayo University Hospital.
Caitlín has sponsorship cards and she is selling draw tickets locally, where the winner can pick up their own Massey Ferguson 135!
Sponsorship cards are available in stores around Clonmany, Gleneely and Moville, or people can donate via this PayPal account: https://www.paypal.me/caitlindublin2mayo