A Clonmany teenager is touching the hearts of those around the country as she took on a mighty journey in memory of her grandfather.
Caitlín Mc Gonigle, aged 17, took on a 280km charity tractor run from Dublin to Mayo last weekend while keeping memories of her late grandad Paddy Duffy close to her heart.
Drivers, including Caitlín, in the Dublin2Mayo Charity Tractor Run crossed the Shannon this Saturday morning.
Following a stopover at Arrabawn Creamery in Clonbern and joining with the Gerrard Greene memorial run, the group continued via Dunmore, Cloofad, Ballyhaunis, Claremorris, Balla, Kiltimagh, Bohola, Swinford and Charlestown before finishing at Kilkelly, Co Mayo, at 6.30pm on Saturday.
Caitlín, who raised €5000 at the Tractor Run, has her grandad 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 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.
Scores of tributes came in for McGonigle after the event, one avid enthusiast saying she had made a ‘huge impression’.
Liam Downes, Dublin2Mayo Charity Tractory Run enthusiast, said: “As we travel the road through life every now and then somebody comes along that makes a huge impression. You just go wow, amazing.
“One such person is Caitlin,” he added.
“McGonigle who just completed the 300km Dublin Mayo tractor run. At just 17 she drove her late granddads (Massey) Ferguson 35x all the way.
“I know how difficult a task this is on a 61-year-old tractor, and I shared the driving with my brother.
“To say Caitlin is made of the tough stuff is an understatement,” he said. “On Friday she got on that tractor at 8am with only short breaks drove until 9.30 that night.
“A quiet unassuming girl she just got on with it no fuss, no special treatment demanded, just do it for her granddad.
“Well, she has done him proud on his (Massey Ferguson) 35x.”
“Caitlin I wish you best in life, and I’d say whatever you do in life won’t phase you one little bit.
“A bright future I see for you with your granddad at your side.”