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Raffle win made truck-mad Jackie’s dream come true

May 21st, 2024 10:00 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

Raffle win made truck-mad Jackie’s dream come true Image
Jackie McGrath from Innishannon is so thrilled with her raffle prize that she's had her name and village emblazoned across it.

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A phone call on New Year’s Day last year ticked a major item off one Innishannon woman’s bucket list – to own an articulated truck, she tells SIOBHÁN CRONIN

YOU may have seen the distinctive blue and white Scania truck travelling the roads of West Cork with ‘McGrath’ and ‘Innishannon’ emblazoned across the front of it.

But chances are, you don’t know the incredible story behind it.


The story begins with a young Jackie McGrath whose obsession with lorries started when she was a young girl, and used to stand at the end of her road and watch them go by.

‘I don’t know where it began – there was nobody in my family interested in lorries,’ she says. ‘My father was an auctioneer. But I just loved them. I remember watching Smokey and the Bandit alright, but that’s about it.’

She has flashbacks to days hitch-hiking (when it was still safe to do so), a few years after she left school, in the hope of a lorry stopping, and recalls one lift in a truck to Cork when she ended up in France for a week, because she knew the driver and she didn’t want to get out!

‘I had to ring my mother and say I wouldn’t be home for dinner – I had to hide in the back in Rosslare cos I had no passport!’

Fast forward a few decades later, and Jackie, now a delivery van driver, and mum to Conor and Stella, is still obsessed with lorries.

She has set up the N71 Photos page on Facebook for images of trucks and regularly enters the Lucky Dip competitions site.

The site raffles everything from iPhones to trailers – and trucks. And one New Year’s Day, in 2023, Jackie gets a call that she has won – a Scania truck!

Luckily for Jackie, she already has a licence to drive an artic, having sat her test 30 years earlier, because she had her sights set on a job driving one.

The Scania trucK has bunk beds, a microwave and fridge, and she delights in driving it to local truck shows and tractor runs.


While she never got the truck-driving job, she does drive for a living – for Horizon Farm and Allen Nutrition. But her raffle win means part of her dream has finally come true.

‘It’s a V8 ScaniaR6 20 Tag,’ she proclaims proudly, ‘with a 620hp engine’. It came in from the UK and needed VRT paid and a bit of work before it passed its NCT, but it’s her pride and joy.

Inside, there’s a microwave, fridge, and bunk beds. ‘I can stand up in it,’ she beams. ‘In fact, I can walk around inside it.’


She doesn’t know how much fuel the tanks take because she just tops up every few weeks with €100 and, in general, doesn’t take it on long journeys, so that’s plenty. She reckons there’s probably room for about €400 of fuel in each of its two tanks.

But she doesn’t use it for pulling trailers or doing any commercial work – it’s purely for pleasure. ‘You might see me down at Billy’s in Bandon on a Sunday morning having breakfast, but mostly I just take it to truck shows.’

Jackie has her summer schedule already lined up – she’s off to Fermoy on May 19th and there are also shows in Tipperary, Waterford and Galway.

One of her friends is Annemarie Lyons, who drives for Caulfields. ‘We went to a show with hundreds of trucks in Little Island recently – and there were just four women truckers. So you do get a lot of attention, it’s still pretty rare.’

Jackie and her friend Annemarie Lyons, who drives a truck for Caulfields.


And her fascination for the big wheels has brushed off on her offspring too, she admits. ‘I went through a phase of not showing the kids anything about them, in case I passed on my obsession, but my son is nearly as bad as me now!’

That’s probably doubtful, though, cos one example of mum’s crazy obsession is the fact she had jackets made with the truck on them, for everyone in her family, last Christmas.

‘Lots of people recognise the truck now,’ says Jackie, happily. ‘I am constantly getting people flashing their lights at me as I drive past.’

The radio has never been on, she explains, because there’s nothing nicer than the sound of the big engine roaring along. ‘I even open the window when I go through the Jack Lynch Tunnel so I can hear the sound of her,’ she says.

She knows all the local mechanics and pays special tribute to Sean Hurley in Innishannon and John Fenton in the Scania garage.

Her friend Pete McSweeney helped her get the VRT sorted and Wayne Wilson from Blackwater Motors drove it for her before she had her insurance sorted which, she says, comes to €1,800 a year.

‘And my son is quite handy with it – so really all I have to do is keep her clean!’

She is hoping that Micheal who runs the model shop in Ó Murchú’s Gala in Innishannon might make her a model of the Scania someday, complete with the McGrath livery she had added to it that makes it so recognisable around West Cork.

Jackie baulks at the suggestion of ever selling it. ‘No way! In fact, my coffin will be carried on the back of her!’

She is totally unapologetic about her fascination. ‘I always feel you know how a guy loves his truck. Because if he parks it up and walks away, watch him – if he looks back at it as he walks away – then you know he’s a real trucker!’

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