WHEN her plans to come home for Christmas for a visit with her three boys were scuppered by the freezing weather conditions in Ireland, one Tullamore native could never have imagined just how much that event would have impacted on her and her sons' lives.
That is because if Tullamore native Patricia Eisel had been in Ireland for the holidays, she never would have bought New York State Lottery ticket which won her a cool $21.5 million.
Patricia's ticket cost $8 and her numbers came up on January 6. Incredibly for the next three weeks she continued to go to work as normal and did so for three weeks before finally coming forward last week.
Once taxes are deducted, she will pocket close to $8 million (€5.8 million) after opting to take her winnings in a lump sum rather than installments.
Patricia's brother Brian Daly flew out to America last week to be with his sister when she colleceted her winnings on Thursday and both returned to Ireland on Friday so she could break the news to her mother Margaret in person.
Speaking on Saturday in the company of her family in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Patricia, who moved to America 15 years ago, explained why she had waited so long to come forward and claim her prize.
"I got nervous, I didn't want any attention on my kids and I wanted to think. I kept quiet went back to work and said nothing."
While outwardly calm, Patricia, originally from O'Molloy Street, explained that she was nothing like as composed on the inside as she went about he life as normal as she had a pain in her chest with nerves.
Her three sons are all under the age of 10 and when their mother returns home they will be delighted to find out that she intends to bring them to Disney World while a proper family home with a yard where the boys can play is at the top of her list of priorities.
Patricia also said she hopes to live a normal life with her sons adding that she intended to send them to their regular school.
They remained in New York with their father while she made her short trip home and while she remarked that they were unaware of the size of their mother's win, she can't wait to get back to see them and give them the Christmas Holiday they missed out on.
"They don't know, they think it is $125,000 which they might think is loads. They don't know what is going on they just know Mammy is going home, I reassured them that Nanny was okay. I can't wait to go back and see them. I am going to give them the Christmas holiday that they didn't get pretty soon."
She also said that she would make sure her mother Margaret Daly was debt free so she could live comfortably while adding that she just wants to make sure everyone's happy.
Patricia came home to break the news to her mother in person and Mrs Daly could not hide her delight at her daughter's good fortune.
"I'm delighted for them. For her and the kids, because it is really what they needed for a start. I never had money in my life, never wanted it but f she has any to throw my way."
Patricia was due to fly back to America yesterday (Tuesday) weather permitting although if New York was snowed in although given her good fortune the last time her travel plans were altered, she might just fancy her chances in the mid-week lotto here.