The Long Room in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin

Every morning for the past 3.5 years, Caitriona Lally has woken at 4:45 a.m. and headed to Trinity College Dublin to clean from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Then she returns home to take care of her 14-month-old daughter.

Recently, the college gave her more than a paycheck. Lally recently was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature from Trinity. The Rooney Prize is one of Ireland’s most prestigious literary honors, according to an article on The Washington Post website.

Lally told The Post the honor was the happiest shock of her life. The award comes with a 10,000 euro prize (about $11,500).

She said she plans to use the prize money to pay her bills, provide day care for her daughter and buy a water tank for her attic.

Lally attended Trinity College Dublin as an undergraduate student and studied English. She worked as a custodian for the college when she was a student.

After graduating in 2004, she taught English in Japan, traveled and worked a variety of jobs. She was unemployed in 2011 when she got the idea for “Eggshells” – a story about a socially isolated misfit who walks around Dublin searching for patterns and meaning in graffiti or magical-sounding place names or small doors that could lead to another world.

Her book was published in 2015, when she was out of a job again and friends from Trinity told her the school was hiring housekeepers.

Cleaning large empty rooms, especially the beautiful libraries at the college is peaceful and a perfect day job” for someone writing a book, according to Lally.

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