Hailed as the country’s only fully licensed female crane driver, Galway teenager Kate Fahey is scaling new heights, thanks to her farming background which saw her grow up with a love of machinery.

As a child, the 18-year-old tower-crane operator was on her grandfather’s knee as they drove tractors on the farm.

“I grew up on a dairy farm, but it’s now dry stock and we also have a purebred Limousin herd. I absolutely love farming alongside my grandad, Roger senior and my dad, Roger. I love both the cattle and the machinery sides to it,” she said.

“Nearly from the time I could walk, I was going out with daddy and grandad, doing jobs like forking silage. I love tractors and am involved in organising the Glenamaddy tractor runs,” said Kate.

“I live in Dublin city during the week but I’m back home two evenings a week to work on the farm.”

After leaving school, Kate was offered a summer job in administration on the project where her dad from BKRN Construction, also works. He is responsible for converting the old Hume Street hospital into office blocks.

“I decided to apply for my licence as a tower crane operator and started training in June. I passed the test in January. Some people thought I was just doing it to tick a box but I love machinery and driving,” she said.

It’s a hugely responsible and highly skilled job as she moves tonnes of equipment around, and trusting her banksman is key.

“At the beginning, operating the crane was quite stressful but my trainer, Paddy, was there to help me out. Now I’m used to the crane and have the confidence that I passed my test,” said Kate, who enjoys the bird’s eye view of the rhythm of the city.

Her plans for the future include getting teleporter, dump truck and digger licences and possibly a lorry licence.

“Anything to do with driving, I just love it. About three years ago we bought a tedder and a rake, mainly for our own use but I would love to do some contracting work during the summer,” she said.

While rural dwellers are used to seeing women in farming, people in cities are often shocked to see her perched in her cab. She would like to see more women in construction.

“Women are just as capable as men if they get the opportunity,” said Kate.