Oisin Millea, the boy who found a message in a bottle yesterday contacted the women who launched it into the sea eight years ago — and he may meet them in person next year after Tourism Ireland offered to fly them to Ireland for The Gathering.
Oisin, 9, from Passage East in Co Waterford, found the two-litre plastic 7Up bottle on a beach last week the day after flooding caused by high tides washed numerous items inland.
Inside the bottle was a note, wrapped in a hair bobbin, written in French by two French-Canadian schoolgirls, Claudia and Charlaine, then aged 12.
In it, they explained how they lived in Montreal and had sent the bottle out in to the Atlantic Ocean while on holidays in a town called Grand Valley/Grand Vallee.
The email address given in the letter didn’t work, and neither girl gave a surname, but such was the interest in the story of Oisin’s discovery in Canada that yesterday both Claudia Garneau and Charlaine Dalpé came forward as the authors of the note, which took eight years and a journey of thousands of kilometres to be discovered.
So what started as a note in a bottle ended with a Skype chat via satellite.
It also emerged that Tourism Ireland contacted Claudia and Charlaine to extend an invitation to them to come to Ireland in 2013 for The Gathering, paying for their flights and accommodation.
The women, both now students in Montreal, contacted the Montreal Gazette when news broke of Oisin’s discovery on Monday.
Claudia wrote that she and Charlaine were 12 when they launched the bottle into the sea.
Charlaine wrote on her Facebook page: “Wow, a small boy in Ireland found the bottle I put in the sea when I was 12!”
When contacted by the Irish Examiner Claudia said she was stunned when she heard of the find.
“It was really a shock,” she said. “I was so excited — it’s such a surprise.”
Claudia said she and Charlaine had had the idea to send a message in a bottle together, so it was apt that yesterday Charlaine called to Claudia’s for a Skype session with Oisin.
After speaking with the women, Oisin said: “They were just asking me where did I find it and all that. They might be coming to Ireland next year.”
The chat lasted more than 15 minutes and the family are now compiling a scrapbook of all the newspaper cuttings.
Oisin’s mother Aoife said: “The phone has been hopping all day. I made the mistake of telling Oisin that if he finds another one to throw it back in. When he was being filmed for television of course he repeated it: ‘Mummy said...’.”
She was only joking Oisin — you’ll find plenty more.
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