Schoolboy Oisin Millea is bringing his family on holidays to Canada, and he’s taking his message in a bottle with him.
The 10-year-old from Passage East, Co Waterford, came to international attention when last October he found a message in a bottle after it washed up in the tiny fishing village.
Within days, the authors of the message, Claudia Garneau and Charlaine Dalpé, had come forward and made contact with Oisin via Skype, while plans were hatched for the trio to meet this summer.
Oisin, his parents Aoife and Joseph, and his younger sister Sarah, leave from Dublin tomorrow for a 12-day trip to Montreal, Quebec and Grand Vallee, the coastal town where friends Claudia and Charlaine threw the bottle into the Atlantic Ocean eight years before.
Aoife said yesterday that Oisin was “all excited” at the prospect of the holiday, but he wasn’t yet sure if he was going to give the bottle back.
“He is quite excited to be bringing his family on holidays,” she said. “One of the girl’s mothers lives quite close to the hotel we are staying in [in Montreal] so we should meet them then.
“He is bringing the bottle with him.”
The family’s itinerary includes VIP passes to all the main attractions, including the Montreal Aquarium and an international fireworks festival.
The family were invited on the all-expenses-paid trip by Quebec’s tourism minister Pascal Bérub and updates will be provided on a Twitter account set up to mark the occasion with the handle @Oisin_in_Quebec.
The Millea’s return to Ireland on Jul 23 and Charlaine and Claudia, now in their early 20s, will make the return journey, including a visit to Passage East to find the spot where their message in a bottle was discovered.
The message, written in French by the girls when they were aged 12, was found by Oisin inside a green plastic 7Up bottle, having travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean and being washed up in Passage East following high tides.
The women from Quebec have been invited by Tourism Ireland and their visit is likely to coincide with the Passage East Festival.
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