Republic of Ireland news

Mystery solved as message in a bottle writer Aoife is found

Aoife Byrne (left) is the mystery writer who wrote the message and threw into the sea on Ireland's east coast. Picture by Sun by the Sea magazine via Facebook
Liam Grimley

The mystery writer of a message in a bottle, signed 'Aoife' and washed up on a New Jersey beach has been found in Co Wicklow.

Frank Bolger found the message in a bottle and the story captured hearts in the US and Ireland. He was delighted to get a phone call from an Aoife Byrne who had written the note and dropped the bottle in the ocean in 2019.

The Wildwood Sun by the Sea magazine shared Mr Bolger's original appeal to find the sender.

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Aoife Byrne & the message found across the pond

Are you Aoife? Message in a bottle from Ireland washes up on US shore


The message in a bottle found by Frank Bolger on the 14th street beach in Wildwood, New Jersey. Picture by Sun by the Sea magazine via Facebook

Speaking to the Irish News, Frank said: "Her dad saw it on the news and said 'That's something my Aoife would do', and had her to write a couple of notes, to compare handwriting and asked her is this you? and she said 'Yeah, I did that four years ago.'"

Aoife then got in contact with Frank via email and they spoke on the phone this morning.

The writer and recipient of the note shared a heartwarming conversation about how they had come to cross paths.

In a videocall shared by Karen Bolger, Frank's wife, on Facebook, Aoife explained: "I'm a massive Sting fan, and I'm very interested in messages in bottles and I was on the beach in Bray, County Wicklow, with an ex-partner of mine.

"I'm a songwriter so I had my notebook with me that day and I found this little bottle and knew I had to put a message in it and I threw it straight into the middle of the sea.

"I didn't expect it to make it to America, I thought it would end up down south or up north."



Aoife's dad, Martin, said: "She wrote a couple of notes for me last night and I said 'There is no other way, that's her writing'.

"She was probably sitting right across from Sinéad O'Connor's house when she threw that bottle into the sea, it's just amazing."

Speaking to the Irish News, Frank said:"It's brought joy and happiness to the world... I believe it was fate."

Wildwood, New Jersey, holds an Irish Fall Festival every year and has a big Irish-American population, which helped the story cross the Atlantic so fast.

"I said to Aoife, it's crazy how the message found its way to one of the biggest Irish populations over here," Frank said.

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"Its just been amazing, the outpouring of support, hope and love, talking to Aoife and Martin this morning, they're incredible.

"This has really brought to life that there is good and hope in the world and it's a glimpse at the world in a simpler time. The world's been crazy the last few years.

"I told her if we release your name, you're gonna be an instant celebrity."

Aoife sent this note to Frank and his family to confirm that her handwriting was identical to that of the note found on the New Jersey beach. Picture by Sun by the Sea magazine via Facebook

Frank said that he has made "friends for life" with Aoife and her father and would like to visit Ireland.

He said: "We may go to Ireland eventually, but at this point I don't know.

"After the Sun magazine story, a lot of people were saying that they should start a GoFundMe page to get Aoife over here, but that's up to others."

For now, anyway, Aoife, Martin, Frank, his wife Karen and their granddaughter Autumn can rest easy that their mystery messenger from across the pond has been found, and the world is a better place for it.


Republic of Ireland news