New Jersey Beachgoers Find Message in a Bottle That Took Four Years to Cross Atlantic, Track Down Irish Girl Who Authored Note

The Bolger family was removing litter along the Jersey Shore when they made a discovery that caught international attention. 

Frank and Karen Bolger were cleaning up trash on a North Wildwood beach with their granddaughter Autumn when they discovered a message in a bottle, prompting a global search to locate the writer of the message. The bottle originated from Ireland with a message dated from 2019, IrishCentral reported.

“Greetings from Ireland. I have thrown this bottle into the sea for someone to find another day,” said the letter, which was dated July 17, 2019. “Maybe it’s traveled down to Africa or up to Iceland! I won’t know if someone found this, but I hope it is found!”

The note was only signed “Aoife.” 

Thanks to the power of the internet and the story gaining traction in Ireland, Aoife Byrne, of Bray, Ireland, was identified as the note’s author. Her father, Martin, saw the story on television and notified his daughter that he believed she was the Aoife the Bolgers were searching for

Frank Bolger and Byrne connected for a phone call, where the two relayed their mutual shock of the transatlantic message finally being found, a video posted on Karen Bolger’s Facebook shows. 

During the call, Byrne admitted that she was inspired to put the note in the ocean because she was “a massive Police fan,” referencing the Sting-fronted band’s 1979 hit Message in a Bottle.

Byrne is a songwriter and had a notebook with her when she discovered a bottle washed onto the eastern Irish shore, she said. 

“I said, ‘I’m just going to put a message in’, hoping that somebody would get it. … I never expected it would get to America,” she told Bolger. “I’m just over the moon.”

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