More News:

August 25, 2023

Couple who found message in a bottle in North Wildwood connect with 'Aoife,' who tossed it in Irish Sea four years ago

Aoife Byrne had found the bottle on the beach and stuffed it with a note, on a whim. It traveled thousands of miles before washing up on the Jersey Shore

Odd News Mysteries
message bottle wildwood ireland Jayne Harris/Unsplash

The message in a bottle found on the beach in North Wildwood, New Jersey, was written by Aoife Byrne, of Bray, Ireland, it has been determined. Byrne wrote the note and tossed into the Irish Sea in July 2019. Four years later it was found on the 14th Street Beach by Frank and Karen Bolger. This photo is a stock image.

Finding a message in a bottle may seem like something that only happens in movies or storybooks, but it was reality for a couple who had been strolling on a North Wildwood beach recently. On Friday, the mystery behind their discovery was solved, when the identity of the person on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, who had penned the note, was revealed to be Aoife Byrne.

Karen and Frank Bolger, of Bellmawr, Camden County, had been walking on the 14th Street Beach last week with their granddaughter, picking up trash, when they happened upon the small bottle containing the note signed only with the name "Aoife" and dated July 17, 2019.

MORE: 'Jersey Shore' stars seen at Wawa locations in Cape May County

"Greetings from Ireland," the message begins, "I have thrown this bottle into the sea for someone to find another day. Maybe it traveled down to Africa or up to Iceland. I won't know if someone found this, but I hope it is found."

The serendipitous story was shared Sunday by the Facebook account of The Wildwood Sun by the Sea Magazine. The post accumulated more than 1,500 likes and was shared hundreds of times by users. Several news media in the Philadelphia region and Ireland reported on the Bolgers' finding, on TV and online, which also helped with their search.

Byrne lives Bray, Ireland, a coastal town on the Irish Sea less than 15 miles south of Dublin, in the County Wicklow.

Her father, Martin, was the first to connect the message in the bottle to his Aoife after he saw the story on his local TV news. He yelled to his daughter in the other room, and together they excitedly reached out to the Bolgers via email.

Aoife and Martin eventually spoke to the Bolgers and said they could hear the "sheer joy in their voices" through the phone. To prove her identity as the note writer, Byrne scribbled a message on a piece of paper, showing her handwriting matched that on the paper the Bolgers found.

Byrne described that back in 2019 she had been on the eastern shore of Ireland when she found the bottle she used on the beach. "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," Byrne told the Irish News on Friday. "I didn't expect it to make it to America, I thought it would end up down south or up north."

There's no way to know exactly how the tiny bottle and its crumpled note withstood the journey of more than 3,200 miles that it took to get to North Wildwood — but there must have been a least a little luck of the Irish involved.

Follow Franki & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @wordsbyfranki | @thePhillyVoice
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Have a news tip? Let us know.