Tourism Ireland has tracked down the two Canadian girls behind the mystery message-in-a-bottle washed up this week in Passage East, Co Waterford, and has invited them to visit Ireland.
Yesterday, it emerged that schoolboy Oisín Millea had found a message in a bottle, tossed into the Atlantic Ocean in Canada in June 2004, by two twelve-year-old friends while on holiday in Grande Vallée, Québec. The girls included their first names – Charlaine Dalpé and Claudia Garneau – as well as a plea to contact them if the bottle was ever found. Yesterday, Tourism Ireland tracked down the girls, now women, through both traditional and social media, and almost straight away managed to get their contact details.
Tourism Ireland has extended an invitation to Charlaine and Claudia to come to Ireland in 2013, as part of ‘The Gathering Ireland’ festivities, and see for themselves where their message in a bottle landed. The wonderful story has subsequently been covered extensively by the media across Canada – including by the Montreal Gazette, the Huffington Post and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “This heartwarming story had been picked up extensively by the media in Canada – providing fantastic, positive publicity about Ireland, and the friendliness and hospitality for which we are renowned, that money can’t buy. Both Charlaine and Claudia were delighted to accept our invitation and are extremely excited about visiting Ireland next year. We hope to present them with their vacation package in Montreal in November.
“Given Canada’s connections with the island of Ireland, which go back at least 200 years, this is a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about the exciting programme of events which is in the pipeline for ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’. Over 4 million Canadians claim Irish ancestral links or affiliations with the island of Ireland and in the province of Québec alone, the census of 2006 showed that over 400,000 people identified themselves as being of Irish descent. It’s the perfect year for Claudia and Charlaine to visit Ireland and celebrate their newfound connections.”
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087-685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country.
• Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world this autumn, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.