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01 Aug 2013

Canadian ‘message in a bottle’ girls visit Ireland

Tourism Ireland welcomes Québec girls to Ireland

The two Canadian girls behind the message in a bottle which washed up in Passage East, Co Waterford, last October, arrived in Ireland today. They will spend the next week exploring Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland.

Last year, schoolboy Oisín Millea found the mystery message in a bottle, which had been 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. Tourism Ireland in Toronto tracked down the girls, now grown up, through both traditional and social media, and invited them to visit Ireland in this special year of ‘The Gathering Ireland’.

Oisín and his family visited Québec in July, as guests of Tourism Québec. Now, Tourism Ireland is returning the gesture – with Charlaine, Claudia and their partners enjoying a week-long holiday here, exploring Dublin, Cork and Waterford. When they are in Waterford next week, they will meet Oisín in his home town of Passage East. Their itinerary was designed by Fáilte Ireland.

The wonderful story of the message in a bottle has 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: “We are delighted to welcome Claudia and Charlaine to Ireland and we wish them a really enjoyable holiday. This heartwarming story has been covered extensively by the media in Canada – providing fantastic, positive publicity about Ireland and the friendliness and hospitality for which we are renowned. That’s the type of publicity that money can’t buy.

“Moe than 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. So this is the perfect year for Claudia and Charlaine to visit Ireland and celebrate their newfound connections.”