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Swedish 'tsunami' message mystifies Irish beachcomber

David Landes · 10 Dec 2009, 10:22

Published: 10 Dec 2009 10:22 GMT+01:00

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Joan Conaghy first came across the unusual find while strolling along Termonfeckin Beach on Ireland’s east coast in the autumn of 2006.

Curious, she opened the bottle but wasn’t quite sure what to make of the message inside.

“The note was in a foreign language and I couldn't understand it. But I could tell it wasn't a name and address, so I just put it back,” Conaghy told The Local.

She forgot about the discovery until she came across the bottle a second time during a January 2007 walk on the same beach.

“I thought finding a message in a bottle twice must mean something,” she explained.

Conaghy brought the bottle home and later sought the help of a Swedish friend who helped her translate the message, which reads in English, “Sleep tight my little angels, kisses and hugs”. The author then signs off with the nickname Plommonet (The plum).

“When I heard the words my heart sank because I felt it must have been about children,” she said.

Conaghy said the tender nature of the wording on the message and the fact that it was written in Swedish led her friend to suspect it was likely written by the parent of children who died in the tsunami which ripped across the Indian Ocean on December 26th, 2004, claiming the lives of 543 Swedes.

“I didn't realize so many Swedes had been affected by the tsunami,” Conaghy explained.

In the months after deciphering the message, Conaghy attempted to contact some Swedish newspapers to tell her story, but never received a response.

The mystery remained dormant until recently when she told the story to a journalist friend, who subsequently published an article in a local Irish newspaper, prompting Conaghy to once again contact media in Sweden.

“I felt that if I found it twice that it must mean I was meant to get this message back to whoever wrote it,” she said.

A native of the area, Conaghy said that Termonfeckin Beach has always been a special place for her, and that the find has strengthened her connection to the picturesque slice of the Irish coastline.

Story continues below…

“I've found lots of things, but the message in the bottle is definitely the most interesting,” she said.

She added that she would very much like to meet whoever wrote the message, although she refused to speculate on how the author might interpret the news that the bottle had been found.

“I think that’s a message for them to decipher,” said Conaghy.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:04 December 10, 2009 by calebian22
"Sleep tight my little angels, kisses and hugs"

12:07 December 10, 2009 by Tennin
That's a trip that she found the bottle twice.
12:27 December 10, 2009 by Nemesis
That is a long journey for that bottle.

I hope the sad message gets back to the author.
12:39 December 10, 2009 by the pigeon hunter
i dont get why she makes those wild assumptions "must have been kids who fell victim to the tsunami in '04"...

could have been any tragic accident across the globe. could even have been a tragic event not related to water. could be a mother missing her children who live abroad with their father. could be a father missing his kids who live abroad with their mother. could even be a person missing deceased pets. could be a poet or an artist trying do "art".

could be any number of things.
14:05 December 10, 2009 by karex
It was the translator friend who assumed that the message may have been tied to the tsunami, not the lady who found it.
15:36 December 10, 2009 by this_aint_sparta
Is this a news item ??
17:09 December 10, 2009 by Keith #5083
er...ummm..yes, #"this_aint_sparta", it is a newsworthy item.All news is related to human experiences which is probably why news is such a compulsive 'media' for many people. One of the MAJOR things I like about TheLocal is that it reports on such items as this.

But I am puzzled, so may I respecfully ask if you weren't interested, why did you read it :)
14:19 December 11, 2009 by the pigeon hunter
@karex: okay, then i rephrase my comment to "i dont get why the translator makes those wild assumptions".

next time i find a rock i will assume that "it's a piece of a meteorite". or maybe not.
21:52 December 11, 2009 by Joan Conaghy
Dear Pigeon Hunter would it be a wild assumption to think that you can't tell the difference between a rock and a meteorite.

Here in my culture when we hear the words 'Snooze lightly now my little angels' we think of children not animals.

I'm baffled by your negativity but then again...
01:27 December 12, 2009 by Yankee Jim
Never mind the particulars. someone was in mourning and felt compelled to express it with a message in a bottle. And a good woman from Ireland helped all of us share in that grief. We all feel some sense of loss but let us be hopeful that there are more people like Ms. Conaghy out there lifting people from despair, especially those we don't even know. Bless you Joan!!
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