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.
“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.