Message in a bottle uncorks nursery adventure

Little Olivia with the message in a bottle that she found. 50_c47bottle02

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

An undated message from an Irish eight-year-old, washed up on a Kintyre beach, has inspired Campbeltown Nursery Centre children.

The letter, written by  Ciara, from Arklow, south of Dublin, in County Wicklow, Ireland, was spotted by four-year-old pupil Olivia Mclean in a bottle on Macharioch beach.

Its discovery has led to an offer from Campbeltown’s lifeboat crew to take two messages, from Nursery Centre children and drop them in the sea in the hope that they do not wash up too close to home.

Olivia said: ‘I saw the bottle when I was walking on the beach with my papa, Donnie, and my uncle, Danny – there was a letter and a peacock feather inside.’

The children in Olivia’s morning nursery class were very excited to hear all about it when Olivia took it in to show them.

They read the letter with senior childcare and education worker Carol Allibone and found out that Ciara likes football and is in the Scouts.

Carol said: ‘Looking at maps has really brought it alive for the children, seeing the long journey the bottle made.’

‘The children included various drawings and messages, explaining where they’re from and why they decided to write letters.

Carol said: ‘Zach’s grandpa works on the lifeboat so they’re going to go out to Davaar one night and drop them in the sea.

‘The children have enjoyed learning about different methods of communication, how most letters come in the post but these ones are different.

‘They suggested that we send Ciara a copy of the Courier when the story is in.’

In class they discussed Ciara’s letter and decided that some of the children would write individual letters to post to the address included in the bottle.

Jamie drew what he thought Ciara might look like and told her that he liked football too and that his favourite team is Real Madrid; Taylor wrote her name and told Ciara about her little brother Keelan; Lois drew a picture that she thought Ciara would like; Caoimhe told Ciara about going to the beach with her grandparents; and Olivia explained how she found the bottle.

They also included a map showing the journey the bottle would likely have made.


Some of the nursery children who replied to Ciara and wrote their own messages. Olivia, centre, is holding the bottle she found. 50_c47bottle03
Some of the nursery children who replied to Ciara and wrote their own messages. Olivia, centre, is holding the bottle she found. 50_c47bottle03