Bottle full of love letters washed up on Co Down coast
The search is on for a mystery couple whose romantic message in a bottle washed up on a small island off the coast of Co Down.
The discovery of dozens of artefacts stuffed inside an empty bottle of Black Bush whiskey caused quite a splash when it was picked up by a National Trust ranger on Cockle Island on Monday.
"Look what we found!" a post on Strangford Lough & Ards Peninsula National Trust Facebook read.
"While out on the islands carrying out a nest count, we came across this fab treasure.
"Unfortunately, the lid came off, so we're waiting for the contents to dry out before opening!"
The anticipation almost came to an end at lunchtime yesterday when the contents of the bottle were revealed.
But fascinated followers were left with a series of unanswered questions.
"The wait is over!" a social media update declared.
"For reasons that will become obvious, we have chosen to blur out names and cover faces.
"So... our bottle was stuffed full of about 20 letters and photographs, charting the relationship of a couple through the letters written.
"They are romantic, and full of love and faith... along with some cute pictures of the guy and girl."
It is understood the man lives in the Groomsport area and the woman who penned the letters is from California.
"We don't know why the letters were set adrift on the tide, and to be honest, it's none of our business," the Facebook post continued.
"But we are delighted to be part of this romantic tale.
"Messages in a bottle are much more interesting than texts."
Pictures of the coastal treasure have also been posted online, but are careful to obscure the identities of the couple. However, one gushing love letter in the not-so-old message in a bottle reveals they are in their mid-20s.
"In the words of your family you're halfway to 50 and for the next eight days you can say we're the same age," a gushing happy birthday note dated July 2018 reads.
"I'm very grateful that you were born."
The love-struck author hails her hero as a "kind, deeply loyal, caring and thoughtful" person who is passionate about God and people.
It seems the 5,000 miles of land and sea that separate them may have inspired them to create the sentimental castaway.
The bottle also contained a Polaroid picture of the young couple seen wearing matching T-shirts with the words 'Beyond Malibu'.
The National Trust said it is hopeful that the couple will come forward so it can return the contents of the bottle to them.
"Stick em in a bottle with a 'story so far' letter and set her sailing again," one social media user suggested.
"Give someone else the joy."