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Archiver > IRL-KERRY > 2004-06 > 1087644848

From: "Laurence Jones" <>
Subject: Re: [KER] Romantic/O'Sullivan Lispole Co. Kerry
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 12:34:08 +0100
References: <006701c4554c$95463be0$>

Postscript to this story in this week's Kerryman.


Breda turns her back on the spotlight

By Donal O’Reilly

THE Lispole woman who became the centre of international attention after
replying to a message in a bottle shortly after World War II has admitted to
The Kerryman that she now wishes she had left it lying on the beach for
someone else to find.

Last week’s edition of The Kerryman carried the story of how the then
18-year-old Breda O’Sullivan had replied to the letter, which had been
thrown into the North Atlantic by a young American soldier, Frank Hayostek,
as he returned to the United States from military duty in France.

Breda and Frank started writing to each other, but really became the centre
of a media circus when the American flew to Ireland in 1952 to finally meet
his Lispole friend. While the international press was excited at the
possibility of a romance or even marriage, that never happened and the flow
of letters between the pair eventually dried up.

The story was recently revived in an article in the Pennsylvania newspaper
the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, in which Frank recalled those days and said
that he still often wonders what happened to Breda.

Well, the truth is that Breda O’Sullivan is now Breda Hand and the mother of
10 children – sons Tom, Sean, Peadar, Arthur, Paul and Jim and daughters
Maire, Anne-Marie, Joan and Fionnuala – and she is still living in Lispole.

When we contacted her, Breda good-naturedly admitted that she has had enough
publicity for a lifetime and was unwilling to say too much.

“Oh, I thought that was all over. Obviously someone was too smart for me,”
she remarked.

Asked how she remembered her days in the spotlight, Breda described them as
gruelling and added, “If I had known that I would get all that publicity by
answering the letter, I would have left the bottle lying there.”

Breda’s cousin, former Fianna Fail senator Tom Fitzgerald, told The Kerryman
that he became friendly with Mr Hayostek during his stay in Ireland and
exchanged letters with him for a few years after he returned to America.

“Frank, who was of Polish descent, was a lovely man and we were writing
letters to each other for about three or four years,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“There was an awful lot of publicity when he came to Kerry because I think
the press was hoping for romance, although that was never very likely.”

Mr Fitzgerald, who still has a leather wallet which Mr Hayostek sent him as
a Christmas present during the 1950s, said that he would love to get back in
contact with his old friend and now intends to write to the Johnstown
Tribune-Democrat in an attempt to trace him.

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