Treasure Ireland: Erin!

Ah! Goodbye Erin!

We were so tempted to keep her and suffer the fees and hassles of Ryanair to get her to Scotland…but no. We bought a guitar in Cork over a month ago and we knew we’d leave it in Dublin.

James and Erin playing in front of Malahide Castle

We are not going to riddle this one at all. Someone (preferably a musician) please rescue Erin! We left her in the care of the reception at St. Michan’s Church. James’ highlight of Dublin (five years ago) was going into the crypt below the church to “shake hands” with the mummified remains of an 800 year-old crusader. It was once tradition to rub the finger of such a corpse for good luck, and the tour guide still allows people to do so.

James descends into St. Michan’s crypt to see an old friend

Both of us shook his hand this time and we decided it was the right place to leave our beloved guitar. Putting it on the back of the James Joyce statue near “the Stiffy on the Liffey” intersection of O’Connell Street was a close second…

Just go to St. Michan’s Church and ask at the desk for the guitar. We only ask that Erin stay in Ireland. Add stickers from the counties you visit and sign the back with the marker we left in the case. When you are about to leave, please give her to someone else in need of a musical travelling companion. Her voice may not be strong, but it’s beautiful!

Counties for which we couldn't find (or forgot to buy) stickers

Brice doesn't want to let her go

Goodbye Erin!


Treasure Ireland: Dublin

We wanted to hide this one in Belfast at the Crown, but the pub lacked good hiding places…and it had a lot of CCTV cameras. So, it’s at Isaac’s Hostel in Dublin.

A room of silence,

Near that of sport,

In deadened warmth

The deck is port.

Treasure Ireland: Galway

We hid treasure in Galway, but to get the clue (it’s a treasure map), you have to go to Salmon Weir hostel and shake hands with Mr. Mule. Robbie and Sam are gatekeepers of the map. Pass the test and the treasure is yours to find. Good luck!

Treasure Ireland FOUND: Couch Surfing Cork

As per our instructions, Keira, Ronan, and Brian gave a tin whistle to the next person to couch surf with them. And we know her! It was Kate, passing through Cork again. It couldn’t have gone to a better person. Congratulations Kate!

Treasure Ireland: Doolin

Here’s a math clue for the treasure we hid during our time in Doolin:

Bonne chance!

Treasure Ireland: Couch Surfing Cork

FOUND: Tin Whistle!

We left treasure with Keira, Ronan, and Brian for the next person to couch surf with them. This will be advertised on as well. Hopefully, that person will contact us once it’s found so we can take it off the list.

Treasure Ireland: Kinsale

Kinsale is a quaint fishing village about 50 minutes south of Cork. Our couch surfing hosts recommended it to us for its beauty and its seafood. We arrived in the afternoon and walked around a seawall towards the 17th century star-shaped Charles Fort which once served to guard the harbour. It is 3km away: a walk that was lovelier on the way back thanks to the reflected rays of the descending sun.

Kinsale's Harbour

We didn’t pay to go inside Charles Fort; instead, we walked around its walls and spontaneously decided to bury treasure. We left 4 Euros (for one adult admission or two student admissions to Charles Fort) and our business card in a plastic baggy stuffed into a low wall outside of the Fort’s main walls. The walls here create pathways that lead down to the water around the left side of the Fort. We know this one is obscure and doubt anyone reading our blog will go and find it. Instead, we expect someone to notice the plastic bag sticking out of the wall by accident. Hopefully they will contact us so we can take it off the list when it’s found. If not, maybe we’ll have to recollect it years from now on our next Irish adventure (when the price of admission has doubled…).

Stand in this exact spot and the treasure is next to your right foot.

Another option for the money is to buy a pint at Bulman, the restaurant at the bottom of the hill, where patrons spill out onto the wall overlooking the ocean. We wanted to stop there, but had to catch our bus back to Cork. We had the excellent value “seafood bites” at Dino’s, a restaurant closer to the bus stop, to sample various fish from the area.

And James still had time to kiss a mermaid before the bus arrived.

Treasure Ireland: “Bran”

Found! We messed up at first, but we managed to find the treasure left by our friend Jessica when she visited Cork last month. It was just her library card, but she promises to trade it for something else later. Maybe like the red paper clip guy who eventually ended up with a house.

The clue she left us was but a single word: “bran”. It took me (James) about 10 minutes online when I was still in Canada to figure out where it was. The word “bran” in Irish means raven (my favourite bird). At first I thought it was in the Raven Pub, but with a look at Jessica’s Facebook photos from Ireland, I saw the definition of “bran” on the description card of an Ogham standing stone that looked like it was in a museum. I was confident that it was in the Cork Public Museum, so Brice and I waited until out last day in Cork to go and find it.

I was wrong.


The Public Museum is closed because of flooding. At first we thought the standing stone was still inside, but then found out the museum had been closed since November. Jess could not have hidden it there. I knew she had been at a medieval studies conference in Cork, so we went to the university and stared at the map looking for a museum. Nothing. The word “Ogham” seemed vaguely familiar and we, on that hunch, went to that spot on the map. As soon as we walked into the building we knew we were in the right place. We scanned the description plaques on the standing stones lining the walls for the Raven and quickly found the right one.


I stood on my toes and plucked her library card from the dusty top of the stone.

Thanks Jess for kick-starting Treasure Ireland!

We have already hidden two items of treasure: one in Cork and one in Kinsale. We’re giving our excellent couch surfing hosts a head start on the Cork one – it’s intended for them. But the Kinsale prize is up for grabs. Honestly, it’s not easy to get, so we imagine it will be found by accident someday…maybe even years later.

Also, we’d like to note that we are in no way responsible / liable for any injury incurred when in the pursuit of treasures we’ve left. We’re fine, so please be careful!