Colby and Molly Patchin never expected to get their point-and-shoot camera back after it fell off the roof of their rental car in western Ireland earlier this month.
The Meridian couple and their 9-month-old daughter, Olivia, were on their way to the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, on Oct. 7 when they forgot the camera was on the car.
Later, when they discovered it missing, they figured it had fallen to the side of Route 478 and was likely in some tall grass that would make it nearly impossible to find. The road was fairly narrow and Colby Patchin said he wouldn’t have felt safe walking along it for what was probably an impossible task.
“We didn’t figure anyone would find it,” said Patchin, who owns Boise Pottery on North Orchard Street.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
They left word at a nearby visitor center just in case, but never heard anything. Until Tuesday night, that is, when a photo of the family found on the camera was posted on Facebook and several people recognized Molly.
“Someone recognized the hat I was wearing as a Boise State hat and they ended up tagging the Boise State Broncos in the post, and within a few hours, she had probably four or five text messages from her sister and friends and her brother-in-law saying they had seen it,” Colby Patchin said.
The most fortunate thing was that the camera was found at all. It was located a mile or two from the Cliffs of Moher, which flank the Atlantic Ocean.
“It was in a pretty remote area of Ireland and this gal just happened to be backpacking across Europe with a friend and they walked from this little port town where you take the boats to go see the Cliffs of Moher tour. They were walking from that town to the cliffs the next day and happened to see it in the grass along the side of the road,” Colby Patchin said. “It was actually quite a ways from the parking lot that we had left from.”
Luckily, the Patchins had a larger digital SLR camera with them, so they were still able to take photos during their trip. But the smaller camera, used by Molly, had other photos from Ireland and from a trip they took earlier in the year.
It might take another month before the woman who found the camera finishes her backpacking trip and is able to send the camera back. The Patchins are going to have her download the images first and send them electronically in case something happens to the camera in transit.
“That way, in case it gets lost in the mail, we still have the photos,” Colby Patchin said.
He said he’s thankful the woman worked to find the camera’s owner and glad he wore such a distinctive cap in the photo.
“I may have to start wearing hats more often,” he said.