A father and son have found a hurling ball from Northern Island on a beach in the Isle of Man.

James Franklin, from Culture Vannin, and his son Finn were out exploring an obscure bit of the coastline in Niarbyl when they came across the sliotar washed up with rubbish.

The ball had ‘Mac Uilín’ written on the side of it, and after a quick internet search the pair discovered it was the Irish Gaelic form of McQuillan, a club in Ballycastle, County Antrim.

Once found, James shared a photo of the ball on Twitter, tagging McQuillan in the post. They’ve since responded saying that it ‘went for a swim’.

James told how he and Finn were out walking when they came across the ball.

He said: ‘My son, Finn and I found it on Traie Harstal, down the coast from Niarbyl in Patrick.

‘This is an obscure bit of the coastline, far from any houses, down a sometimes precarious cliff-side, where the zig-zag path gives up at the end and you have to clamber down onto the rocks.

‘The whole place will be inaccessible in a few months, once the bracken is back; in the summer it is over head-height and the path is impassable.

‘We went down there just to be exploring the island.’

‘Inevitably, there was a lot of rubbish washed up, in which was this sliotar, or hurling ball.

‘We’ve found balls like this before, but not one which had the name of the club marked on the side; ‘Mac Uilín.’

‘A quick search revealed that this was the Irish Gaelic form of McQuillan, a club in Ballycastle.

‘Judging from the fact that it’s not very weathered, I imagine that the ball had only been at sea a week or so, so probably someone would remember who was responsible for it ending up in the sea.

‘So we thought it would be fun to let them know we’d found it, so I took some pictures there on the shore and tweeted them to ask if they’d lost it.

‘They tweeted it on, and it was picked up by Balls.ie, who report that they often hear of such washing up in Wales and elsewhere, but it was the first they’d heard of in the Isle of Man’

Unsure what to do next, James contacted Ball.ie, a hurling and football company, to let the club know that whoever lost the ball in the Irish Sea was welcome to come and collect.

‘I’ll keep it safe, otherwise, I’ll probably have it on hand on December 26, in case it’s needed as a stand-in at the annual cammag match.’

James posted the tweet in Manx Gaelic, which he is proud to be a learner of.

He added: ‘I’m very pleased to see the tweet gaining popularity online, and so raising awareness of both the Isle of Man and Manx Gaelic abroad.

‘I gave a translation of my tweet in reply to my original, knowing that Irish Gaelic speakers would be unlikely to be able to decipher it confidently.’

And surprisingly this isn’t the first time James has found Gaelic sports equipment on Manx shores.

He said that he discovered a Gaelic football on the shore not too long ago, but sadly it wasn’t marked as coming from anywhere in particular.

He and Finn now intend to keep a look out on the island’s beaches in case they come across any more lost property.

He said: ‘We’ll keep a look out for other such things in the future.

‘It’s nice to receive such cultural gifts from the west every now and again – a strange sort of connection, but one that makes it feels closer.’