Forensic experts are combing a beach today after a human skull was found by rescue workers helping flood victims.
Coast Guard teams working near the Co Galway town of Clifden made the grisly discovery.
Gardai were called and the skull photographed and taken to University Hospital Galway for an examination by a pathologist.
It may be several weeks before experts will know more, but it's understood the skull belonged to an adult.
Specialist DNA tests will be carried out and dental records examined in an effort to identify the remains.
Officers were expected to return to the scene of the find today to search for other the possibility of other remains.
A Coast Guard spokesman said volunteers were working to help flood victims when the discovery was made.
“The Cleggan Coast Guard unit had been helping to remove flood victims and were removing cars from the sand on a beach beside Tully Pier when human remains were found,” said the spokesman.
It's understood Gardai are working on the theory that the skull may have been buried in the sands and had come to the surface because of the high tide and strong winds.
Local councillor Eileen Mannion said local people were concerned.
“Like everyone else we are shocked at this discovery. I know tests are due to take place and a further search of the beach is planned,” she said.