A MAN in his 60s was killed in a mobile home fire that broke out in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The body of Micheal O Cualain, who was single, was recovered from the remnants of the mobile home where he was living at Corr na Ron, Inverin, Connemara.
Local people raised the alarm when they saw smoke just off the main Galway-Carraroe road at about 1am.
Three units of Galway Fire Brigade raced to the scene and fought the blaze for more than two hours.
The remains of Mr O Cualain, known locally as Maidhc Pheadar Sheainin, or 'Beir', were removed to Galway University Hospital for a post-mortem examination.
An inquest into his death will be held at a later date.
Gardai sealed off the scene of the tragedy and were yesterday carrying out a full forensic examination.
The mobile home was gutted and reduced to wreckage by the intensity of the blaze.
It was not immediately apparent how the blaze started but it is not thought to be suspicious.
Gardai based at Salthill are appealing for any witnesses to the blaze to contact them at 091-521333 as part of their investigation.
The tragedy has cast a shadow over the entire Connemara area, which has seen the return home of many exiles for the holiday period.
Prayers were said throughout the Irish-speaking area for Mr O Cualain at masses yesterday, where many locals were hearing the news of the tragedy for the first time.
Sinn Fein senator Trevor O Clochartaigh expressed his sympathy to the family and friends of Mr O Cualain on their loss in such a tragic manner.
"The loss of life in such circumstances is always tragic and especially so at this time of year," Sen O Clochartaigh said.
"Gaeltacht communities are close-knit and a loss such as this can hit particularly hard," he added.
"I would like to thank the efforts of the emergency services and gardai, who work so tirelessly to keep us safe throughout the year.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people to be extra vigilant to the threat of house fires around Christmas and to ask neighbours to check in on those living alone around them. Hopefully in the future, we can cut the risk of tragedies like this recurring."