I had the honour today of joining Galway County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Jimmy McLearn to unveil a very rare fossil that dates back to the Carboniferous period, some 340 million years ago.
The Phanerotinus Cristatus was discovered in a wall in Tuam by Galway-based Chartered Surveyor and geology enthusiast Brendan Arrigan in 2017.
The fossil was a gigantic snail which lived on the sea floor at a time when Ireland was close to the equator and covered by a warm tropical sea.
Only 15 fossils of its kind have been found worldwide and they are only to be found in a band of limestone stretching across Britain and Ireland.
The Tuam fossil is particularly special because we have both pieces of the rock originally split by a stonemason. They show the fossil itself and its counterpart impression.
We were joined for the ceremony at Tuam Library by Matthew Parkes from the Natural History Museum, Koen Verbruggen from Geoscience Ireland and Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer with Galway County Council.
Special thanks should also be made to Johnny Cloonan, on whose land the fossil was found.
The fossil will be placed on public display at the Galway County Council Office in High Street, Tuam, for a period of time and also at a branch of the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.