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Gaillimh - The Heron - Centre

The heron is a familiar sight along the West Coast of Ireland, but is especially dear and familiar to the people of Galway. Here one can find a family of herons that live along the rocky shores of Lough Atalia and the Claddagh and are frequently known to visit the City to fish in the River Corrib and to keep a bright beady eye on the Galwegians. To many the Heron, who is known affectionately as Jimmy to some, is seen as a representative of Mother Nature, a Spiritual guardian of the ground upon which Galway City is built.

There are many legends and tales which feature the heron, who is a member of the Stork Clan. The bird has always been regarded as a messenger from the spirit world and has strong associations with the Túatha Dé Danann. Galway is named for Gaillimh, a princess of the Túatha Dé Danann; Lough Corrib is dedicated to the Sea God, Manannan Mac Lir.

A special pouch for carrying magical items was called the Crane Bag. This was made from the skin of Manannan's daughter Aoife who had been transformed into the shape of a heron. The great spiritual leader and scribe Columba had a pet heron who stood beside him as he worked and flew before him on his journeys. The same heron pecked the eye from a monk who was spying through a keyhole on Columba as he copied one of Finian's books in secret.