A black ribbon placed at the entrance to a creche told of a community's heartbreak yesterday.
The symbol was placed at the Ballinderreen Childcare Centre in south Galway following the tragic death of toddler Cian Heneghan on Wednesday.
Cian, who was almost two, got into difficulties after eating a healthy snack, which included carrot sticks, at the facility shortly before he was due to be collected.
It is thought that his airways became obstructed. Staff rushed to his aid in the dining room and an ambulance was called. A member of staff, trained in CPR, attempted the emergency procedure.
The toddler was rushed to University Hospital in Galway but despite sustained attempts at resuscitation he did not respond and was pronounced dead.
A parent, who did not wish to be identified, said he had arrived at the childcare centre to collect his child within minutes of the tragedy.
"I arrived at the same time as a few other parents and we knew something was wrong when the main gate was closed and we had to park outside on the road. We saw a garda car and a couple of gardai at the centre.
"Parents guessed immediately that something was wrong and we had to go in through the side door. We learned that there had been an incident with a child, but everyone thought that he would be all right.
"I think it happened in the dining room -- it was closed off when I got there.
"Everybody is just so upset at what has happened. Our hearts go out to the parents and family of the little boy and also to the staff at the centre -- they are all very professional and I'm sure they did all they could," said the parent.
Ciaran's parents Dara and Olive were away on a short break to Amsterdam when the tragedy struck and were given the news in the Dutch city.
They flew home early yesterday. The Heneghan family are well known in Ballinderreen and Dara -- a technician with Galway-Mayo IT -- and Olive live in nearby Kilcolgan. They also have a five-month-old daughter.
Gardai at Gort who attended the scene said they were treating the incident as a tragic accident.