Coming up in Kerry this weekend from Friday 10 to Sunday 12th august, is one of Irelands oldest and most unique of festivals – Puck Fair – where for over three days in the small town of Killorglin a goat is declared king and the locals are encouraged to act the goat. Originally called the Gathering Day and the oldest Gathering Festival in Ireland and run for a documented 400 years, Puck Fair is three days of celebration and fun in a unique festival premise, with a wild billygoat the centre of attention.
How a humble mountain goat became the centre of festivities is varied and dependant on history and with some suggestions it began as a tribute to Pan/Puck the pagan god of fertility. Another popular origin story is that when Cromwell and his army were pillaging the countryside they disturbed some wild mountain goats, one of whom taking flight ran away from his herd and down to the locals in Killorglin alerting them of the approaching danger. In recognition of the part that wild mountain billy goat played in saving the locals lives back then, a special festival was put in place in his honour. So early each year in august a local wild mountain billygoat is captured, crowned king of Killorglin for three days and nights as celebrations and festivities in his honour follow.
And what celebrations! Throughout the three days experience the unique coronation ceremony and parade, see a horse fair and a cattle fair in keeping with the rural tradition and listen to live music from amongst others Camembert Quartet, the Electric Ceili Band and a Garth Brooks tribute act. The carnival atmosphere will bring a number of family friendly entertainment, street traders, street artists, a craft fair, buskers, face painters, a pet show, bonny babies, puppet theatre, many music sessions and Ireland’s premier funfair Euroshow. Add in family entertainment such as day and night concerts, storytelling, traditional music sessions and dancers, music and dance workshops and midnight madness fireworks and you have a party.
And overlooking all the festivities will be the three day king of the fair, the chosen Billy goat who presiding over the many activities and events from his throne in this uniquely Irish show encourages everyone to have fun and act the goat. Discovering Ireland vacations at their best!