Wednesday 26 April 2017

King Puck is crowned as protests fail to hit festival

Queen of the Puck Fair Ciara O’Brien crowns a wild mountain goat as King Puck in the square in Killorglin, Co Kerry, yesterday. Photo: Don Mac Monagle
Queen of the Puck Fair Ciara O’Brien crowns a wild mountain goat as King Puck in the square in Killorglin, Co Kerry, yesterday. Photo: Don Mac Monagle
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

A wild goat has been crowned king in Killorglin in the time-honoured tradition that spans over 400 years, despite the concerns of animal welfare groups.

King Puck 2015 will reign for the next two days as upwards of 15,000 visitors are expected to descend on the Co Kerry town to sample the atmosphere of the country's oldest fair.

Veteran singer Sean ó Sé (80) belted out his most famous song 'An Puc Ar Buille' as the animal was hoisted to his throne, some 40 feet above the square.

Animal welfare group ARAN had called off its intended protest the previous day, citing threats of violence, but their concerns did not deter revellers.

Puck Fair regular Richard Neill, from Limerick, thinks any animal welfare concerns are "nonsense".

"If I was a goat, I'd love to be looked after so well for a few days," he told the Irish Independent.

Patrick Fenner and his wife Philomena, from Clontarf, were visiting Puck for the first time with their daughter Lisa and granddaughters Roseanna (9) and Aimee (7). When asked what kept him so long, he said he lived in London up until his retirement.

Eden and Jonathon Zion, from Jerusalem, adjusted their holiday to visit the famous festival.

"It's amazing," Eden said. "We wanted to come here because it's a special thing to see."

Warm weather boosted numbers and for the traders business is getting back to what it was before the recession.

Eugene Monaghan, from Dublin, said he could see things beginning to turn for the first time.

"We're slowly getting back to how busy it used to be and I'd say we could be back up to what it was like next year," he said.

And the crowds flocked to see Madam Rose O'Brien, who has been telling fortunes at Puck Fair for 42 years.

Local Sergeant John Twiss says his job is made easier by an organised committee and a team of volunteer stewards.

"Working at Puck is great fun," he said. "The pubs are open until 3am, but it's well policed and peaceful."

The first day of Puck Fair is The Gathering, today is the Fair Day and tomorrow is The Scattering.

Chairman Declan Mangan said on that day you'd find nothing more scattered than a person from Killorglin after three days of Puck.

Festivities continued into the night with a goat as King and only the people left to act the goat.

Irish Independent

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