Tuesday 6 December 2016

Catcher takes Puck by the horns to crown new king

Published 03/08/2011 | 05:00

HE was the hardest one to catch in living memory -- but the goat that would be king is now learning some manners ahead of his coronation next week.

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It took 10 grown men and women three days to eventually capture the wild goat at Cappanloea in south Kerry at the weekend.

They finally arrived back bruised and battered with the goat in tow, and gave him a suitable name for a leader -- Enda.

Enda will spend the next 10 days on the farm of goat catcher Frank Joy before he is crowned next week in front of thousands of onlookers at the annual Puck Fair in Killorglin.

Mr Joy has been the main goat catcher for more than 20 years and said he never experienced such difficulty catching a goat.

"It was very difficult because we were in very rough terrain along by Caragh Lake and there were a lot of cliffs," said Mr Joy.

"Mrs Foley allowed us through her land but she was very worried because she had never seen a puck being caught down there.

"In fairness, she was frightened for our safety and her son Jerry came with us. They were very helpful."

Eventually, the group was able to corner the wild goat on the side of a cliff and slip the lead around his neck.

"Once you've that done they'll travel away with you and we were able to put him on the trailer and bring him back to my farm."

Enda has been enjoying life in captivity since then. He sleeps in a pen at night and has even made friends with an old Irish feral goat on the Joy farm.

"He's not very big but he certainly is wild," Mr Joy added. "He's a beautiful animal with a grey-blue coat.

"They can become depressed very quickly but he's getting along fine and is getting used to being handled ahead of Puck Fair.

"Our local vet Teddy Clifford will give him an injection, check his feet and make sure he's fit for the fair. He'll be in better shape going back than he was when he came in."

Catching a goat is becoming increasingly difficult as the number of wild goats dwindles.

"They're being taken off the mountain for some reason. Some people say it's for bodhran making but there were about 20 wild goats on Rossbeigh mountain some time ago. Now there are only eight."

The Puck Fair will celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2013.

Irish Independent

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