Tuesday 20 February 2018

King Puck begins three-day reign over Kingdom town

Queen of Puck Rebecca Coffey crowns King Puck in the town of Killorglin. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Queen of Puck Rebecca Coffey crowns King Puck in the town of Killorglin. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Anne Lucey

Thousands of tourists gathered to witness as royalty was crowned in Kerry at the annual Puck Fair.

The Killorglin fair, which has roots spanning back to pagan times, kicked off its 401st celebration this year when the Queen of Puck Fair, 12-year-old Rebecca Coffey, crowned a wild mountain goat as King Puck.

As crowds thronged the streets to enjoy the parade of floats, musicians and dancers, King Puck was raised on a stand where he will remain for three days and nights.

Thousands of Puck Fair fans got into the swing of things, wearing T-shirts proclaiming " Oh-Puck" and enjoying the numerous stalls that lined the streets.

But while many tourists were there to see the regal mountain goat, for serious traders the focus was on a very different four-legged beast. The annual horse fair was also in full swing, attracting dealers from all over the region. While the numbers attending this year's horse fair were, up trading was said to be down, with prices not hitting heights of the Celtic Tiger era. Over 80,000 people will visit the fair over the next three days, with the event estimated by organisers to bring €10m into the local economy.

However, the event is not without controversy. Animal rights action group Aran hit out at the fair, which sees the goat hoisted 60ft in the air, and vowed that this would be the last year it would happen.

"We have reached out to authorities in Kerry and officials at the Department of Agriculture, but all have ignored what is clearly going to be a terrified and suffering animal," John Carmody, Aran spokesman said. "Aran will work to ensure that this goat is the last to be used for this hideous stunt."

Irish Independent

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