Puck Fair underway in Ireland

Today is the last day of the Puck Fair, a huge annual 3-day event in County Kerry, Ireland. The Puck Fair involves singing, dancing, drinking, and a very special goat.

This is my kind of fair. It takes place in the small town of Killorglin (pop. 1,539). Every year, from August 10-12, Killorglin is flooded with more than 100,000 visitors. According to Wikipedia, the Puck Fair is the oldest traditional fair in Ireland (whatever that means), and it’s one of the oldest non-religious fairs in the world.

And the guest of honor is a wild goat.

Here’s how it goes down:

A group of Killorglin residents head up into the nearby mountains and catch a wild goat. They bring the goat back to the town, where the anointed Queen of Puck Fair (a local elementary school girl) crowns the goat as King Puck. They put the goat in the cage (seems like sort of an inhumane way to treat King Puck, but who am I to judge), and the party festival begins. There are parades, a horse fair, a cattle fair, music, drinking, eating, and more. It goes on for three days, culminating in a fireworks show on the last night. And, yes, of course they set King Puck free at the end of the fair.

I have never been to Ireland. I plan to go someday. Yes I look forward most to Dublin, and also Galway, and traveling through the scenic green Irish countryside. But someday I also hope to be in old Killorglin for three days in the middle of August, so I can witness for myself what is surely one of the world’s great goat-centered festivals.

Photo: IrishFireside via Flickr (CC license)

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