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Ireland’s Ancient Festival – Puck Fair

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend Ireland’s oldest festival, Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co. Kerry next week were a wild goat is crowned and worshipped for the three-day festival, as “King Puck.”  The festival, which runs from August 10 to 12 is said to have roots in 4th century pagan Ireland when the goat was a symbol of pagan fertility and, also to the Celtic festival of Lughnasa, which symbolizes the beginning of harvest. 

The local goat catcher (yes, that is a thing) goes into the local mountains to catch a wild goat and bring him back to town to be crowned King Puck and as of 2016 he also has the title King of the Wild Atlantic Way.  One of the local school girls will be crowned Queen Puck, and to get this title the locals enter a story competition where the winner becomes Queen.  Together they lead the colorful parade down the center of town to start three days of music and revelry.      

Many locals who attend the fair wear costumes which range from traditional Irish clothing to anything crazy someone can make at home.  The fiddles are singing, the bodhrans are pounding and the Guinness is flowing as the townspeople mix with those from all over Kerry, Ireland and the rest of the world.  The highlight of the festival is the Horse Fair which happens on the second day and is an experience like no other.  One of the oldest horse fairs in the country, it features a group of people - young and old - who go to the festival to trade, buy and sell all things horse-related.  The three is called The Scattering Day, which sees the King being released from his duties and returning to freedom in the hillside.  Everyone else continues the celebrations well into the night.

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