Caged King Puck will rise above Killorglin fun

Goat will be suspended 60ft above town in cage for three days during Puck Fair

Pat Cahill and John McGrath at Dingle Bay in Co Kerry with the captured wild mountain goat that will be crowned King Puck. Photograph: Don Macmonagle

Pat Cahill and John McGrath at Dingle Bay in Co Kerry with the captured wild mountain goat that will be crowned King Puck. Photograph: Don Macmonagle

Wed, Aug 6, 2014, 01:00

The 401st King of Killorglin was presented to the press yesterday at a ceremonial unveiling on Rossbeigh Strand. He will be raised 60ft over the town and live in a special cage for three days and three nights during Puck Fair.

Caught on the hills of Glencar, this year’s silver-and-black King Puck is an ordinary-looking wild one. He is small, sturdy and horned.

As well as presiding over the festival that begins on Sunday, King Puck will be used as a mascot or “King of the Road” for the Wild Atlantic Way tourism route stretching the length of the island of Ireland.

Chairman of Puck Fair Declan Mangan said: “King Pucks down the years have been found on mountains from Mount Brandon right up to Ballycastle in Co Antrim. He’s the true king of the road.”

During the festival an estimated 80,000 people will visit the town, which rises over the river Laune. Late bars, music on the streets, Irish dancing, stalls and traditional horse and cattle fairs are part of the annual mix.

On Sunday, after a parade through the town, the Puck will be crowned by Puck Queen 2014, 12-year-old Rebecca Coffey from Sunhill in Killorglin.

‘Royally treated’

A spokesman yesterday said the goat is “royally treated” with regular veterinary inspections during his reign.

The cage, introduced last year for the fair’s 400th anniversary, has been approved by vets and by the Department of Agriculture, the spokesman said.

The 2014 programme will also feature free workshops in children’s circus skills and Irish dance as well as the Birds Euroshow fun fair, a daily treasure hunt, craft market and the Guinness music trail.

Puck Fair’s origins are believed to go well beyond 400 years ago but the first written reference is a charter from James I in 1613 which grants Jenkins Conway, the local landlord at the time, the right to collect a sum for every animal brought to the August fair held in the town. “This would suggest that the fair was something already well established in the local community,” a spokesman said.

For more information on this year’s festival got to puckfair.ie.