Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Annual festival of drinking, music, and goat-coronation

Puck Fair takes place in the town of Killorglin in Kerry next week. This annual festival, dating from ancient pre-Christian times, consists of drinking, music, and goat-worship. It is not to be confused with the Puck Fair bar in NoHo in New York City, which only features two of those three attractions.

This year the goat which is crowned the King of Puck Fair is a goat called Billy from the north of Ireland (Ballycastle). So he'll be "King Billy" for a week. And ironically it was Sinn Fein which helped King Billy get down to Kerry.

The Irish Times reports:

Seamus Blaney, a councillor on Moyle District council, and the Ballycastle goat catcher accompanied the goat to Killorglin and will return to collect him on August 13th before his visa date expires, Frank Joy, Killorglin’s chief goat catcher explained.

He and Mr Blaney hatched the idea of bringing the puck 365 miles south last St Patrick’s day at a get together between Ireland’s three oldest fairs, Puck Fair, Lammas Fair and Ballinasloe Fair to mark thirty years of co-operation..

“The King in waiting in peak shape. Teddy Clifford [local vet] has checked him out thoroughly We have him indoors in quarantine. He is a very nice goat, a beautiful goat. I have never seen one like him.”

In fact the goat is so beautiful he is being very closely watched in case he is lured away into the Kerry hills by local she-goats, Mr Joy confessed.

“We are actually keeping a closer eye on this puck than normal,” Mr Joy said. As well as herbs and hay the goat is receiving a special goat mix from the local Kerry Ingredients store in Killorglin.

“I also want to thank the Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris for sorting out his majesty’s visa papers for us,” Mr Joy said.

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