Puck Fair Organisers Announce Change in Role of Wild Goat
The organisers of Puck Fair have revealed a significant change in the role of the wild goat in this year’s festival. Puck Fair, a three-day annual event in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, has a history dating back over 400 years. During the festival, a male mountain goat is crowned ‘King Puck’ and placed on a raised platform in the town. However, last year, concerns were raised about the goat’s welfare in the hot weather. The Puck Fair Organising Committee has now announced that the goat will be crowned and raised for a short period on the opening evening of the fair, before making a brief reappearance for his dethroning ceremony on the final day. This marks a significant departure from the tradition of King Puck remaining on his stand for the entire three days of the festival.
Speaking at the launch of the 2023 festival, Declan Falvey, chairperson of the organising committee, emphasized the importance of the event to the town. He stated, “It’s a special few days for Killorglin and its diaspora to come together and celebrate the town’s history and traditions, and we look forward to welcoming people from across the globe back to Killorglin this August. We are a festival steeped in longstanding traditions, but equally, we acknowledge that traditions can and should evolve where there is good reason to do so. While King Puck will still be a major part of the festival, this year his role has evolved. The goat’s welfare has always been and remains of paramount importance to the committee and all of those that love Puck Fair.”
To ensure the welfare of the goat, a vet will oversee and check on him before, during, and after his involvement with the fair, as has been the practice in previous years. The committee is committed to ensuring that the goat is well taken care of throughout the event.
The festival, which will take place from August 10-12, is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors to Killorglin. The town relies heavily on the economic boost provided by Puck Fair, making it a significant event for the local community and surrounding areas.
In response to the changes, Kerry county councillor Michael Cahill has expressed his support for the Puck Fair committee while acknowledging the concerns raised. He stated, “Locally, we all know that there is no wild animal better treated in Ireland than the annual Killorglin puck goat. Feelings are running very high around the Killorglin/mid and south Kerry region because of this decision, as Puck has been part of all our lives growing up. We could not envisage life without King Puck, and of course, it is upsetting to see it threatened in any way. Puck Fair is the oldest festival in Ireland, running for well over 400 years, and has contributed enormously to the local economy of the town and surrounding areas. This wonderful, hardworking, and caring organising committee deserves all our support in ensuring Puck Fair returns to its former glory.”
The change in the role of the wild goat in Puck Fair is a reflection of the committee’s commitment to the welfare of the animal. While traditions are important, it is equally important to adapt and evolve when necessary. The continued oversight of a vet ensures that the goat’s well-being remains a top priority. As the festival approaches, the town of Killorglin eagerly anticipates the return of Puck Fair and the celebration of its history and traditions.