The Puck Fair
The Puck Fair in Ireland is one of the island's oldest festivals thought to date back to the 4th century and was originally part of the Celtic harvest festival, Lughnasa. From Slate.com "During this ancient celebration, a wild male goat (known as a puck) is crowned king of the town for three days before being returned to his normal life in the Irish hills, his royalty all but ignored by his fellow goats. The festival begins each year on Aug. 10, when the captured goat is brought to the town square where he is crowned by the “Queen of Puck,” who is not another goat, but a young girl from the town. His worldly station raised, “King Puck” is then put in a cage on a high scaffold where he may survey his kingdom for the duration of the festival. The bars are allowed to stay open extra-late during the fair, so his majesty generally gets to see some drunkenness. At the end of the three days, the king goat is deposed and led back to into the wilderness." -Sounds like fun, right? The Puck Fair is celebrating 403 years of documented festivals and although some animal welfare groups have called for an end of the tradition of crowing the goat king, the festival, which runs from August 10-12, is more popular than ever with more than 10,000 people gathering in the small town of Killorglin for the festivities. The first day of Puck Fair is called The Gathering and includes the Coronation Ceremony. The Goat King and the Maiden Queen are paraded through town, before being crowned, kicking off 3 days of festivities. The Gathering is also the oldest running horse fair in Ireland. People travel from all over the country to show, buy and sell horses and tack. Photo by dochara.com[/caption] The second day of Puck Fair is called Fair day and it's a full blown carnival complete with cotton candy, crafts, and a Cattle Fair. The third day is called The Scattering. The Goat King is lead back up the mountain to rejoin his herd and is followed by a grand parade. The festivities conclude with a massive fireworks display. I think that we can all agree that if you're going to be in Ireland in August, you're going to go the The Puck Festival, right? It's not every day that you can meet a goat king.