Complex imge with elements depicting the Puck Fair. Background is mountainous landscape. Inserts showing scenes from town and sces from fair both in modern day and historically, a pint of Guinness, 'Queen Puck' crowned and dressed in white with a goat, and a wild goat on the mountaintop. Text elements describe the history of the festival and its associations 'Fun' 'Dancing' inging' 'Drinking' 'Happiness' and 'World Wide Visitors' with currency symbols.


uhi west highland

Puck Fair County Kerry in Eire

This event takes place in Killorglin, Ireland but is included here in connection with the UHI West Highland Creative Arts programme.

For this pagan festival in August local villagers capture a new wild mountain goat. The goat is ‘crowned’, put atop a high stand at the centre of the fair for three days (where he is fed and watered by animal lovers) and then returned to the wild when his role as temporary ruler over this small Kerry town is fulfilled. A final year primary school girl is chosen to be crowned “Queen Puck” following a written selection process.

This festival is the main social, economic and cultural event in the Killorglin calendar. Kerry is both starkly and stunningly beautiful but also traditional and different because it is so rural. In Killorglin it is common for the local pubs to have a secondary business such as a hardware store, a grocery store or a corner shop.

On the eve of the fair visitors from across the country outnumber the Killorglin population of 2000 as guests arrive to welcome their temporary new king. There are also many worldwide visitors that attend the fair.

Three days of parades ensue with live traditional music, pipe and drum workshops, street performers, dancing and singing. There is a large amount of eating and an even larger amount of drinking! A variety of competitions fill each day and night and in the mornings there are sales of horses, cattle and pigs. On the final afternoon there is a children’s donkey race through the village.

As told by an anonymous contributor

Image: Acrylics on hardboard with some collage.

This story and image were submitted as part of a collaboration with the UHI West Highland Creative Arts programme.