Caught inland in the wooded valleys and hills of Glencar, this year’s silver and black goat is an ordinary-looking wild goat — small and sturdy and horned.
As well as presiding over the three-day festival, which begins on Sunday, this year’s King Puck is being 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 County Antrim. He’s the true king of the road.”
An estimated 80,000 people will visit the town which rises over the River Laune, where late-night bars, music on the streets, Irish dancing, hundreds of stalls and traditional horse and cattle fairs are part of the annual mix.
On Sunday, after a ceremonial parade through the town, the puck will be crowned by Puck Queen 2014, 12-year-old Rebecca Coffey from Sunhill in Killorglin.
He will be raised 60 feet over the town and live in a special cage for three days and three nights.
A spokesman yesterday said the goat was “royally treated” with regular veterinary inspections during his three-day 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 the First 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,” the spokesman said.