King Puck keeps keen eye on rare old-style cattle fair

The rare sight nowadays of an old-style cattle fair on the street distracted attention from the goat at Puck Fair yesterday.

King Puck keeps keen eye on rare old-style cattle fair

Around 200 cattle were corralled in pens along a 200m stretch of Langford St in Killorglin in full view of the goat, already controversially crowned King Puck, and he seemed oblivious to the trading as he sat on his lofty perch.

While farmers were dealing, tourists tip-toeing around the cow dung seemed curious as to what it was all about, given that the overwhelming majority of livestock are now traded through marts.

“The mart is certainly less hassle — the fair is a tradition more than anything else. But the cattle are selling and prices aren’t bad,’’ said Donal O’Connell, a young local farmer.

Proceedings in the Kerry town got under way at around 5.30am and went on under the eyes of Department of Agriculture officials.

The inevitable mess on the street and footpaths, exacerbated by heavy showers, was later cleaned up by Kerry County Council water tankers. Last evening, the street was again ready to receive thousands of revellers.

Pat Healy, events safety officer and the person in charge of logistics at Puck Fair, said Langford St residents were “very tolerant’’ in relation to the cattle fair and looked on it as part of the tradition of Puck.

Revellers had been well-behaved and Mr Healy said there was a “nice, grámhar crowd’’ around, with a huge attendance on Sunday. Gardaí reported one public order arrest on Sunday night.

Indeed, one of the smallest creatures at the fair — a feisty chihuahua draped in Manchester United gear — seemed to be the most dangerous, snapping at everything that moved.

Puck Fair has a time-honoured reputation as a drinking festival, which is a bonanza for Killorglin’s 16 pubs.

Local councillor Michael Cahill (Ind) leased a premises in Upper Bridge St which opened in time for the fair, and has called it the Dáil Bar.

Photographs of leading politicians are on the walls and people and politicians of all hues have been dropping in.

“While people might love or hate politicians, most have an interest in politics and enjoy a good debate. They’re all here, including Mná na hÉireann,’’ Mr Cahill said, as he rushed off to look after customers.

On the streets, the smell of chips and burgers blends with the whiff of alcohol, but the menu is getting more varied and includes Puck noodles. The verdict on the noodles? “They’re puckin’ great,’’ declared one satisfied customer.

The three-day event closes tonight with a fireworks display.

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