The annual three-day Puck Fair drew to a close last night with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Laune in Killorglin.
While the number of overseas visitors and returning emigrants said to be up this year overall, locals estimate crowds at around 15,000 a day — slightly down on previous years.
This year’s festival was lighthearted and ended the way it began: A frantic search for the goat’s crown took place on Monday, after it was realised the coronation crown was halfway to Cahersiveen in the back of a van.
Several renditions of ‘An Poc ar Buile’ later, courtesy of the legendary Seán O’Sé (aged 82), the crown arrived so the ceremony by 12-year-old Queen of Puck Ciara O’Brien could be completed.
“Only in Puck,” joked local lady Eimir Irwin O’Sé who waited with her children Abigail, Liam, and Peter, during the anxious search for the crown.
Fair organisers — who are under pressure from the animal rights organisation Aran to take the goat out of the fair — said this year’s white goat, captured some weeks ago near Castlegregory, was a huge attraction.
“He was given the royal treatment. He is grazing on cabbage, water, and branches from ash trees, which are a delicacy for goats, and is checked on at regular intervals by his handlers to ensure there is adequate space, food, and water,” a spokeswoman said.
“Local registered vet Gary Landers conducted a number of examinations over the past few days and confirmed there is no physical or psychological damage, in his expert opinion.”
This year the goat was brought on a walkabout on the second day of the festival. “King Puck had visitors from early morning yesterday, and went for a walkabout to meet his adoring fans in the early afternoon, who congratulated him on his coronation. He spent the rest of the day grazing and looking relaxed from his heights, as residents and visitors of Killorglin enjoyed freedom of the town,” the spokeswoman said.
The Queen and her man in waiting, Tyler O’Sullivan, have a tight schedule over the three days, and their responsibilities include crowning the goat, judging the bonny baby contest and the fancy dress contest, and meeting and greeting their fans.
Meanwhile, a brief search for the owner of a set of false teeth ended happily. The man had left his teeth in the toilet area of Kingston’s Bar and had not realised he was missing them. He was successfully reunited with them after a member of staff identified the owner.
Gardaí said apart from a few public order offences, there were no serious incidents.
Most of the stalls at the fair will move on to Kenmare, for the town’s annual Pattern Day of August 15, The Feast of the Assumption, a huge gathering point for the people of Beara, Ballyvourney, Killarney, and south Kerry.