Saturday 10th August marked the beginning of one of Ireland’s most famous annual spectacles; Puck Fair. From the palpable excitement at the early morning Horse Fair to the thousands of people that braved the elements and turned out in force to witness Killorglin’s famous Coronation Parade and Ceremony, it’s safe to say that Puck Fair 2019 has not disappointed.
Ireland’s oldest festival, which dates as far back as the early 17th century, ran over the course of three days (Saturday 10th to Monday 12th August) and saw visitors from at home and abroad descend upon the charming Co. Kerry town to witness the coronation of a wild goat as King Puck, who reigned over Killorglin until Monday 12th, and then saw him return to his mountain home. Those in attendance were glad they visited, given the jam-packed programme of free entertainment on offer over the course of the festival, including street performances, music and dance workshops, fancy dress competitions, food stalls, live music and much more.
The first day of Puck Fair 2019 was particularly poignant given the recent battles faced by the committee, who were met with uncertainty over the future of the festival this year for the first time in its lengthy history. Soaring insurance costs meant that funds for the overall running of the event were dwindling, jeopardising its reputation for providing three days of free family fun to the thousands that visit each year. With mounting bills and significant financial strain on the cards, the Puck Fair committee made the decision to launch a GoFundMe campaign in July, appealing to the generosity of the general public to help them continue one of Ireland’s longest-standing traditions.
The people came forward in their droves and dug deep, with the €10,000 target all but met within a matter of weeks. The campaign will run until the end of August, with committee members hopeful that those attending this year’s festival will be encouraged to donate further after experiencing the fun of the fair first-hand.
Saturdays agenda – which kicked off with the famous Horse Fair that saw buyers, sellers and traders pitch up at Evan’s Field in Killorglin to secure the deal of the season – is packed to bursting point, attention then turned to the Main Stage on the street as Celtic Knights entertained the masses. Sundays schedule includeed more than its fair share of live entertainment with plenty to suit all ages, including a performance by The Johnny Brady Band on the festival’s main stage and there was no sign of Monday blues with the Cattle Fair taking place from early morning, followed by an afternoon of song, dance and entertainment which culminated in the Dethronement Ceremony and Parade on Monday evening. Those showing up in force to wave King Puck goodbye for another year were treated to a live performance by The Papa Zitas, followed by a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.
Commenting as Puck Fair officially got into full swing, Declan Falvey, Chairman of the voluntary committee said: “The weather might not be on our side this year but I’m glad to say that hasn’t dampened the spirit of Puck Fair! The people have been arriving since earlier this week so the atmosphere has been steadily building and you can really feel the excitement today as the place is a hive of activity. I think the fact that the public have played such a huge part in making Puck happen this year has touched us all; it makes it all the more special to see people enjoying themselves and discovering the magic of this festival.” He added: “I’d like to wish everyone a ‘Happy Puck’ and hope that all visitors have the time of their lives in our town this weekend.”
To make a donation to the Puck Fair GoFundMe campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/puck-fair-2019. To view the full Puck Fair schedule, visit www.puckfair.ie or follow @puckfair on Facebook and @puck_fair on Twitter.