Goat reigns supreme in Ir­ish town

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

KILLORGLIN, Ire­land — For a few days this week, a goat will be king of a small town in Ire­land’s ru­ral south west.

Billed as one of Ire­land’s old­est fes­ti­vals, the Puck Fair sees lo­cals in the town of Killorglin pluck a wild moun­tain goat from its habi­tat and crown him ‘King Puck’ for the du­ra­tion of the event.

This year’s king was pa­raded through the town on Thurs­day, where he was crowned by the Queen of Puck — an honor be­stowed on a lo­cal school­girl. He ap­peared re­laxed, if oc­ca­sion­ally be­mused, dur­ing his coro­na­tion.

“I’ve seen it for the last 11 years, so it’s nothing new. But when I first moved here from Eng­land I thought it was strange,” fes­ti­val­goer Ben Henry, 25, a Kil­lar­ney res­i­dent.

“I heard a fella to­day say­ing he’s been com­ing to Puck for 57 years so that says a lot,” he added.

The fes­ti­val fea­tures mu­sic, street per­form­ers and a horse fair.

The ori­gins of the event are un­clear, though there are many lo­cal the­o­ries from a har­vest fes­ti­val to tales of a lone goat warn­ing the vil­lage of ad­vanc­ing Oliver Cromwell troops.

Or­ga­niz­ers say his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences to the fes­ti­val date back to the early 17th cen­tury.

As for King Puck, or­ga­niz­ers said he is to be treated roy­ally dur­ing his brief reign with a diet of ash tree branches, wa­ter and cab­bage to sus­tain him un­til he re­turns to his moun­tain home fol­low­ing his de­throne­ment cer­e­mony.

Or­ga­niz­ers ex­pect to wel­come more than 100,000 vis­i­tors dur­ing the fes­ti­val which runs un­til Satur­day.

CLODAGH KILCOYNE / REUTERS

Puck Queen Caitlin Hor­gan, 12, poses with the newly crowned King Puck goat in Killorglin, Ire­land, on Thurs­day.

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