Puck Fair goat to spend less time on stand following welfare complaints
Are you kidding me?
There's a goat at the centre of controversy in Kerry this week as it was announced that the animal will spend less time atop his elevated cage at this year's Puck Fair.
Taking place in Killorglin every year, Puck Fair is a three-day festival which starts when a goat-catcher goes up into the mountains to catch a wild goat, and brings him back to the town where he is crowned King Puck. He is then sat atop an elevated stand for 3 days, where he is then returned to the wild.
Controversy has surrounded the festival in recent years, with the goat being taken down from his cage multiple times throughout 2022's fair due to concerns around the animal's welfare in the heatwave at the time.
Delighted to be at the launch of Irelands oldest and best fair @puck_fair.
Whatever about the naysayers, the people of Killorglin and Kerry are ready to welcome the thousands of people who will come to Puck again this year and no doubt it’ll be a brilliant few days. pic.twitter.com/BTGOgiKHfu
— Michael Healy-Rae (@MHealyRae) July 14, 2023
"The Puck Fair Committee have come under unbelievable pressure from people complaining about how the Puck goat is treated, and from sponsors, who fear controversy," said Kerry County Councillor Michael Cahill.
"The committee seem to have had little choice but to decide to keep the Puck off the stand for most of the duration due to different types of threats to the festival."
"Am I and all my neighbours old fashioned, or are we being held to ransom by ‘snowflakes’, who campaign for animals while wearing cow-skin shoes?"
On the topic of the goat's safety, the official website says: "The welfare of the goat is of utmost importance to all involved in organising Puck Fair. We have strict protocols in place to ensure this and they are overseen and checked by an independent veterinary surgeon."
Concerns for the festival's old tradition
While there is no solid date to mark the origins of the festival, the Puck Fair is believed to be at least 400 years old.
There are many theories around the original meaning of the festival, with one linking it to pre-Christian celebrations of a fruitful harvest and that the male goat or “Puck” was a pagan symbol of fertility, like the pagan god Pan.
Locals have expressed concern about the recent complaints of interfering with the tradition of the age-old festival.
"Puck Fair is the oldest festival in lreland, running well over 400 years and has contributed enormously to the local economy of the town, and village surrounding areas, and this wonderful, hardworking and caring organising committee deserves all our support in ensuring Puck Fair returns to its former glory."
Header images via Rolling News.
- The finalists for Bar of the Year 2023 have been announced
- Met Eireann details how long Ireland's miserable weather will last
- 12% minimum wage increase proposed to government for 2024
- RTÉ scandal hits TV licence fee renewals, shocking new figures confirm