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Goat crowned king of Ireland

DUBLIN: A wild mountain goat was crowned King of Ireland on Wednesday in an ancient annual ritual whose origins are lost in the mists of history.

For three days, Charlie, a grey male goat with brown trimmings, will reign over this year's Puck Fair - one of Ireland's oldest and best-loved street festivals - in Killorglin, in the southwestern county of Kerry.

"Nobody really knows how it came about or when," said Jean Kearney, a spokeswoman for the festival, which is expected this year to attract more than 100,000 visitors for a marathon of music, drinking and dancing.

"It has been traced back to the 1600s, but some say it dates back to a festival held in pagan times."

One theory is that the event pays tribute to a wild goat that alerted the town to the advancing armies of English military leader Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century.

Another is that it stems from the pagan Celtic festival of Lughnasa, when feasting and sacrifices marked the start of the harvest season, and that the goat is a pagan fertility symbol. {How ?? Why ??}

"For the people round here it's no exaggeration to say the Puck Fair is almost as important as Christmas," Kearney said.

"It attracts thousands of tourists but it's also a huge homecoming for Kerry people who have moved away. The atmosphere is just magical."

Charlie, or King Puck to give him his official title, will later be raised up on an elevated platform in the centre of the town square where, from a height of 15 metres, he will look down on his loyal subjects for the duration of the fair.

On Friday he will relinquish his gold crown and return to the mountains of Kerry where he was captured last week by local man Frank Joy - chief goat catcher for the past 15 years. {Ed Note: I wonder how hard that job is and how much does it pay ?}

The festival, which also includes a traditional horse fair, open-air concerts, and firework displays, is expected to generate around 7 million euros ($8.7 US) for the local economy.


party down.....where da goat?


as if we Irish need a reason to drink........



Maybe it's cause I've had a couple...but damn that's funny!

Puck fair. F*ck pair. :teehee:



And I wasn't even drinking. :umno: