Each year on the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of August without every missing a year the town of Killorglin, Co. Kerry celebrates Puck Fair, Ireland’s oldest fair. Puck Fair being Ireland’s oldest fair attracts a lot of attention each year with visitors attending from around the world. Puck Fair is a family orientated event providing a great way for visitors to Ireland to have some fun while enjoying a long established event in Irish culture.
It is thought that more than 100,000 people visit Killorglin, Co. Kerry each year during the Puck Fair providing a great boost to the local economy. Highlights of this yearly Irish fair are King Puck’s coronation ceremony, open air concerts, street performers, fireworks, dancers, children’s events and a traditional horse fair.
History of Ireland’s oldest fair
Puck Fair can attribute is roots with Irish folklore and the story of King Puck. The story goes that many years ago Oliver Cromwell’s men were moving through and plundering the areas of Kilogonet and Shanara near the base of Kerry’s McGillycuddy Reeks. While doing this the men came upon a heard of goats, causing them to flee into the hills. At this time the head male goat “Puck” went on his own in a different direction to the herd making his way towards the town of Killorglin. His distraught appearance in the town gave the residents warning about the coming danger allowing the people to protect themselves. The people were so thankful to Puck for his help that they decided to honour him with a festival and thus Puck Fair was born, being held every year since.
This is just one of the stories that claim to be the origin of Puck Fair. There is no record that gives a precise date or reason for the fair’s beginnings. However some evidence of a fair appears as far back as 1603 when King James I granted a fair in Killorglin as legal. What ever the true reason for the Puck Fair may be it can definitely be said that this is Killorglin’s most anticipated yearly event.
Highlights of Puck Fair, Ireland’s oldest fair
Besides the ongoing concerts and street entertainment there are a number of other interesting events that occur during Ireland’s oldest fair. These events include the Guinness Music Trail Competition where pubs vie for a coveted trophy over the fair’s three days and the Cattle Fair. The Cattle Fair is not directly associated with Puck Fair but is held at the same time in Killorglin Town on August 11th.
If you would like a souvenirs of Ireland’s oldest fair there is a Puck Fair shop centrally located in The Square. Here you will find an array of Puck Fair goodies on sale. Puck Fair isn’t the only fair in contention for Ireland’s oldest fair. There are actually two other annual fairs in Ireland that could potentially be Ireland’s oldest fair. These are the Great October Horse Fair held in Ballinsloe each October and the Auld Lamass Fair held in Ballycastle at the end of August.
So if you are visiting Ireland, particularly Co. Kerry why not take part in this long held Irish fair, have fun with your family and support the local community.