Video of Killorglin, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland
Killorglin (Irish: Cill Orglan) is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. It is located
on the river Laune, which has a rowing club and a new boathouse. The population of
Killorglin is 2085 (CSO 2011) although this expands considerably during Puck Fair
due to visitors and returning emigrants. Killorglin is a major activity centre for
Kerry and has a number of tourist hostels on Dromin Hill and also has one of the
last inn chains started by Charles Bianconi. It is right in the centre of the town,
called the Bianconi and features his famous transportation painted on the sign and
on the inn.
Every year, starting on 10 August, Killorglin holds the three-day Puck Fair, the
oldest traditional fair in Ireland, and one of the oldest non-religious fairs in
Every year a group of people go up into the mountains and catch a wild goat. This
goat is brought back to the town and the Queen of Puck Fair, traditionally the oldest
virgin in the village (a girl from 6th class from the local primary schools - the
queen changes every year) crowns the goat "King Puck". The goat is then put into
a small cage on a high stand in the middle of the town. From this moment on, once
the fair has started, there is singing and dancing, but mainly drinking. Pubs stay
open until 3.00 AM although last call is at 02:30. On the opening day there is a
horse fair and on the second day there is a cattle fair. In the main parking lot
a company called Birds Bizarre has a collection of various portable rides and rollercoasters.
The fair ends with a firework display which can be fully appreciated from the old
iron railway bridge.
"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 (but mostly drinking). It has been
traced back to the 1600s, but some say it dates back to a festival held in pagan
times. One of the most popular theories is that the event pays tribute to a goat
that broke away from the herd who warned the town to the advancing armies of military
leader Oliver Cromwell in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland of 1649-53 (although
Cromwell himself, who left Ireland in May 1650, never reached as far west as Killorglin).
His arrival alerted the inhabitants of the danger they were to endure, and they immediately
set out to protect themselves and their livestock. 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."