Tagged in: puck fair

The queen crowns King Puck

Puck Fair 400th Anniversary – Killorglin August 2013

With the 401st Puck Fair already over I suppose it is about time I published my resume of the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2013!

If you want to party for three days and generally have a time to remember then Killorglin, Co. Kerry, is the place to be between the 10th and 12th August any year you choose.

Of course this year was different as an extra day was added to celebrate the 400th – yes hundredth – anniversary of the granting of a charter by James 1 of England.

Nobody is quite sure of the true origins but, for as long as anybody can remember, they have been crowing a goat as King Puck and he rules over the town for the three day extravaganza known as Puck Fair.

With John & Catherine at the Bianconi

With John & Catherine at the Bianconi

Thanks to our good friends John and Catherine McGrath we were able to get a room in the Bianconi Inn right in the centre of town.  This is the best accommodation in the area by far.

We arrived on Friday evening which was, on the whole, pretty quiet and the bars only had extensions to 2 a.m. rather than 4 a.m. which is the norm for the rest of the festivities.

Over the weekend there was the Horse Fair,



the horse fair

The horse Fair

Cattle Market and a myriad of events for all ages  in the square.  The evening concerts on the main stage at the top of the town were packed to capacity.

The St John’s Mill Theatre Company held performances of The Tempest at Ballykissane Pier and it was undoubtedly a perfect setting for the best amateur performance I have seen.

All the photos are at this link Puck Fair



Christmas Letter 2013

10 December 2013

Another fairly short missive this year.  It has been as eventful as ever but once again I have failed miserably to allow for the fact that it has been a lot shorter than last year.  This has resulted in December taking me by surprise and leaving me little time to marshal facts and figures.

I am also trying to work out how, having reduced my working week to Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays, I seem to have less time to do all the things that, in previous years, I managed to get done over the weekend.

The most notable event of the year was probably our youngest son, Peter, finally managing to climb onto the housing ladder and moving into his apartment in May.  It is quite amazing that, from a constantly full washing machine we now are lucky to make up a couple of loads a week.

On the recommendation of a dear friend, whom I first met in Corfu whilst on the Greek Interpreters Course in ‘73, and had only met up with once since, we went to Marmaris for a week in April.  Barbarra bussed up from Fethiye for a day and persuaded us to visit Ölüdeniz which, she assured us, was a much better place to holiday. We dutifully took the 4 bus day excursion and were so impressed we booked for ten days in October. In the meantime I signed up for a basic Turkish course.  Never thought I’d see the day!!  It is also the best place to sample Doner Kebabs since I was in the Old City in Famag’.

It turned out that Ölüdeniz is one of the most popular centres for paragliding in Europe and watching them glide down and land along the esplanade  gave me one of those; “I could do that, couldn’t I?” moments.

Josephine told me if I wanted to just stop talking about it to go and do it… so I did!  It was an unbelievable experience, walking of a 2200 metre mountain and spending half an hour floating above the sand and sea. Definitely hooked and will be up again at the earliest opportunity.

Apart from this we found Turkey to be most hospitable with friendly people and a wealth of history and all at a remarkably economic price.

We took a two day trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale, famous for the salt springs and Cleopatra’s bath amongst other things.


Old Shanklin

In June we made another duty trip to the Isle of Wight.  The last time we were there was in 2000 to scatter my mother’s ashes on the downs at St Catherine’s.  This time it was to scatter my last remaining relative’s ashes in Niton Churchyard.  The one thing one can guarantee about the IOW is that nothing will have changed and it will remain firmly planted in the ‘50s. My Brother in Law had never been so we did the whole tourist thing. Picture is Old Shanklin.


with king puck

With King Puck in Killorglin

This August was the 400th anniversary of the oldest Fair in Ireland.  With a couple of exceptions it has been held every year in Killorglin, Co Kerry.  The format is that on day one a Goat is crowned King of the Town and put high above the main square where he reigns for three days whilst the townsfolk indulge in a horse fair, cattle fair, and a myriad of street events.  The Bars licensed for music until 4a.m. On the third day the goat is brought down and de-crowned and it is all wrapped up with a huge firework display

Apart from this Josephine has been busy with her walking groups and beading classes and I have continued to attempt to maintain my handicap at the same level. Even playing twice a week this is becoming ever more difficult.  Still it keeps the joints moving.

And so another year draws to a close and we are still in the land of the living and in relatively good health so we wish you a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2014

Killorglin – not just a small town in Kerry

Only in Count Kerry would you find a town that has been crowning a goat king for for the past 399 years.

It’s not too often that one gets a call to visit Kerry on business and even less often for it to be in Killorglin, home of the Puck Fair. Unfortunately this three day event doesn’t take place until August and not even I could hope to hang out a visit for that length of time.

With the chance of a contract in the offing Josephine and I set off to revisit the town that we last set foot in together around 15 years ago.  The drive from Belfast now takes under 5 hours as opposed to the seven in those days.

Our hosts, the committee of Killorglin CYMS, had kindly organised accommodation for us and I had asked John and his wife, Catherine, to meet us in the town for dinner.   I left it to him to book a table at a convenient hostelry as Nick’s Place now shuts up shop from October to Easter.

We arrived at Laune Bridge House around seven and were made truly welcome by Tina with pots of tea and coffee and slices of coffee cake.

River Laune from the Bridge

We had plenty of time to spruce up before meandering up the road to the Bianconi Inn not five minutes away.  This is a another family owned affair and was fairly buzzing with activity when we arrived.  John and Catherine followed shortly after and we were shown to our table.

The Bianconi

Drinks were ordered and we tried to decide on food. I cannot resist Crab claws in garlic butter so was the only one to have a starter. Surprise, surprise! The rest chose variously warm smoked salmon salad, a vegetarian salad and a large sirloin. Just to be different I had a kilo of mussels in wine and cream sauce.  For wine we went with a merlot which would have been hard to fault.  The food was par excellence!  The smoked salmon was to wonder at and everybody got a taste. The service was friendly and efficient and the prices reasonable – under €150 for 4 people with drinks and coffee cannot be bad.

Good friends already

Apparently the rooms have all been refurbished which would have been nice if they had had any unoccupied.

John then enticed us to visit his local, Falvey’s, for a nightcap.

Never ones to refuse we tripped round the corner and were met with a “traditional” Irish bar.

The Local

Full of the local football team completing their midweek training and various other characters including Pat Healy the chairman of the committee and motor sport enthusiast. As always happens in this sort of environment “a nightcap” consists of more than one over a couple of hours and we finally made our farewells and floated back to the lodgings around 1a.m.

After a good nights sleep we were treated to an excellent breakfast:  forwent the “full irish” in favour of scrambled local free range eggs, bacon and Clontakilty pudding.


Then it was off to the CYMS hall to do some work. After some couple of hours or so we decided coffee was in order and we sat out on the pavement in the sun for half an hour or so.  Of course the lass serving us was also family.

It was a pleasure doing business with people who made one feel welcome and a part of the project.  Especially Maura who wanted answers to everything and then some:  that’s engineers for you!!

All too soon it was time to depart, having promised to return for the 400th Puck Fair – if not sooner, on the seemingly longer journey back – with a short mandatory stopover in Adare for some shopping – but that’s another story