A fair charter granted to a local landlord, Jenkins Conway by King James in 1613 proves that the Puck Fair in Killorglin will be celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2013.
This year the massive festival, which takes place in the small Kerry town, Killorglin, will as always start on August 10 but the town is already preparing for the huge celebrations three years from now.
Speaking about the 400-year-old charter Declan Mangan, the chairman of the Fair's committee said “This is the first written mention of a fair in Killorglin.”
“We are privileged to be in a position to help maintain this unique tradition and to pass it on to future generations who, hopefully, will enjoy Puck Fair for another 400 years.”
Puck fair is Ireland’s oldest fair but it is also one of the world’s oldest non-religious festivals. One of the most strange traditions involved in the fair is that of King Puck.
Each year a group of people go to the mountains and catch a goat. The goat is brought back to the town where the “Queen of Puck Fair” (a 12-year-old girl, chosen from the local elementary schools) crowns the goat “King Puck”.
King Puck is then held in a small cage on a high platform in the middle of the town until the festival is over.
The festival starts on August 10 every year and mainly involves singing and dancing, as well as King Puck and a horse and cattle fair.
This year’s festival program will be launched by the All-Ireland-winning Kerry football captain, Darran O’Sullivan. Also this year’s “Queen of Puck Fair” has been named as Kathlynn Coffey.
A new mascot will also appear at the festival and Each day will bring 12 hours of free family entertainment with outdoor concerts including De Dannan, The Las Vegas Showband and The Walls.
Street entertainers will include Scooby-Circus, from Australia, and John Paul and Visa, the puppet jester. Killorglin will come alive with live music during the festival including free music on the streets along with workshops in Irish dance, drumming and storytelling.