Origins The most widely mentioned story relating to the origin of Killorglin Puck Fair, associates him with the English Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is said that while the “Roundheads” were pillaging the countryside around Shanara and Kilgobnet at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks(Irelands tallest Mountain), they came accross a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, and the Puck Goat or “Puck” broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went towards Cill Orglain (Killorglin aka host town) on the banks of the Laune. His arrival there in a state of semi exhaustion alerted the inhabitants of the approaching danger and they immediately set about protecting themselves and their stock. Heritage is Great.
Recognition of the service
It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to have a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since. It is Puck Fair help in Killorglin town on Aug 10th 11th 12th.
There are other legends regarding the origin of “King Puck” and they relate to the time of Daniel O’Connell, who in 1808 was an unknown barrister. It seems that before that year, the August fair held in Killorglin had been a toll fair, but an Act of the British Parliament empowered the Viceroy or Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to make an order, at his own discretion, making it unlawful to levy tolls at cattle, horse or sheep fairs. At the time Tolls in Killorglin were at this time were collected by the local landlord – Mr Harman Blennerhassett – who had fallen into badly with the authorities in Dublin Castle and as a result the Viceroy robbed him of his right to levy tolls.
Blennerhassett enlisted the services of the young Daniel O’Connell, who in an effort to reverse the decision decided that goats were not covered by the document and that the landlord would be legally entitled to hold a goat fair(Puck Fair), and levy his tolls as usual. Thus the fair was promptly advertised as taking place on August 10th, 1808, that day a goat was hoisted on a stage to show to all attending that the fair was indeed a goat fair – thus Blennerhassett collected his toll money and Killorglin gained a King Puck.