Sunday, October 4, 2015

Killorglin, Killarney

40 shades of green. 

And now Henry, our tour guide, introduced us to 'dry rain', one of Ireland's 40 types of rain.  We were at Dingle Bay, a popular beach with locals and visitors of a much hardier constitution than I am.  The moisture in the air wasn't just the sea spray, although it was windy enough, but it wasn't rain either.  Dry rain.

I had to look further along the beach to where there were no people to believe that this beach was used in the filming of Ryan's daughter.

We were on our way to a quick stop at a deli in Killorglin to buy our lunch which we'd eat along the way.   There was just time to dash across the bridge to the other side of the River Laune to see the town's claim to fame -  the statue of a goat.

Yes, a goat.  King Puck.  We were there two days after the Puck Fair.  Decorations still adorned the streets.

Every year, starting on 10 August, Killorglin holds the famous three-day Puck Fair, the oldest traditional fair in Ireland. This year Puck Fair celebrated its 402nd Anniversary.

The story goes that when Oliver Cromwell and the "Roundheads" were pillaging the countryside they disturbed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight, and the he-goat or “Puck” broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went towards Killorglin. 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. 

The townsfolk still give thanks by crowning a wild mountain goat to be King and reign over the town for three days.

Each year, three weeks before the Fair, the biggest, most handsome mountain goat that can be found is brought down from the mountain and paddocked in a farmyard to ensure he becomes familiar with his handlers and accustomed to people. By the start of the fair he is well used to interacting with people at close quarters.

On the day of the coronation King Puck is brought to the main square.  Officials ensure the parade is  strictly controlled by stewards. King Puck is then crowned and hoisted to a platform at 6 pm of August 10th and removed from the stand at 6 pm on the 12th.  

During that time he receives the royal treatment, he is fed and watered and checked regularly by a vet to make sure he is physically and psychologically unharmed by his experience.  He has dry bedding that is adequately drained and also sheltered from the elements. He also has adequate room to move and turn, unrestrained in his enclosure, without fear of injury.

He probably survives the three day Fair in a better state than some of the other participants.

On to Killarney which is one of Ireland's most popular travel destinations.  There are other attractions beside the lovely National Park that we visited.  We ate our lunch sitting on the steps of the rather magnificent Muckross House, sharing a bottle of wine in plastic cups. 

Most of the group then went for a ride around the park in a horse drawn buggy but I have a thing about those rides and, as I was feeling better, was looking forward to a good, long walk in the fresh air. 

The grounds were lovely, very well presented.

Of course, the most enticing gates were locked.  Why does that always happen? 

As I went further from the grand house, the walks became more natural and I discovered there were paths to various parts of the park.  I chose the one that would take another 30 minutes (I did need to get back to the van at the time agreed) and would take me past the lake.

I became distracted by little plants I'd never seen before.  Henry told me these are the poisonous berries of the Lord and Ladies plant (Arum maculatum, a common woodland plant species of the Araceae family).

I was peering closely and wondering if this was a stinging nettleWarning:  Look away if you are squeamish.  I thought this rabbit was dead but then it very slowly moved away from me and I wished it was.  I can only imagine that this must be the result of myxomatosis.  Horrid.



  1. Hello Pauline,

    Loving hearing about your big trip away. Who knew that goats were the host of the town.

    Happy days.

  2. You found extra things to see and do on this tour which is a good idea.

  3. Less drama in the shots today but just right for what I hope will be a quiet Sunday.
    It is years since I've seen a rabbit with Mixy. It is horrible for them.

  4. I love the shades of green. Such lovely countryside to be exploring. My first thought with the rabbit was Myxomatosis. I used to breed rabbits when I was a child and teenager (in Victoria) and one year all my rabbits were struck down by it. So sad!

  5. Traditional celebrations can be so much fun! Wish the rabbit were in as good shape as the goat.

  6. It's good to see the stories in print to be able to go back to. Myxomatosis is such cruel thing to inflict.


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