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28.7.09




THE annual crowning of a goat as king of Ireland at one of the country's oldest fairs is in doubt after organisers said the heir to the throne may be stopped from traveling to the festival.
Traditionally a male goat is caught in the mountains of Kerry in southern Ireland and paraded through the town of Killorglin where he reigns for the three days of Puck Fair, a centuries-old festival of drinking, music and dancing.

Locals may have to desperately trek the nearby hills after this year's chosen animal from the Northern Ireland town of Ballycastle could only get a four-day licence for the trip south of the border.

"It takes at least a day to bring a goat from Ballycastle to Killorglan and the goat is on the stand for three days," Puck Fair chairman Declan Mangan said.
"It's not possible to do that within the four days.
"The people in Ballycastle are looking for another goat who would be able to come for an extended trip to Kerry. In the meantime we have to look around the mountains here just in case."

Mr Mangan said time is already running out for the local goat catcher to find a replacement for the fair which always falls on August 10-12, despite having origins that are not totally known.
"Our goat catch Frank Joy will have to go out onto the mountains and usually he is out for two or three weeks looking for a suitable goat," Mr Mangan said.

However the panic could be good news for one lucky goat.

"If you are a goat here in the mountains of Kerry, you could well end up being the King Of Ireland for the three days of Puck," Mr Mangan added.

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