By Peg Prendeville

Summer? I spent Monday evening watching the waves lashing into the beach in Ballybunion with a fury that should be seen only in winter. How long can we keep hoping for some sunshine and warmth?

Last week I told you about Lisa O’Brien attending the Special Olympics. Well, I am delighted to tell you that she returned home on Tuesday morning with two bronze medals which she won in the Athletics section. Congratulations to her and to her proud family.

Sincere sympathy to Mary Ellen and Denis Collins, Templeathea, on the death of their son Benny following a tragic accident. It was such a shock to everybody. Benny was residing in Swansea, Wales and died on the 28th of July. He is deeply regretted by his heartbroken wife Mel, son Harry, as well his heartbroken parents and brothers Denis, John, and Leo, sisters Catherine and Helena, extended family, and his many friends. His funeral will take place on this Friday, the 7th of August, in Wales. May he rest in Peace.

Special Happy Birthday wishes to my neighbour Peg O’Grady who will be ninety years old on this Saturday the 8th of August. Despite many health scares throughout her life Peg overcame them all and is living happily and comfortably with her faithful husband Jack in Glenbawn. We wish them both many more years together.

Puck Fair is coming up next week. I got the following information, relating to the origins of the fair, from the Puck Fair website. The most widely mentioned story relating to its origin “associates him with the English Ironside Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is related that while the “Roundheads” were pillaging the countryside around Shanara and Kilgobnet at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks, they routed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, 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 Cill Orglain (Killorglin) 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. It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to institute a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since. Other legends regarding the origin of “King Puck” relates 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.

Tolls in Killorglin at this time were collected by the local landlord – Mr Harman Blennerhassett – who had fallen into bad graces 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, and levy his tolls as usual. Thus the fair was promptly advertised as taking place on August 10th, 1808, and on 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. Whatever its origins the fair has long been and continues to be the main social, economic and cultural event in the Killorglin Calendar.

It is a time when old friends meet, when new friendships are forged and the cares of everyday living are put on hold.” The organisers stress that the goat is well cared for and that he is not ill-treated at any time.