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Puck Fair hits all the right notes for fans

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AS PUCK FAIR 2016 draws to a close, visitors to the town can not only look forward to what promises to be a spectacular fireworks display at midnight tonight. Once again, the dedicated and passionate members of the Puck Fair committee have come up trumps to deliver a festival even bigger and better than the last. Day one of Puck Fair, known as ‘Gathering Day’ got off to a great start, with buyers, traders and tourists alike flocking to the Horse Fair, located at the foot of the town’s iconic bridge.

Ireland’s longest-running horse fair always proves to be one of the main attractions of the festival, with an electric atmosphere created by the banter between buyers and sellers, the intriguing trade stalls and of course, the beautiful horses, ponies and donkeys that take up residence in the field for the day.

Dr Pixie McKenna and Dr Phil Kieran from RTÉ One’s popular show, ‘You Should Really See a Doctor’ were also on hand at the Horse Fair site to consult with visitors experiencing any aches, pains or ailments!

Following the Horse Fair, the Coronation Parade and Ceremony unsurprisingly drew thousands of spectators to the Puck Fair stand, where this year’s King Puck was crowned by the 2016 Queen – 12-year-old local schoolgirl Kerry Lynch. The crowds that had gathered applauded the beautiful goat king as he took his place on the main stand, taking in the sights and sounds of one of Ireland’s oldest festivals.

Speaking of this year’s main attraction, goat catcher and Puck Fair committee member John McGrath revealed: “The goat has put on weight since he joined us – he's on good grass! He'll go back now and tell all his friends he had a great time!”

Day two of the festival – or ‘Fair Day’ as it is traditionally known – picked up where the previous day left off, with performers and musicians entertaining the masses on every street corner. The beautiful craft fair was once again in full swing on Library Place and tourists milled around the colourful stalls to purchase mementos of their Puck Fair experience. Families with young children happily posed for photographs with King Puck himself and the variety of Disney characters and superheroes parading through the town, while the youngest festival goers were kept busy with the Bonny Baby Competition during the afternoon – won by Dean Joseph (2 years and 7 months old), from Killorglin.

The second day of festivities came to a successful and enjoyable end with excited country music fans gathering in front of the town’s main stage to see the fabulous Mike Denver perform. Geraldine O’Sullivan of the Puck Fair committee said: “Over 8,000 people showed up see Mike Denver last night – the biggest crowd we’ve had since Mundi played in 2008.”

As ‘Scattering Day’ quickly came around marking the final day of Puck Fair, those staying in and around Killorglin began gearing up for the Dethronement Parade and to bid farewell to King Puck.

Speaking about the success of this year’s festival, Chairman of the Puck Fair committee Declan Mangan said: “Standing here on the morning of the last day of Puck Fair and looking around at the amount of volunteers who stayed around, you appreciate the work they do. You couldn’t have a festival without the efforts made by the volunteers, working for hours upon hours and they never question anything – just ask them to do it and they’ll do it. I think they’re one of the real secrets behind the success of Puck Fair.”

He added: “The whole package – the committee, the workers, the townspeople, the visitors, the entertainers – all work together to make up the whole unique package that is Puck Fair.”
 


 
Irish country music sensation Mike Denver with fans at Puck Fair.

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Killarney man wins most-coveted trophy in sheepdog trials

By Sean Moriarty Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport. Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport.

Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated in the international sheepdog competition in Aberystwyth in Wales last weekend.

A total of 60 competitors, 15 each from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, contested the biggest event in sheepdog trials on Friday to Sunday last.

After getting through the qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, Tom and his dog Northhill Tess, fended off the challenges of the other top-15 qualifiers to win the International Supreme Champion award.

Not alone is he the first Kerry man to win the competition, which has been running since 1947, he is just the fifth Irishman to do so and the first from Munster.

“The qualifying course was similar to Killarney,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

However, Sunday’s final was much more difficult. His dog had to round up a flock of sheep at the left hand side of the course. Then Northhill Tess, under the guidance of Tom, had to round up a smaller flock and bring them to the same holding pen. When finished, five of the sheep were wearing red collars and Tom had to instruct his dog to separate them and bring them to a separate holding area.

“It is the biggest trophy in sheep dog trailing,” he added. “Everyone who trains a dog does so for this day. It is mind blowing. My family are very proud, they know the time and the work involved preparing for this.”

The standard at the Killarney event last month was evident in Wales last weekend. The Killarney winner, Peter Morgan and his dog Moss, ran Tom to a very close second.

His son Peter Og won the Young Handlers award and Team Ireland were declared the overall winners based on aggregate scores in the final 15.

Tom arrived home to Kilcummin on Monday night to a traditional homecoming bonfire.

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Vaccination centre leaves basketball club homeless

By Sean Moriarty With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre. The local side play Limerick Celtic away on […]

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By Sean Moriarty

With the National Basketball League set to get underway in two weeks’ time, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club are still unsure where they will play their homes games this season as their usual venue is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

The local side play Limerick Celtic away on the weekend of October 8 and 9 and their first home game is set for October 16.

Currently their home venue at Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre is unavailable as it is being used as a COVID-19 vaccination centre and according to the Health Service Executive (HSE) this week, there are no plans in place, as of yet, to move out.

Killarney Cougars, the town’s newest addition to the National League, has secured the use of the gym at St Brigid’s Secondary School in the town centre but, as it stands, St Paul’s remain homeless as the season opener looms.

“It is ridiculous at this stage,” said head coach Jarlath Lee. “If you look at what is happening at the Sports Centre, there are very few people in and out of there now compared to the start [of the vaccination roll-out].”

The HSE when contacted by the Killarney Advertiser this week said that they would not be adding to a previous statement issued earlier this month, which said: “In relation to Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre, we are very grateful to staff and management for the use of their facility as a vaccination centre.

“Planning work is well underway for the next phase of the vaccination programme, locally and nationally. This includes a review of where vaccinations are administered in future, but we cannot confirm any decisions in relation to any particular location at this point in time.”

However, the HSE did confirm this week, that the Tralee Vaccination Centre, located at the Munster Technology University, will re-locate to the recently vacated Borg Warner factory in the town. The move is expected to be completed within the next week to 10 days.

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