Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest fairs. It takes place annually 10–12 August in Killorglin, County Kerry.
Held in Killorgan, Co Kerry each year, a wild mountain goat is crowned king of the town by the Queen of Puck, who is traditionally a young local schoolgirl. There is a coronation parade and King Puck rules the town until his dethronement on the festival’s final day.
The first day of Puck is known as “the gathering”. On this day the Puck goat is enthroned on a stand in the town square and the horse fair is held. The second day of Puck is known as the “Fair day”. On this day a general cattle fair is held. The third and last day of Puck is known as the “scattering” day and on this day the goat is removed from his stand and his reign as king Puck ends and he is returned to the wild Kerry
Travelling around Ireland in October, we missed the Puck Fair, but I loved the legend.
Located on the Ring of Kerry, the village gives a fascinating insight into how people lived and worked in Ireland in the late 19th Century.
So what is Bog? Undrained bog is 95% water and 5% solid material. The solid part is made up of partially decayed vegetation i.e. trees, grass, roots, moss etc. Bogs were a major source of fuel for Irish homes.
A key member of an Irish Bog village would be the Irish Wolf Hound.
An ancient breed of Irish dog these were used for hunting.
The Kerry bog ponies are a native breed to Ireland and were used for transport and farm work, such as bringing home turf from the bog, seaweed from the beach and milk from the creamery.
Spent an interesting hour wandering around this true to life reconstruction. Life was certainly harsh.
I walked a National Trust section of the South Downs this morning, from Went Hill to Brass Point.
Walking, my mind was full of mariners tales, coastguards, forgotten villages and smugglers- all fighting to survive in the rugged and wild conditions.
I will never tire of this landscape and its rich history!
A Smuggler’s Song.
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet, Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street; Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie. Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark — Brandy for the Parson, Baccy for the Clerk; Laces for a lady, letters for a spy, And watch the wall, my darling, While the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine, Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play. Put the brishwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!
If you see the stable-door setting open wide; If you see a tired horse lying down inside; If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore; If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!
If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red, You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said. If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin, Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!
Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark — You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark. Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie — They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!
If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance, You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France, With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood — A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!
Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark — Brandy for the Parson, ‘Baccy for the Clerk; Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie — Watch the wall, my darling, While the Gentlemen go by!
‘Boxing Day field sports are traditional in rural Sussex, as elsewhere and as often or not a meet of the hunt or a pheasant shoot would provide some incident which becomes in the retelling a story to be enjoyed in the tap-room of some out of the way village pub years after.’
I love this poem. The nitty, gritty of the journey to see Mary and Joseph’s baby. The feeling of ‘I could be somewhere else other than on this damn journey’:
A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.’ And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling and running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.
Today (30 November) is Saint Andrew’s Day- the feast day of Andrew the Apostle and Scotland’s national day.
Saint Andrew the patron saint of Scotland,was born between the years 5 AD and 10 AD in a place that is now part of Israel. According to Christianity, he went on to become one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ. Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, was also one of the disciples. They both lived in Galilee, where they were fishermen.
St Andrew never actually stepped foot in Scotland his whole life! So why is he their Patron Saint? One story says that in the 9th Century, King Angus in Scotland was preparing for a battle against the English. St Andrew appeared to King Angus in a dream promising him victory and on the day of the battle, an X symbol appeared in the sky, which was the symbol of St Andrew. He vowed that if they won, St Andrew would be made the patron saint of Scotland – and that is exactly what happened.This is why the Scottish flag has the X-shaped cross on it, as it is St Andrew’s symbol.
Stumbled across this guy on a walk at the weekend. So had to do another Goblin Market post…!
So without further parleying, If you will not sell me any Of your fruits though much and many, Give me back my silver penny I toss’d you for a fee.”— They began to scratch their pates, No longer wagging, purring, But visibly demurring, Grunting and snarling. One call’d her proud, Cross-grain’d, uncivil; Their tones wax’d loud, Their looks were evil. Lashing their tails They trod and hustled her, Elbow’d and jostled her, Claw’d with their nails, Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking, Tore her gown and soil’d her stocking, Twitch’d her hair out by the roots, Stamp’d upon her tender feet, Held her hands and squeez’d their fruits Against her mouth to make her eat…’
Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Old English word for giant.
en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ent
I like to think that Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex has its own Ents.
Autumn walk and trees and toadstools. Magical season.
Goblin Market (published in 1862) is a narrative poem which tells the story of Laura and Lizzie who are tempted with fruit by goblin merchants. It is one of my favourite poems generally and my favourite Rossetti poem in particular.
Evening by evening Among the brookside rushes, Laura bow’d her head to hear, Lizzie veil’d her blushes: Crouching close together In the cooling weather, With clasping arms and cautioning lips, With tingling cheeks and finger tips. “Lie close,” Laura said, Pricking up her golden head: “We must not look at goblin men, We must not buy their fruits: Who knows upon what soil they fed Their hungry thirsty roots?” “Come buy,” call the goblins Hobbling down the glen.
“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura, You should not peep at goblin men.” Lizzie cover’d up her eyes, Cover’d close lest they should look; Laura rear’d her glossy head, And whisper’d like the restless brook: “Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie, Down the glen tramp little men. One hauls a basket, One bears a plate, One lugs a golden dish Of many pounds weight. How fair the vine must grow Whose grapes are so luscious; How warm the wind must blow Through those fruit bushes.” “No,” said Lizzie, “No, no, no; Their offers should not charm us, Their evil gifts would harm us.” She thrust a dimpled finger In each ear, shut eyes and ran: Curious Laura chose to linger Wondering at each merchant man. One had a cat’s face, One whisk’d a tail, One tramp’d at a rat’s pace, One crawl’d like a snail, One like a wombat prowl’d obtuse and furry, One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry. She heard a voice like voice of doves Cooing all together: They sounded kind and full of loves In the pleasant weather.
It’s a fairytale world of temptation and mystery, exploring themes of temptation, sacrifice and salvation.
Ancient themes magically visited in beautiful lyrical language.
St George is England’s patron saint. The anniversary of his death on April 23, is seen as England’s national day. According to legend, he was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess.
David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) is the patron saint of Wales, and March 1, his feast day, is celebrated as a patriotic and cultural festival by the Welsh in Wales and the diaspora. So wear your daffodil with pride today and indulge in a Welsh cake or two.
Women proposing on leap days originates back to the 5th century and an Irish nun called St Bridget. Weary of women having to wait around for their man to propose, she lobbied St Patrick to allow women to do it instead. She sort of got her way. St Patrick gave her every four years. Mmmmm…!