Cill Orglan
—  Town  —
River Laune
Killorglin is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°06′23″N 9°47′06″W / 52.106505°N 9.785042°W / 52.106505; -9.785042Coordinates: 52°06′23″N 9°47′06″W / 52.106505°N 9.785042°W / 52.106505; -9.785042
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
Population (2000)
 - Town 4,150
 Urban 1,539
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 - Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference V774965

Killorglin (Irish: Cill Orglan) is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. It is located on the river Laune, which has a rowing club and a new boathouse. The population of Killorglin is 4,150 (CSO 2011) although this expands considerably during Puck Fair due to visitors and returning emigrants.

Killorglin is a major activity centre for Kerry and has a number of tourist hostels on Dromin Hill and also has one of the last inn chains started by Charles Bianconi. It is right in the centre of the town, called the Bianconi and features his famous transportation painted on the sign and on the inn. The town hall is held to have been built with the help of Andrew Carnegie.[1] Among the businesses in Killorglin is FEXCO, which includes the operations center for the Prize Bond Company. Pharmaceutical firms such as Temmler and Astellas, precision tubes maker Schmitter (Ireland) Ltd. and specialist bolts manufacturer Simpson Strongtie/Liebig have small plants in the town.


Puck Fair

Every year, starting on 10 August, Killorglin holds the three-day Puck Fair, the oldest traditional fair in Ireland, and one of the oldest non-religious fairs in the world.

Puck goat

"An Puc Rí", bronze statue of King Puck in Killorglin

Every year a group of people go up into the mountains and catch a wild goat. This goat is brought back to the town and the Queen of Puck Fair, traditionally the oldest virgin in the village (a girl from 6th class from the local primary schools - the queen changes every year) crowns the goat "King Puck". The goat is then put into a small cage on a high stand in the middle of the town. From this moment on, once the fair has started, there is singing and dancing, but mainly drinking. Pubs stay open until 3.00 AM although last call is at 02:30. On the opening day there is a horse fair and on the second day there is a cattle fair. In the main parking lot a company called Birds Bizarre has a collection of various portable rides and rollercoasters. The fair ends with a firework display which can be fully appreciated from the old iron railway bridge.

"Nobody really knows how it came about or when," said Jean Kearney, a spokeswoman for the festival, which is expected this year to attract more than 100,000 visitors for a marathon of music, drinking and dancing (but mostly drinking). It has been traced back to the 1600s, but some say it dates back to a festival held in pagan times. One of the most popular theory is that the event pays tribute to a wild goat that alerted the town to the advancing armies of military leader Oliver Cromwell in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland of 1649-53 (although Cromwell himself, who left Ireland in May 1650, never reached as far west as Killorglin). Another is that it stems from the pagan Celtic festival of Lughnasa, when feasting and sacrifices marked the start of the harvest season, and that the goat is a pagan fertility symbol."

Puck fair history

Goat at the top of the stand in the town square

Although there is no written evidence of when Puck Fair started, there are several legends about the fair.

It is thought that the fair started in pre-Christian times as a celebration for a good harvest. The goat may also represent the pagan god, Pan. It is also likely that it is a representation of the Celtic god Lugh and a celebration of Lughnasa.

James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland granted legal status to the fair in 1603.

The other theory is when a clan called the roundheads occupied killorglin a goat ran down from the mountains and 'warned' the roundhead tribe that their enemies were approaching. This allowed the roundheads to prepare and eventually defeat their enemies. This explains why the goat is crowned.


Tom Barry, Commandant-General of the Third (West) Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence, and author of Guerilla Days in Ireland was born in Killorglin.

James Cahillane Golden Gloves heavweight champion of Western Massachusetts 1932-1933. A man of business. Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts 1954-1960. Delegate to the 1956 Democratic Convention where he supported his political friend Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy. One of two Irish born mayors in the USA when elected. The subject of two books by his eldest son, James Francis Cahillane: "The Best Place of All: An Irish American Memoir of Pluck, Luck & Automobiles," and "On History's Front Steps: One Irish Clan's Exploits in Northampton, Massachusetts 'The Paradise of America.'" Born in Killorglin 1910. Emigrated 1930. d.1991.

The book Things My Mother Never Told Me by Blake Morrison (Vintage 2003 ISBN 0-09-944072-5) tells the story of the author's mother who was from Langford Street in Killorglin. She had left Ireland for England and put her past behind her. It was only after she died that her son went through a collection of old letters from the 1940s and pieced together her life from World War II-era courtship of a Yorkshire country doctor.

The writer Kieran Prendiville's family came from the town, and nearby Ballykissane provided the inspiration for the name of his television series Ballykissangel.

Former Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Patrick O'Mahony, was born in the town.


  • Killorglin Rugby club's under 16 team won the West Munster Trophy in 2006 and went forward to compete in the final of the Munster Championship, which they lost. In 2008 the Under 18 squad won the West Munster Trophy against Tralee R.F.C..

Recent changes

Recent developments include:

  • An expansion by the Killorglin-based financial services firm FEXCO resulting in two large sites in Killorglin.
  • A sizeable mixed development of commercial, residential and public buildings. Aldi has now filled the large retail chain slot in the development.
  • There has been some talk[by whom?] about re-introducing a railway line to Killorglin but such an undertaking would be very difficult and costly.

International relations

Killorglin is twinned with France Plouha in France.

See also


  1. ^ Statement by Thomas O'Donnell (MP), The Irish People, February 13. 1909, included in a report on Tower Model Village (County Cork)

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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