An Poc ar Buile - The Mad Billy Goat

Mad Buck Goat.

This is a patriotic fighting song that uses a mad, ferocious goat as a symbol for the fighting and undominable spirit of the Irish.

Each year in Killorglin, Co. Kerry (in the month of Lunasa) August 10th, a Puck Fair is held. The Puck, a wild mountain goat, with decorated horns, is paraded through the streets with rapturous applause and cheering. On arrival at the town square he is crowned and then ceremoniously raised on a scaffold platform some twenty five feet high. The Puck resides here for the next three days and nights looking down on his subjects. The well-known song An Poc ar buile, 'The Mad Puck Goat', is associated with the festival which dates from the seventeenth century.

At that time, a herd of goats was grazing on a high peak, when the noisy throng of Cromwell’s army shattered their peace. Alarmed and frightened, the goats scattered and ran into the hills - all of them that is except for one brave male who ran down the mountain and into Killorglin. The local people on seeing the goat sensed something was wrong and took cover. The people of Killorglin survived and have commemorated the event by holding the fair ever since.

Ag gabháil dom sior chun Droichead Uí Mhóradha
Píce im dhóid 's mé ag dul i meithil
Cé casfaí orm i gcuma ceoidh
Ach pocán crón is é ar buile...

curfá

Ailliliú, puilliliú, ailliliú tá an puc ar buile!
Ailliliú, puilliliú, ailliliú tá an puc ar buile!

Do ritheamar trasna trí ruillógach,
Is do ghluais an comhrac ar fud na muinge,
Is treascairt do bhfuair sé sna turtóga
Chuas ina ainneoin ina dhrom le fuinneamh...

curfá

Níor fhág sé carraig go raibh scót ann
Ná gur rith le fórsa chun mé a mhilleadh,
S'Ansan sea do cháith sé an léim ba mhó.
Le fána mhór na Faille Bríce...

curfá

Bhí garda mór i mBaile an Róistigh
Is bhailigh fórsa chun sinn a chlipeadh
Do bhuail sé rop dá adhairc sa tóin ann
S'dá bhríste nua do dhein sé giobail...

curfá

I nDaingean Uí Chúis le haghaidh an tráthnóna
Bhí an sagart paróiste amach 'nár gcoinnibh
Is é dúirt gurbh é an diabhal ba Dhóigh leis
A ghaibh an treo ar phocán buile...

curfá

As I set out with me pike in hand
To Dromore town to join a meithil (work gang), *
Who should I meet but a tan puck goat
And he's roaring mad in ferocious mettle.

Chorus

Aill-il-lu puill-il-iu - Aill-il-lu it's the mad puck goat.
Aill-il-lu puill-il-iu - Aill-il-lu it's the mad puck goat.

He chased me over bush and weed
And thru the bog the running proceeded,
'Til he caught his horns in a clump of gorse
And on his back I jumped unheeded.

Chorus

He did not leave a rock that had a passage through
Which he did not run with force to destroy me
And then he gave the greatest leap
To the big slope of Faille Bríce...

Chorus

When the sergeant stood in Rochestown
With a force of guards to apprehend us
The goat he tore his trousers down ***
And made rags of his breeches and new suspenders

Chorus

In Dingle Town the next afternoon
The parish priest addressed the meeting
And swore it was The Devil himself
He'd seen ridin' on the poc ar buile

Chorus

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* A Meithil (pronounced MEH-hill) is a group of neighbors who come to work on a neighborhood farm.
The tradition is native to Kerry and may have died out by the present time.
The tradition is alive and well in the USA where it is called a barn raising.
** I have it on good authority that this song is actually a satire with the goat representing a local vicar, known for his unusual behavior.
*** The Irish is more specific and says: "adhairc sa tóin ann"

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack: IrishPage.com 2005
Replay background music: Jigsong sequenced by Taylor


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