An Poc ar Buile

The Mad Puck Goat
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From an original poem by Dónal Ó Mulláin in the early 20th century, the song was made famous in the early 1960s when more...

From an original poem by Dónal Ó Mulláin in the early 20th century, the song was made famous in the early 1960s when recorded by Seán Ó Sé to an arrangement by Seán Ó Riada. From : 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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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


Can you provide a better translation?


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

C         G          C              G
Ailliliú, puilliliú, ailliliú tá an puc ar buile!
C                     C        G         G      C
Ailliliú, puilliliú.. aaaailli-liú tá an puc ar buile!