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‘Phuck Fair’ – Advocating for the NO vote

By Kyran O’Dwyer

There was a story on the ABC which, on first reading, made little sense, other than some good craic. It was about the ‘Puck Fair’, a festival in Ireland, where a goat is King and a 12 year old lass is Queen for the three days of the festival.

But, wait a minute. Is this festival the harbinger of the new world order we are told to fear? It is, surely, a very specific example of what will happen if we don’t vote no. Whilst I have no affiliation whatsoever with either Mr Bernardi or Mr Shelton, I felt compelled to help their cause.

Is the goat the vision Bernardi saw in his 2012 premonition, that marriage equality is somehow a precursor to bestiality?

“There are even some creepy people out there… [who] say it is OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals.”

OK, it was 2012, when Bernardi was only a Liberal. Now that he has shirked off the shackles of liberalism, it is unlikely his views have softened in his ‘jump to the right’. It may be interesting to consider how an animal consents, but that can be pondered another day.

Is the child the epitome of Shelton’s dire warning?

The national advert is from the Coalition for Marriage group, led by the Australian Christian Lobby — one of the main opponents to same-sex marriage.

It features four women opposed to same-sex marriage and focuses on concerns around the impact of same-sex marriage on children.

“School taught my son he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it,” one said.

Don’t laugh, this is very serious stuff. It has already happened in England:

“A parent of one of the boys who participated said she supported her son’s protest.

“My son personally is coming home very, very hot … and he’s struggling at school and he’s quite irritable and stuff like that,” Julia said.

“It’s brilliant to protest and say, ‘OK then, if we are not allowed to wear that, then we will wear skirts’. Good on ’em.””

In the interests of saving the lads (Shelton, Bernardi and their ilk) the likely incandescent, apoplectic outrage at such barbaric practice (and the ensuing glee of circulating it with gay abandon), I thought I should check it out for them.

It’s Ireland, after all. What was once the centre of the conservative, religious world, the second largest Catholic state outside Vatican City, the land of Papal Bull, has degenerated in modern times. It has not only abandoned the Papal Bull by voting for marriage equality, but has openly appointed a gay man as its Taoiseach. Can it be any wonder that the moral decline was so swift, so precipitous?

Is this festival some sort of debauched bacchanalian fest, with undertones of beastiality and child abuse, only possible in a country that has abandoned its moral compass?

Is the 12 year old lass the example Shelton and his ACL warriors have waited for to embody their claim that children will suffer if marriage equality is to proceed? Is she the portrait of a ‘stolen generation’ he has yet to paint?

By way of background, Ireland was ruled (as much as the Irish have ever been ruled) by Irish monarchs from about 900 BC to 1100 AD. In typical Irish style, a population of some 500,000 people had up to 150 kings. Whilst the monarchies continued long after 1100, they were no longer genuinely Irish monarchies as the Anglo/Norman invaders assumed control. If inter-marriage didn’t work, slaughter was a viable option.

Prior to the Norman invasion, the Irish laws, known as Brehon Law, allowed divorce rather than slaughter. The Anglo/Norman culture preferred slaughter. Ironically, divorce wasn’t re-introduced until that Henry VIII bloke brought it back. Mind you, he was clearly conflicted. He would both divorce and slaughter his wives.

That sort of explains the validity of an Irish King or Queen. The divorce bit was just my wandering mind, in the off chance Bernardi/Shelton want a hand with the NO DIVORCE campaign.

Now for the word ‘Puck’. Regrettably, there is nothing sinister. It’s not even a euphemism. Puck is the anglicised word for ‘poc’, being the Irish for a male goat. Hence ‘Puck Fair’ is nothing other than “Fair of the He-Goat”.

The town of Killorglin, with its 2,000 occupants, is on the south west coast of Ireland, in County Kerry.

The festival is billed as one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, dating back to the early 17th century. Typical of Irish folklore, its origins are unclear. This is something that has never stopped the Irish. After all, they have never let facts get in the way of a good yarn. There are many local theories, ranging from a harvest festival, to tales of a lone goat fleeing Oliver Cromwell’s troops.

Given that context (and bearing in mind we are talking about Ireland), it is both reasonable and plausible that locals would pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him king.

To be fair, the ABC report includes a condition report on the goat.

The goat appeared relaxed, if occasionally bemused, during his coronation. This is, presumably, a cultural acknowledgement for that peculiar Australian sensibility, or sensitivity, about animals. There is a proud Australian tradition of outrage in the event that any cruelty is visited upon an animal. I say ‘peculiar’ because there is no such outrage when the most egregious cruelty is visited upon humans.

Anyway, back to Killorglin. Due to the foregoing, the rest of the story takes on its own reality.

You see, the King, a goat, was paraded through town before being crowned by the Queen, an honour bestowed upon a local schoolgirl.

So we have the King (a goat) and Queen (a 12 year old lass) presiding over a three day festival featuring music, street performers and a horse fair that sees the town welcome up to 100,000 visitors.

Sorry, lads. I tried my very best to find a story to validate your ambitious claims. I guess it just wasn’t to be. The festival, the monarchy, the goat King and the girl Queen all predate the appointment of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach. If it helps future campaigns, he was also the youngest Taoiseach, therefore we should not encourage the young. If it helps future campaigns, he is also of Indian descent (Ok, that may be a sore point in Australia at the moment), but it should discourage any ‘foreigners’ ever thinking they can contribute to their ‘new’ country, in anything other than a tokenistic sense.

They all predate the enshrining of marriage equality. To be fair, the Irish inquiry into sexual abuse by the clergy not only assisted the ‘Yes’ vote, but brought in a new guarantee for children across the country. Whilst the prospect of being interfered with by a member of the clergy will always be present, the chances of it not being investigated and prosecuted by the relevant authorities has been removed.

Don’t despair, lads. Maybe, we can use this as a template for our very own Fair.

Bearing in mind that the most significant import from Ireland to Australia is people, it’s only natural to assume that there would be an appetite for such a fair here. After all, more than 25% of Australians claim Irish heritage of some sort. That this swells to 100% on St Pat’s Day is right up there with climate change – a freak of nature. Apparently.

OK, the church isn’t as well entrenched as it used to be. But we can work with what we’ve got. We don’t have the same regard for Papal Bull down here, so we can work with Turn Bull. He is the only bull with a track record of turning on the mere glimmer of a red rag. We can dress up the Bishop’s’ and Abbott for clerical legitimacy. They all like to dress up anyway. There’s even a Cardinal down here for something. We can use him between his gigs at Court.

Bearing in mind you are trying to conflate all sorts of issues, our problem is that you haven’t gone far enough. The public don’t seem to be buying that equality is the same as freedom of speech or freedom of religion. We need to put more issues in to the mix.

Now, first we’ll need a name. “Puck Fair” is likely to be a problem. You know, proprietary interest and all that sort of thing. Whilst Australia has been fair phucked for a while now, “Phuck Fair” may be worth a try. It will certainly have appeal for the IPA/ACL mob. They have, after all, been phucking any notion of fairness for so long now, they would likely give it some historical recognition. Ah well, it’ll do for now.

Then there’s the King. We’ll need a King, don’t you think? Hmm, the Irish have done the goat. Aha, got it. We can use an Ass. Naturally, he will be referred to as King Phuck, not Phuck Ass. That would just be silly.

This works on so many levels. It validates Canberra as the venue, being the only suitable place to seat a monarchy. It ticks all the boxes. It is the recognised capital of Australia. And it’s full of asses. Also, there is no prospect of the animals being hurt. Between the politicians and the journalists, there is a well established tradition of kissing each other’s asses. A veritable love fest.

We can even have an Irish blessing for it. Póg mo thóin (Kiss my Ass).

This next bit may offend some of the more genteel readers, but we may need to tether a few politicians for the duration of the festival. It’s for their own good. The usual suspects may become a tad unsettled. They bray enough already. No point upsetting them further.

They may become spooked at the sight of so many asses, let alone develop identity issues. You know, “Am I a politician or an ass?”

The Queen can be decided through a ballot, a survey. By the end of this year we may have the perfect model for useless surveys. Naturally, the child will be kept well away from the asses. The braying would be intolerable. We may have to consider calling her “Princess Phuck”. For some reason, “Queen” has unacceptable overtones.

For economic reasons, we can only consider a two day festival over a weekend. Workers shouldn’t be encouraged to take a day off for the “Phuck Fair”. Naturally, those working at the “Phuck Fair” shouldn’t expect any extra wages. They are, after all, enjoying the “Phuck Fair” without having to pay entry. Any decent employer will forever chant “Phuck Fair” when any employee makes any request for such outlandish consideration.

Can’t you just imagine Canberra coming alive for a fun filled weekend of street performers, musicians and kissable asses? Even the politicians and journalists may hang around.

I have taken the liberty of looking over the ‘Puck Fair’ web site and it is like they have done the work for us. We don’t so much need the horse fair, there will be asses aplenty.

Perhaps a ‘Fair Ass’ pageant. We can have the music stuff. Instead of an Irish dance workshop, we can have our First People do something. Heck, get a few shandy’s into Joyce and he’ll do his own. Whether he would prefer to dance with a sheep rather than an ass is up to the High Court. The ‘Wobbly Circus Street Show’ can be the cross bencher’s parade. The ‘Captain Chaos Show’ is a shoe-in for Abbott. ‘Squawkabout’, well that’s got Pyne written all over it. As for the ‘Free Circus Workshop’, we can have a weekend sitting of Question Time.

So, lads, what do you think?

“Phuck Fair” will become the very essence of Australia, the very definition of Australian values. We can have a King Phuck and a Queen Phuck. Australians will be so busy celebrating Phuck all, they can forget, for a while, that that is all their politicians will give them.

Now, lads, I hope you take this with the sincerity in which it is offered.

With the benefit of so many distractions, it may be helpful to try once, just once, to add your voice to those decrying what our Christian government is doing to people.

Right now.

You profess to care for men, women and children.

Right now, our Christian government says that the lives of men, women and children are worth nought. If you could possibly lend the voice of your Christian values to those seeking no more than a fair go for those that need our help, it may add credence to your campaign.

Just trying to help.


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  1. bobrafto

    Did you have to mention goat? Yesterday I heard a joke and it goes something like this.

    A world symposium was held on sexual spiritual phenomena and a delegate from each country attended.

    After a brief introduction of opening the symposium the MC asked the audience if anyone had sex with a ghost.

    One arm shot up and the man introduced himself as Nick Pappadopoulos from Greece.

    The MC then asked Nick to describe his experience with the ghost.

    GHOST? Nick exclaimed, I thought you said goat.

    Well that’s the essence to it as I can’t remember the padding.

  2. kristapet

    A racy read ……..with wonderful plays on words and statuses – There is nothing like a different perspective on roles acted out in Canberra

  3. diannaart

    What does a 12 year old girl recount in later life?

    “My village married me off to a goat. Such jolly times?”

  4. Michael Taylor

    Dianna, they would think she was … (wait for it) … kidding. ?

  5. helvityni

    This one is a bit too racy for me, I got somewhat confused by Pucks, Goats, Asses, Sheep, and Horses, in all innocence I thought that Phuck is a naughty swear word, spelled perchance the Irish way..?

    As for Barnaby dancing with sheep…I have often witnessed him cuddling a baby Alpaca, I can understand that, they are very cute after all….

  6. diannaart


    I know a good pun when I see pun.


  7. Kyran

    For what it’s worth, helvityni and kristapet, if you thought this was racy, you should have seen the first draft. Without wishing to destroy your afternoon, picture a corgi doing things with goats that would make a ewe turn, a la bananas.
    For what it’s worth, the lads wearing skirts in England had nothing to do with gender identity issues.

    By way of explanation, rather than apology, I was merely trying to ridicule the absurd. How a question of equality can be hi-jacked to excuse the inexcusable beggars belief. How stories, however abstract, can be used, or misused, or abused, to excuse the inexcusable beggars belief.
    And ‘Phuck’ is not a Gaelic word. It’s just the way I think every time one of our politicians speak. They say blah blah blah and I think ‘Oh, phuck, here we go again’. If you take diannaarts recollection, on behalf of an imaginary child, couple it with bobrafto’s recollection of a joke and add Mr Taylor’s sub-editorial skills (just kidding), we can keep this mindless campaign going for another decade or so.
    Forever avoiding the bottom line.
    This is about equality.
    Thank you. Take care

  8. helvityni

    LOL, Kyran, nothing wrong with your article, plenty wrong with me…

    Today’s Oz politics have lowered my standards, I hear myself say ‘f#ck’ far too often. Hubby shakes his head and adds: I thought I married a lady… I thought Ladies lived in Jane Austen’s books….

    Why are we so reluctant to go with the times, I do not understand. Sigh.

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