DUBLIN - The annual crowning of a goat as king of Ireland at one of the country's oldest fairs is in doubt after organizers said the heir to the throne may be stopped from traveling to the festival.

Traditionally a male goat is caught in the mountains of Kerry in southern Ireland and paraded through the town of Killorglin where he reigns for the three days of Puck Fair, a centuries-old festival of drinking, music and dancing.

Locals may have to desperately trek the nearby hills after this year's chosen animal from the Northern Ireland town of Ballycastle could only get a four-day license for the trip south of the border.

It takes at least a day to bring a goat from Ballycastle to Killorglan and the goat is on the stand for three days. It's not possible to do that within the four days, Puck Fair chairman Declan Mangan told state radio station RTE.

The people in Ballycastle are looking for another goat who would be able to come for an extended trip to Kerry. In the meantime we have to look around the mountains here just incase.

Mangan said time is already running out for the local goat catcher to find a replacement for the fair which always falls on August 10-12, despite having origins that are not totally known.

Our problem is if we don't get a goat from the north pretty quick, our goat catch Frank Joy will have to go out onto the mountains and usually he is out for two or three weeks looking for a suitable goat, Mangan said.

However the panic could be good news for one lucky goat.

If you are a goat here in the mountains of Kerry, you could well end up being the King Of Ireland for the three days of Puck, Mangan added.

(Writing by Padraic Halpin)