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Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd) will return to Dunoon next month (Friday 12 October – Saturday 20 October) for the eighth time – with a very special focus on Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.
The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Dunoon for the first time since 2012, with a host of initiatives aimed at encouraging more young people to get involved already under way.
Throughout the year, Dunoon schools have welcomed tutors from FèisSgoil to help them prepare for Mòd competitions, as part of An Comunn Gàidhealach’s Mòd Academy initiative, which aims to help youngsters learn and develop their musical and Gaelic skills.
Local drama workshops for Dunoon’s youngsters were hosted in recent months in a bid to inspire more children to get involved with Gaelic drama, with a group set to perform at this year’s festival; and organisers have been working closely with the Camanachd Association to arrange a junior shinty Mòd Cup match before the annual senior match.
This year also saw the establishment of the first ever Young Person’s Committee, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, which has allowed young Gaels the opportunity to get involved in the Mòd planning process, and to have their say on what they would like to see.
Last year’s event generated £2.6m for host location Lochaber and organisers are confident they will see a similar impact in Dunoon. The newly refurbished Queen’s Hall will play host to several key events at Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival, which will kick off on Friday October 12. The annual torchlight procession will open the celebrations in style with hundreds of people weaving through the streets of Dunoon in dazzling scenes.
The procession will conclude at Queen’s Hall, where the opening ceremony will take place. Co-presented by Patrick Morrison, an Edinburgh University student from North Uist who was last year nominated for a Young Gaelic Ambassador award, the opening party will also welcome performances from the hugely talented young trad bands SIAN and Beinn Lee.
Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the Mòd is the biggest, most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland. Each year, it sees thousands of competitors from Scotland and beyond take part in or watch over 200 competitions in highland dancing, sport, literature and drama, as well as Gaelic music and song.
Alongside the main competitions, The Mòd Fringe returns with a jam-packed programme filled with foraging, shinty, orienteering, traditional music, book launches, ceilidhs, concerts and art forms of every description, throughout the festival week.
John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘At the Royal National Mòd, we aim to promote and celebrate Scotland’s unique Gaelic cultural heritage. It’s been fantastic to get Scotland’s young people involved in a much more profound way this year, and it’s promising to know the future of this heritage is in such capable, enthusiastic hands.
‘This year’s theme could not be more appropriate for the Mòd, given the sheer amount of talent we witness each year from schools across the country. We’re excited to be returning to Dunoon this year, and we’ve been busy for the last several months trying to make the vision of our young people a reality.’
Julie Pirone, director of external relations at Royal Mail said: ‘Royal Mail is delighted to be supporting Gaelic language and culture through its long standing support of the Royal National Mod and the Provincial Gaelic Mods.
‘The promotion of Scottish culture, of which the Gaelic language is a vital part, is vital in much the same way as the services Royal Mail provides. No other company has a network, which reaches so far into the heart of Scotland’s remote and rural communities as Royal Mail.’
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: ‘EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the internationally renowned Royal National Mòd, especially as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.
‘The involvement of the Young Person’s Committee in the co-design of this year’s event along with the local workshops and tutorials will ensure young people are well represented across the nine days.
‘Events play a key role in Scotland’s visitor economy, and as shown by last year’s event, the Royal National Mòd is helping drive Scotland’s and the host region’s visitor economy by welcoming performers and spectators from across the world each October.’