Gaelic music, sport and culture celebrated as Mòd gets under way

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Mòd Shinty Cup, Mòd Cup Football and Our Language, Our Music concert featured over the weekend as this year’s Royal National Mòd got under way.

The nine-day festival launched in style with the Opening Mòd Concert at Empire Theatre on Friday, featuring unforgettable performances from young folk collective Staran, West Highland outfit Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band and legendary Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart.

There was also plenty of action for sports fans, with Mòd Shinty Cup competitions the Women’s Mòd Cup and Men’s Mòd Cup, as well as The Mòd Football Cup all taking place.

The free Mòd Shinty Cup event saw Inverness and Alba Women going head to head at Bught Park in the Women’s Mòd Cup. Inverness and Strathglass also took to the pitch for the Men’s Mòd Cup to battle it out for The Aviemore Trophy.

Meanwhile, the free Mòd Football Cup event took place at Inverness Royal Academy, with local champions Loch Ness FC and Glasgow Island competing for the Mòd Cup.

Gig lovers were in for a treat as the special Our Language, Our Music concert saw an all-star line-up of guest musicians.

Notable fiddle player Duncan Chisholm, award-winning multi-instrumentalist Mairearad Green, Isle of Lewis piper and flautist James Duncan Mackenzie and the amazing Cànan’s Ar Cèol House Band got toes tapping at the Empire Theatre, Eden Court at 7.30pm. There was also a host of up and coming musical talent as young Gaelic musicians took to the stage for the first time.

Other events taking place throughout the day included Disathairne A’ Mhòd, a compilation of the best performances submitted online, Ruith Nan Gàidheal, a Gaelic fun-run at Canal Parks beside the Rugby Club, Marloch Aig A’ Mhòd, an evening of traditional music with musical trio Marloch at The Botanic House and a free family-friendly Pop-Up Ceilidh at Falcon Square.

Youngsters could also take part in the free Gaelic Medium Shinty Coaching Session for under 14s, run by Gaelic speaking coaches from Ioamain Cholmcille and Inverness Shinty Club at Bught Park, followed by the Cruinneachadh nan Caman, a shinty competition with a Gaelic flavour for Inverness youngsters.

James Graham, chief executive officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘It was amazing to see everyone come together for the Opening Mòd Concert, especially after we’ve all went so long without live music.’

Chairperson of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee, Councillor Calum Munro, said: ‘It was fantastic to be at the Mòd opening and to be part of the celebrations of Gaelic music, sport and culture. The Mòd has a huge offering to a wide audience of all ages to share in the joy and experience of celebrating the Gaelic language. I encourage people to support the event and check out the Mòd programme at ancomunn.co.uk.’

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: ‘The Opening Mòd Concert provided the perfect curtain raiser for many parts of the Gaelic world to come together in celebration of music, sport and culture. The Royal National Mòd offers a huge range of activities which will engage people in Gaelic culture, as well as opportunities to use the language in fun and lively ways.  The aim of the National Gaelic Language Plan is to see more people use Gaelic more often and in more situations and the week’s programme will certainly help achieve that.’