Musical greats and sporting champions rounds off first weekend of the Mòd 2021

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The opening weekend of this year’s Royal National Mòd was an energetic showcase of the riches Gaelic culture has to offer.

Saturday morning’s shinty throw up marked the start of the weekend’s cultural activities, with under-14s coaching and competition sessions, all in Gaelic. The shinty shindig was rounded off with the women’s and men’s Mòd Cups, won for the ladies and the gents by Inverness City.

At the other side of the Highland capital, Inverness Royal Academy played host to the Mòd’s Football Cup. A tightly contested match between Glasgow Island and Loch Ness FC saw Glasgow Island crowned champions for 2021.

If sport wasn’t your thing, you certainly weren’t going to miss out! There was another chance to get moving with a pop-up cèilidh at the Eastgate Centre, which has families up dancing on Saturday afternoon.

Elsewhere, musical trio Marloch performed at The Botanic House in a vibrant meeting of modern and tradition.

Young talent provides the backbone to the future of Gaelic culture and this didn’t go unnoticed as the Mòd got under way.  Sharing the stage at the Our Language, Our Music concert on Saturday night with traditional music greats Duncan Chisholm, Mairearad Green, James Duncan MacKenzie and the amazing Ar Cànan ‘s Ar Cèol House Band, was some of the Highland’s most incredible up-and-coming young musical talent. And just to be sure everyone got in on the action, a ticketed live stream was set up from where it was all taking place, at the Empire Theatre at Eden Court.

Sunday saw the annual Mòd Church Service, providing an opportunity for reflection. The celebratory service was broadcast live on Radio nan Ghàidheal from the Old High Church, Inverness.

With another six days of music and celebration still to go, including the Gaelic and Traditional Gold medal finals as well as a very special Massed Choirs Event, the Mòd has well and truly returned.

James Graham, Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: ‘Our opening weekend has already been a great success and we appreciate everyone who has come out to support the Mòd since its launch on Friday.’

Chairman of The Highland Council’s Gaelic Committee Councillor Calum Munro said: ‘Following a resounding day of sport and music yesterday, today’s Mòd Service in the Old High Church will allow those gathered to reflect on the efforts and achievements involved in hosting the Mòd in Inverness during very difficult times. The Highland Council thanks all the organisers and participants for their support shown for the Royal National Mòd this year.’

Shona MacLennan, Ceannard, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: ‘The first weekend has certainly provided a welcome celebration for all those taking part in events in person or online.  The Mòd Church service will bring comfort and hope to all those listening and strengthen the sense of community amongst listeners.  The coming week will also no doubt provide many opportunities to engage in Gaelic events, and celebrations of all that is best in Gaelic culture.  We look forward to a fantastic week and wish all participants the very best.’

The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, Events Scotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Caledonian MacBrayne and SQA.

A number of Covid safety measures are in place in line with government guidelines to keep audiences and performers safe, including extensive cleaning and ongoing Covid safety checks, enhanced hygiene measures, use of face masks and track and trace check-ins.

The Royal National Mòd will run until October 16.  View the full programme and purchase tickets now at www.ancomunn.co.uk