Published: 08 Sep 2009
ROYAL NATIONAL MOD RETURNS TO IT’S ROOTS AS FESTIVAL PROGRAMME LAUNCHES FOR 2009
Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mod), one of Scotland’s major cultural festivals and the Gaelic community’s most eagerly anticipated celebration of arts, music, culture and language, is set to return home to Oban as a highlight of the national Homecoming celebrations.
Running from Friday 9th October to Saturday 17th October, the Mòd is set to attract both Scottish and international competitors over the course of the week-long event and thousands of spectators are expected to fill the town.
Philip Preston, managing director of Caledonian Macbrayne, President of An Comunn Gaidhealach John Macleod and Mòd director Janet MacDonald will all attend the official opening ceremony in the Corran Halls which will feature a performance from a junior choir.
Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, which is the oldest and most respected Gaelic organisation, Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail is a festival which celebrates the Gaelic language and culture through music, dance, drama, arts and literature. It was first held in Oban in 1892, and since then has grown to become the second biggest festival in Scotland.
As well as the many members of the Gaelic community who attend regularly, the Mòd also attracts visitors and competitors from throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Canada and the USA.
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: “The Mòd is hugely important to Gaelic culture both in Scotland and internationally and we are delighted to bring the Mòd back to Oban, the place where it all started, as a highlight of Scotland’s Homecoming year.
“The success of the Mòd largely relies on the support we receive from the host communities and businesses and we are hugely thankful to them for making us so welcome.
“We are expecting a great turn out this year and hope that the location will make it accessible for as many people as possible so that everyone can enjoy the event.”
The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, the national events agency, through its International Funding Programme and by Argyll and Bute Council.
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, said: “2009 is Scotland’s year of Homecoming, a year long celebration of Scotland’s great contributions to the world. It is also a year where we are inviting all those with their roots in Scotland and an affinity and love for the country to come home and celebrate with us. It is therefore particularly appropriate that the Mod itself, an event which plays such a vital role in preserving and promoting Scotland’s heritage and Gaelic culture, should be coming home to Oban.
“EventScotland has supported the Royal National Mòd since 2004 and continues to invest in the event through a period of growth and development. In 2008, the Mòd generated nearly £2 million in economic impact for Scotland and welcomed thousands of visitors from around the world. We anticipate that, in this year of Homecoming, the festival will attract record numbers to Argyll and Bute, an area of outstanding natural beauty which will really showcase Scotland’s spectacular scenery and warm hospitality.”
Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council also welcomed the Mòd home to Oban. “Argyll and Bute Council has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Year of Homecoming and the Royal National Mod is certainly one of the crowning jewels of the year long programme of events. It is particularly fitting in this year of Homecoming that the Royal National Mòd should return to its roots. Not only will it be a huge economic boost for Oban but will impact on the whole of Argyll and Bute. It will delight residents and visitors alike and provide a showcase for the Gaelic culture.
“Argyll and Bute Council is pleased to support the Mòd and to welcome visitors to the area.”
The competitions for the 2009 titles start in earnest with the children’s events over Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 October. Over 1,500 children from across Scotland will compete. Disciplines include a range of events from solo singing to choral competition and the contest to become a Junior Prizewinner is strong.
Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October will see the start of the hotly contested Mòd Gold Medal and Traditional Gold Medal competitions. Previous winners include James Graham and Kirsteen MacDonald who have each scooped both of the coveted medals in recent years.
A range of choral events take place across the Thursday and Friday and end with the choirs competing for the coveted Lovat & Tullibardine Trophy and Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy amongst others. The grand finale is on Saturday 17 October when over 300 choir members will gather on the waterfront in Oban for a stunning final performance to mark the end of this year’s event.
Philip Preston, Caledonian Macbrayne’s managing director said: “The Mòd is a great occasion to celebrate Gaelic culture and to meet friends old and new. CalMac has been the main commercial supporter of the Royal National Mod since 2002 but this year’s event in Oban will be extra-special for everyone at CalMac.
“Oban sits at the very heart of the CalMac network and is the arrival and departure port for many of the ferries that bring competitors and visitors to the Mod.
“I and many of the senior management team at CalMac will be in Oban for the Mòd, and we all hope to meet as many Mòd -goers as possible.”
The majority of venues in and around Oban including scout halls, church halls and schools will play host to the competitions with the Corran Halls acting as the main venue for the festival.
John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach joins pupils from Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu (Glasgow Gaelic School) to mark the programme launch of The Royal National Mòd
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