Royal National Mod News

Paisley to host 110th Royal National Mòd for the first time

Published: 15 Aug 2013



Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd), Scotland’s premier event celebrating Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage, will this year travel to Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history.

The eight day celebration of Gaelic music, dance, drama, arts and literature, which takes place from Friday 11th until Saturday 19th October, is set to attract thousands of participants and visitors.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the world’s oldest and most respected national Gaelic organisation, The Royal National Mòd is a competition based event which attracts Highland dancers, pipers, musicians, singers and many more competitors from communities throughout the world.

Now in its 121st year the Royal National Mòd has a long and impressive history and has evolved to become the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland, regularly playing host to Gaelic speakers and competitors from as far afield as Australia, the USA and Canada.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: We’re absolutely delighted to bring the Royal National Mòd to Paisley for the very first time.

It’s really encouraging to see that even though this is the first time we’ve brought the Mòd to Paisley, we are seeing such high entries to competitions from adults and children from all over Scotland and further afield. With almost 3,000 participants already registered to take part, we can see that this Mòd is going to be a really busy, lively event with the numbers of entries close to the numbers achieved at the 2009 Mòd which was held in Oban.

We applaud the hard work of the local committee and thank the support of our sponsors in bringing this event to the central belt, and we hope that everyone will join us in having a fantastic week.

First held in 1892, the Royal National Mòd has evolved to be the second most important festival in Scotland, with ever increasing popularity and visitors coming from as far as Australia, the USA and Canada. Since 1912 the Mòd has been associated with the royal family, the Queen herself is a patron of the Mòd’s parent body An Comunn Gàidhealach, and members of the Royal Family regularly attend the event including HRH Duke of Rothesay who visited the Mòd in 2010 when Caithness played host for the first time.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: We are delighted to be able to welcome the Royal National Mòd to Paisley for the first time.

We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to the area during the Mòd and are sure they will find plenty to see and do while here.

Renfrewshire offers superb transport links and a stunning architectural heritage, all of which will be showcased during the Mòd.

With The Spree festival happening at the same time, there will be a real festival atmosphere to the town throughout October.

While the Mòd is mainly a competition based event, it also has a huge social influence and responsibility. By promoting and celebrating the Gaelic culture publicly on an international stage, it helps to bring people and communities - Gaels and non-Gaels - together. It provides an incentive for talented individuals and groups to develop and refine their talents in the public arena.

The Royal National Mòd offers a huge range of opportunities for people to compete, from fluent Gaelic speakers to those in the fledgling stages of learning the language.

The event kicks off on Friday 11th October with a torchlight procession organised by the local committee and involving the many competitors and members of the local community as they walk from Paisley Museum to Paisley Town Hall marking the start of this year’s Royal National Mòd. A grand opening ceremony will then take place in Paisley’s newly refurbished Town Hall early evening featuring performances from musicians, dancers and singers.

Martin Dorchester, managing director of CalMac, said: CalMac has been delighted to support the Royal National Mòd for many years. It has the twin benefits of underlining our support to the Gaelic language and also provides a unique opportunity to meet and engage with people from across our network over the course of the week. We are looking forward to coming to Paisley and are sure it will be a memorable event for all concerned.

Saturday traditionally plays host to the annual shinty match which this year sees Kyles Athletic play Glasgow Mid Argyll. There will also be a fiercely fought out football competition with competitors to be announced soon. The fiddlers’ rally is also hosted over the weekend with hundreds of musicians demonstrating their skills in a musical maelstrom. Traditionally tickets go very fast for this high octane spectacle which visitors won’t want to miss.

Children’s competitions take place at the start of the week with nearly 1,735 children from across the country taking part. The increase in numbers at the children’s Mòd reflects the impact that Gaelic Medium Education is now having on the revival of the Gaelic language in the central belt. The adult Traditional and Gold Medal qualifying rounds take place on Wednesday 16 October with the finals on Thursday 17 October.

The coveted Lovat & Tullibardine and Margrat Duncan titles will be awarded on Friday 19 October before the final concert takes place. The grand finale of the 2013 Royal National Mòd will take place on Saturday 20 October when the Massed Choirs will gather and perform in front of Paisley Town Hall.

The fringe activities also offer an annual opportunity for Gaels and non-Gaels to gather and renew old friendships as well as forging new ones. Fringe activity for this year includes ceilidhs, music, comedy events as well as for the first time, the Kennedy Gillies competition in a changed format this year.

There will be a maximum of six competitors in each qualifying round and the winner of each qualifying round plus the best runner-up will go through to the grand final on the evening of Friday 18th October held in Hamishes Hoose Bar in Paisley throughout Mòd week 2013. The winner will receive the Kennedy Gillies award, kindly donated by the family of Calum Kennedy and Anne Gillies.

Bòrd na Gàidhlig Ceannard (CEO), John Angus MacKay said: Bòrd na Gàidhlig welcomes the Royal National Mòd to Paisley. We expect that a Mòd in Paisley, and the publicity surrounding it, will generate additional interest in the Gaelic language and also encourage parents to take advantage of the educational opportunities and benefits available for their children through the language.

The focus the Mòd will bring on Gaelic in this area gives added impetus to our discussion with the Local Authority in this and surrounding areason how best to meet growing demand and to encourage young people to consider a career path using Gaelic.

The Royal National Mòd is supported by Renfrewshire Council, Caledonian MacBrayne, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, EventScotland, the national events agency, the Royal Bank of Scotland, SQA, BBC ALBA, the Scottish Government and Royal Mail.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: We’re pleased to be supporting The Royal National Mòd once again this year, an event recognized all over the world as a key celebration of Gaelic culture and language. We are delighted that entries have been high and it’s great that the event continues to attract new support from the central belt of Scotland. With so many activities for thousands of children and adults, and running alongside The Spree this year, the week should be a tremendous celebration of culture and heritage in Paisley.

The Spree (10 to 20 October) is returning to Paisley after a successful debut in 2012 and has been designed to run alongside the Royal National Mòd.

For full event programme and details, visit An Comunn’s website.


For media information please contact:

Tracy Simpson at DADA on 0141 222 2266 / 07515 066358 /

Chris Brown at DADA on 0141 222 2266 /

Photo captions:

Ruby O’Hagan, 6, Thorn Primary School, Johnstone practises her Highland Fling ahead of competing in this year’s Royal National Mòd which will be held in Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history.

Ruaidhri Irivine, 17, Douglas Academy, Milngavie plays the Clarsach while Ruby O’Hagan, 6, Thorn Primary School, Johnstone practises her Highland Fling ahead of competing in this year’s Royal National Mòd which will be held in Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history.

Caragh MacKinnon, 15, and Abbie MacNeil, 16, from Glasgow Gaelic School practise their Highland Fling ahead of competing in this year’s Royal National Mòd which will be held in Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history.

Ruaidhri Irivine, 17, plays the Clarsach while Caragh MacKinnon, 15, European and British Open champion Abbie MacNeil,16, and Ruby O’Hagan, 6, practise the Highland Fling ahead of competing in this year’s Royal National Mòd which will be held in Paisley for the first time in its 121 year history.

Notes to editors

  • Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, which is the oldest and most respected national Gaelic organisation, The Royal National Mòd is a competition based festival which attracts competitors from Gaelic communities throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Canada and the USA and is considered the biggest event of the Gaelic calendar.
  • EventScotland: EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews. EventScotland is part of VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland.
  • Year of Natural Scotland: Year of Natural Scotland is a campaign to showcase Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, unique natural environment and grow tourism spend in every corner of the country. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, EventScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.


Royal National Mòd - Schedule of events 2013

Date Event Venue*
Friday 11 Oct Opening ceremony Paisley Town Hall
Saturday 12 Oct Mòd Shinty Cup Final Kyles Athletic vs Glasgow Mid Argyll Thornly Park
Fiddlers’ Rally Paisley Abbey
Piping Paisley Grammar School
Sunday 13 Oct Mòd Church Service Paisley Abbey
Monday 14 Oct Children Prizewinners’ Concert Paisley Town Hall
Tuesday 15 Oct Children Prizewinners’ Concert Paisley Town Hall
Wednesday 16 Oct Literature Awards Renfrewshire Council Buildings (Marriage Suite) - TBC
Gold medal Qualifying Coats Memorial Church
Silver Pendant Final Paisley Town Hall
Drama Finals University of West of Scotland (Brough Hall)
Traditional Gold Medal Qualifying Coats Memorial Church
Thursday 17 Oct Highland Dancing University of West of Scotland
Gold Medal Finals Paisley Town Hall
Traditional Gold Medal Final Paisley Town Hall
Friday 18 Oct Lovat & Tullibardine Paisley Town Hall
Margrat Duncan Paisley Town Hall
Final concert Paisley Town Hall
Saturday 19 Oct Mass choir Meet at front of Paisley Town Hall

* may be subject to change. Check website to confirm.

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