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Place-names: Scotland’s Gaelic story
Gaelic was once the main language of Scotland. No other source tells us more about Scotland’s Gaelic story than our country’s place-names. Join Dr Alasdair C. Whyte (University of Glasgow Research Fellow & Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2019) and learn about the first Gaelic place-names recorded in Scotland, how Gaelic came to be spoken in almost every corner of the country and about the various other things that place-names can tell us, if we look at them closely enough. The event will take place online via Zoom for Gaelic speaking teenagers. To register your place, book here: https://tinyurl.com/y5tbvstb
Please click here to view the latest edition of the An Comunn Gaidhealach newsletter.
We hope you enjoy it!
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Tell us about yourself?
My name is John Joe MacNeil, I’m from Barra originally although I am currently living in Edinburgh. I work at Edinburgh University as a. I also run the MA in Primary Education with Gaelic.
How has lockdown been?
I must say, I have enjoyed it to an extent. Although there are some days where I feel a bit lonely and just want to jump on a plane to Barra! I am keeping busy though. As well as my work, I am also broadcasting a radio programme on Celtic Music Radio again, something I used to do as a student in Glasgow. I have also been learning some new skills in technology, broadcasting live from my flat, using various machines. I have been working on various music projects, busy with choral arrangements as well as singing and playing the piano at home. I moved to Edinburgh in September and one room is full of boxes so I have been working on emptying these and going through old photos, books and CDs. The charity shops will be busy with all they will be getting from me after this!
What have you missed most?
Well, this is an easy question to answer. I have missed my family and friends, returning home to Barra and getting together with friends for a bit of craic.
Have you enjoyed being involved in Taigh Cèilidh a’ Mhòid?
I have thoroughly enjoyed it. What an wealth of singers we have heard from. I love hearing the songs and all about the memories the singers share with us from the time they won their Medals. It is also great to hear performances from those who are no longer with us, this is a precious gift they have given to us.
There is a lot of work involved in the live ceilidhs, you are obviously a bit of a tech guru, is it complicated?
Had you asked me that question when we first started doing the ceilidhs, I would have said it was very complicated, I think it was giving us all grey hair at the beginning! However, now that we are more used to it and have a better idea of
what it involves, it is much easier. Not only is the structure of the ceilidhs easier but I feel more familiar with all the technology involved as well and what difficulties may arise. The An Comunn staff contact the singers initially, to invite them to come and sing on the Cèilidh, to find out a little bit about themselves and about the songs they have chosen to sing. That information is then passed on to me so that I can prepare a script for the evening and make some notes so that I know a little about the singers, if I am not familiar with them already or the songs they have chosen. That is all just to make sure everything runs smoothly. It’s always the same questions we ask them, so we can find out a bit about them now and about their memories from when they won their medals. We also want to make sure that there is a good bit of craic about the evening! I’d like to say a very big thank you to Alex and Anna, who run all the technology behind the scenes and pull everything together. We’d be in trouble if all of that was left to me! We want people to get the feeling that they are at an actual traditional ceilidh. We have a fantastic team working on this and we are looking forward to the next one.
Do you still perform as a solo artist?
I occasionally sing now and again. I love singing and have been trying to learn new songs during lockdown. I have a very long list of songs which I have been planning to learn for years and have been trying to learn some of these.
Do you prefer being in front of or behind the camara lens?
I enjoy both. I enjoy learning all the different skills in working on the technology behind the scenes but on the other hand, I do enjoy being in front of the camera delivering a programme. I think I will go for in front of the camera.
What do you prefer, singing solo or in a Choir?
I do enjoy singing solo. Although I get nervous, I enjoy singing and telling the story of the poetry but I also love singing in a Choir. I love all the choral arrangements and how the choral arrangements help to tell the story of the
song. For that reason, I will go with singing in a Choir.
If you had the choice to sing with anyone on stage, who would it be?
If I had the choice, I would have loved to have sung with my Grandfather. His voice and his style of singing was just wonderful and I would love to, not only sing on a stage with him, but to also spend time with him, remembering all these different styles and the things he taught me when I was young and have now, to an extent, forgotten.
Place-names, lore & song from Muile/Mull (online event) The Cailleach is a legendary figure in Gaelic culture. Localised versions of her are known across the Gàidhealtachd: to some in Earra-Ghàidheal/Argyll she is A’ Chailleach Bheur but to others she is Cailleach Beinn a’ Bhric or Cailleach
Mhòr Chlìbhric, to name but a few.
Join Dr Alasdair C. Whyte (University of Glasgow & Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2019) as he shares place-names, lore and song associated with The Cailleach from his own area and beyond.
This talk is free and is suitable for Gaelic speakers and learners of the language, although a basic understanding of the language would be advantageous.
The event will take place online via Zoom. To register your place, book here: https://tinyurl.com/y8w8ar74
We have some fantastic news for you! Following the success of our Taigh Cèilidh event last month, we are delighted to announce that we will be bringing the second live concert of the series next week!
The second Taigh Cèilidh a’ Mhòid event will take place on Thursday 11 June at 8.30pm and will feature Traditional Mod Gold Medallists from the 90s.
We are delighted that we will have John Joe MacNeill back as MC for the evening.
So be sure to tune in live to the Royal National Mod Facebook page on the 11th – chì sinn ann sibh!
The May issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach newsletter is now available to view here.
We hope you enjoy it!
You can view this month’s issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach newsletter here.
We hope you enjoy!
We hope you are all safe and well and staying at home!
While many of us are at home under the lockdown, we are so fortunate that there are still so many key workers who are working harder than ever to protect us all. That includes all NHS workers, care home workers, retail workers, Royal Mail and other delivery workers, lorry drivers who are busy transporting food and NHS supplies and all the other key workers who are working hard to ensure we are safe and comfortable at home and we would like to say a very big thank you to each and every one of them.
There are already numerous messages and videos circulating social media thanking the key workers and rightly so. We would like to do the same using our page, but completely in Gaelic. So we would love it if you could post a short video onto this page with a message of thanks, using #gaisgichcorona. You can do it individually, as a family, using music or whatever!
You can thank someone in particular such as a family member or friend who may work in the NHS, in a supermarket etc. or just a message of thanks to all key workers in general – all messages are appreciated. Let’s show our appreciation to all our fantastic key workers.
Click on the following link for some useful information for traditional musicians, compiled by the Traditional Music Forum.
James Graham has today taken up post of Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach.
We as a team would like to warmly welcome James to the post and wish him many years of success and happiness at the helm of the organisation.
We would also like to thank John Morrison once again for all his hard work and dedication to the organisation and to the Gaelic language over the years. We wish him all the best in his retirement.
Please click here to view this month’s newsletter.
Both our offices are now closed and all members of staff are working from home.
Should you wish to contact us, please email us using the contact details here.
Keep an eye on our social media pages for any updates and information.
We hope you are all well, please take care and stay safe.
From all An Comunn Gàidhealach.
Important information regarding the Coronavirus.
The An Comunn Gàidhealach AGM will take place this Friday in the Town Hall, Inverness at 6.3pm. All members welcome.
**CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK**
Unfortunately this year’s Edinburgh International Harp Festival has been cancelled.
“It is with deep regret (due to circumstances beyond our control) that we announce that the 2020 Edinburgh International Harp Festival has been cancelled, by Merchiston Castle School, following their concerns about the COVID-19 virus.
Our administration team will begin contacting ticket holders, for all our events, tomorrow. We ask you kindly for your patience in this.
If you have booked accommodation at Merchiston, please email the school’s events team on email@example.com
We are deeply saddened that we won’t see you this year, but rest assured, we will be back!
The Edinburgh International Harp Festival”
Here is some information regarding a Gaelic song competition that Ceòlas is running to commemmorate our 25th summer school this year.
The cash prize is £250 and submissions close on 1 May, 2020. We’re looking for a happy song which could then be taught at the summer school in July.
We’re looking to circulate this to anyone who might be interested in submitting a song to the competition. More informations is available on the website: https://www.ceolas.co.uk/2020/01/21/gaelic-song-competition/
Our Annual General Meeting will take place on 13/03/20 in Inverness.
You can now view this month’s newsletter via the link below. We hope you enjoy reading it!
This year’s Edinburgh International Harp Festival takes place between the 3rd and 8th April.
Further details are available here.
The An Comunn Gàidhealach Annual General Meeting will take place on Friday 13th March at 6.30pm, in the Town House, Inverness.
All members of An Comunn Gàidhealach are invited to attend.
For further information please contact 01463 709 705.
A list of all the dates for this year’s Provincial Mods can be found via the following link:
Each provincial Mod has its own dedicated page on the website to enable Committees to promote their Mod and to advertise any events taking place and so on. Please click here to access these pages.
An Comunn Gaidhealach has announced that James Graham, originally from Lochinver, will be the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer when John Morrison retires at the end of March following over twelve years in that post.
The considerable wide experience James has acquired in the decade since 2010 employed as An Comunn’s Mod Manager, tackling the varied management and delivery challenges of National Mods as well as Provincial events, will be of considerable benefit to him in his new post.
James said. “It is a very great honour to be taking over in this post and I am very much looking forward to maintaining the outstanding work which John Morrison established, but I recognise this will be challenging. My ambition will be to strive to develop and strengthen the organisation further in the future. As a participant in Provincial and National Mods since boyhood and through my management work over the past decade, I have become increasingly aware that the Mod is a foundation for Gaelic culture and its arts. This job will bring challenges, but I look forward to the unqualified support of my colleagues, and our Board Members, in taking the organisation forward.”
An Comunn President, Allan Campbell, said. “We congratulate James, and welcome him to this important job, and we wish him every success in the post! At the same time, we extend our warmest good wishes for a long and happy retirement to John Morrison, when he will stand down from the post at the end of March.”
The January issue of the newsletter is now available to read here.
Please be aware of amendments to the following prescribed pieces for this year’s Royal National Mod. Any further amendments will be posted here.
We are delighted to be a part of the exciting line-up of events celebrating Scotland’s Year of Coastal Waters. Keep an eye out for updates on what we have planned for #YCW2020 this year.
Check out www.visitscotland.com/ycw2020 for more information on the different events taking place throughout the year.
Still suffering from Mòd Ghlaschu blues? Well here’s a reminder of what was going on during that fantastic week!
Good news! The John MacLeod Memorial Lecture, delivered by Dr Alasdair Whyte, will be available to watch live on An Comunn’s Gàidhealach’s Facebook page. Tune in from 7pm night!
Come along to hear the John MacLeod Memorial Lecture, delivered by Dr Alasdair Whyte, on Thursday 30th January in Edinburgh.
The next soup and pudding event will be on SATURDAY 25 JANUARY 2020 at the Old High Church Halls, Academy Street, Inverness.
We hope that you will be there!
The second annual John Macleod Memorial Lecture, organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach and supported by the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies of the University of Edinburgh, will take place on Thursday 30 January 2020, in The Project Room, 50 George Square, University of Edinburgh, EH8 9LH, 19.00-21.30pm.
In recognition of John’s enthusiasm and encouragement of young people in the Gaelic community it is appropriate that the second address will be delivered by Dr Alasdair Whyte (Tosgaire na Gàidhlig 2019 – Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2019).
We shall gather at the University where Professor William J Watson resided for over 20 years. It is fitting that the Memorial Address in 2020 will focus upon “fèin-aithne agus fèin-misneachd nan Gaidheal”. This subject allows Alasdair to weave his academic background into the subject of identity and self-esteem. Placenames help us to understand our identity, and Alasdair is a leading authority on the Gaelic placenames of Scotland.
Ninety four years have passed since The Celtic Place-names of Scotland was first published. Almost one century later we gather, at the University of Edinburgh, to listen to an address by a new authority on Celtic Placenames, which seeks to
help us understand our identity. Professor Watson would have approved.
Dr Alasdair Whyte said: It is a real honour to be invited to present this year’s John MacLeod Memorial Lecture. It was through local and national Mòds that I first came to know John, and his dedication to Gaelic and promotion of Gaelic identity was an example to me. The age of globalisation has devalued the local across the world but with it comes opportunity. Through innovation and new technology, we can lead from the front in celebrating and advancing our own rich language and culture, as John did.
Allan Campbell, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said, “We very much look forward to welcoming Dr Alasdair Whyte to deliver the second John Macleod Memorial Lecture. Alasdair is a young man whose commitment to Gaelic has already brought him much success including winning the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal at the 2006 Royal National Mod in Dunoon; a First-class Honours Degree in Gaelic, followed by a PhD; and named the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year at the 2019 Royal National Mod in Glasgow. Alasdair inherited his love of singing and his musical talent from his family of noted musicians from Morvern”
Prof. Rob Dunbar, Departnment of Celtic and Scottish Studies of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted and indeed, deeply honoured to host the second John Macleod Memorial Lecture. John was a tireless and principled campaigner for the language and contributed greatly to the Gaelic community both nationally and here in Edinburgh. It will be a pleasure to welcome Dr Alasdair Whyte to the University. Alasdair was this year’s recipient of the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador of the Year award at Glasgow’s Royal National Mod in October. His continued commitment to progressing Gaelic language and heritage make him an excellent role model and a most appropriate lecturer.”
The Comunn Gàidhealach an Òbain Old New Year Ceilidh takes place on Saturday 11th January 2020 from 7.30pm in the Masonic Hall, Albany Street, Oban.
This year’s lecture will take place on Thursday 30 January at the University of Edinburgh.
Old New Year Ceilidh Dance, Saturday 11th January, Inverness.
For tickets please click here.
Ian McCrorie MBE
Soup & Pudding Lunch, this Saturday, Inverness!
We are currently looking to recruit a Chief Executive Officer.
Applications in the form of a CV, and accompanying letter highlighting your skills and knowledge relevant to the post, should be submitted by midnight on Monday 16 December. (Address Below)
Page Executive acts as an employment agency for permanent recruitment and an employment business for the supply of temporary workers. Page Executive is an Equal Opportunities Employer.
Page Executive Scotland
180 West George Street
Glasgow, G2 2NR
T: +44 141 331 7964
M: +44 790 021 4954
An Comunn Gàidhealach wishes to announce that John Morrison, who has been the Chief Executive Officer for the last twelve years, is due to retire at the end of March 2020.
John Morrison said, “It has been a privilege to contribute to the promotion, and the development, of Gaelic through the Royal National Mod and the network of Provincial Mods over the years. I took up this role in 2008 and I have been extremely fortunate to work with such supportive people, including staff, Directors and Members of An Comunn Gàidhealach. I am certain that we have repositioned An Comunn Gàidhealach over the last decade, and we have also strengthened the structures that underpin the organisation. However, we have not yet managed to establish secure public funding support for the Royal National Mod, the main annual event in the Gaelic calendar, and that will be a challenge for my successor. I will offer every support to that person. ”
The President of An Comunn Gàidhealach Allan Campbell said, “ I, and the other Directors of An Comunn Gàidhealach, are indebted to John for his professional service over the past twelve years, at the helm of An Comunn Gàidhealach, and for all the commendable improvements he brought to the organisation over that period. Without a doubt, John is leaving the organisation in robust condition for the new Chief Executive. Working with John over the years has been a real pleasure for me, both as a Director and since 2017 as President. We wish John a long and happy retirement, when he eventually manages to leave!”
The post of Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach will now be advertised. For further information please contact: An Comunn Gàidhealach, 01463 709705.
Congratulations to everyone who won trophies at this year’s Mod. Please remember to have those trophies returned to either our Inverness or Stornoway offices, before 31st July 2020. Failure to do so will result in a £30 administration fee..
Please remember to return all your National Mòd trophies before the end of this month. You can return your trophies to either our Inverness or Stornoway offices, or in Glasgow with Comhairle nan Leabhraichean.
We currently have an excellent opportunity for a 12-month graduate placement to upgrade existing systems to increase efficiency, and to develop an online marketing strategy to attract a wider audience and increase membership.
The placement will be located either in the Stornoway or Inverness office, depending on the graduate’s personal circumstances.
Salary: £24,799 per annum
For more information please visit: https://tinyurl.com/y2k6co3m
Competitors now have the opportunity to make their entries for this year’s National Mòd up until the 5th of July 2019.
You can view changes and amendments to this year’s prescribed pieces below.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Màiri Macleod at firstname.lastname@example.org
Following our AGM, which was held in the beautifully refurbished Town Hall in Inverness, An Comunn Gàidhealach are pleased to welcome Eilidh NicIain to our Board of Directors.
Eilidh belongs to North Uist and has worked on the mainland,mostly with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, until she recently returned to North Uist where she is now employed by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
We at An Comunn Gàidhealach look forward to having Eilidh bring her ideas and skills to the work of our Board in the future.
Take a look at this month’s newsletter for Mòd information & pics and news about different events happening in the Gaelic world…
The winner of this years Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy is Stirling Gaelic Choir and the Lovat and Tullibardine Sheild is Lothian Gaelic Choir. Congratulations to both choirs!
You can view photos from this year’s Royal National Mod on Graham Hood’s website.
This year’s Lorne Shield was won by Melvich Gaelic Choir. The Sheriff MaMaster Campbell Memorial Trophy was won by Bùrach - congratulations to both choirs!
Photographs can be viewed here: http://www.grahamhoodphotography.com/proofing/royal-national-mod-thursday-18th-october-2018/gallery
Steaphanaidh Campbell and Kieran Joseph Macinnes are this year’s winners of this year’s Traditional Gold Medal. Congratulations!
You can view the official Mod photographs from Thursday’s and Friday’s competitions here:
Gaelic Learner of the Year 2018: Izzy Flower
Originally from Dunbar, Izzy is a student at the University of Glasgow who has recently spent a year studying Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. She always had a keen interest in languages, but it was only in her final year in James Gillespies High School that she got the opportunity to learn Gaelic. Since then Izzy has done incredibly well, achieving fluency in Gaelic and is full of enthusiasm for the language and all that it entails. Congratulations, Izzy!
Ruairidh Cormack, Portree and Ceitidh Campbell, Inverness - winners of this year’s An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal - Congratulations!
Please click on the following link to view photographs from Wednesday’s competitions:
Eileen Duncan, Tongue and Mikie Henderson, Keiss, winners of this year’s Silver Pendant. Many congratulations!
Click on the link below to view this year’s official Mod photographs:
Keep up with the results through our website.
Chief Executive- An Comunn Gàidhealach
40 Huntly Street
We lost a true Gael very suddenly on Thursday 4th January, and the death of John MacLeod, at just 66 years of age, is an enormous blow and his diligence and commitment to the Gaelic language and culture will be greatly missed.
However our first thoughts and condolences are with the close family which is left behind and where his widow Christine, son Calum, daughter Mairi and her husband Kevin, and John’s sisters and all their families, must attempt to adjust to this tragic loss in their midst. We wish them strength and solace.
John was an active supporter of Gaelic over many years, but when he retired from his post with Lothian and Borders Police in 2000 his involvement with Gaelic development increased dramatically. Among the many initiatives in which he engaged John was also Chairman of the National Gaelic Parents Association, a board member of Comunn na Gàidhlig, a member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and a board member of An Comunn Gàidhealach where he also served as President for ten years. When John stood down from that position at the Comunn Gaidhealach Annual General Meeting in early 2017 he described his term of office as an honour, and he said he was proud that the organisation was “in a strong position to support the development of our wonderful language; music and culture in the years to come.”
On behalf of An Comunn Gaidhealach I wish to re-state our appreciation and thanks for all that John did for this organisation and for Gaelic in general, and we were immensely proud that his enormous commitment was publicly acknowledged when he was awarded the honour of Sàr Ghàidheal (True Gael) at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s annual graduation ceremony in autumn 2017.
For me personally it was a privilege to have known John over nearly the past twenty five years, I wish eternal peace to a champion!
We understand that many will be looking for information regarding funeral service arrangements and we will publish this information as soon as we receive details from the family.
President – An Comunn Gaidhealach
I am very grateful to Professor Dòmhnall Meek for giving me the permission to share the poignant words he wrote when he heard of John’s death:
Thàinig naidheachd sa mhadainn
A thug bròn orm is smalan
Gun do leagadh an gaisgeach MacLeòid.
Mar chraobh chinnteach na daraich,
Sheas e làidir is daingeann
A’ toirt dùbhlan don ghaillinn ‘s e beò.
Fo gheugan bha fasgadh
Do gach neach a bha labhairt
Ann an cànan nan Gàidheal mar an còir;
Gu socrach ‘s gu gasda,
Anns an sgoil is an dachaigh,
Bheireadh Iain dhaibh taic agus treòir.
Ann an sràid a’ phrìomh bhaile
Bha a’ Ghàidhlig fo aire,
‘S e cur loinn agus mais’ air a seòl.
Mar cheannard bha snas air,
Gun àrdan, gun charachd,
Ach gu h-iriosal, tapaidh na dhòigh.
Gun fhiosda leagadh an darag
Le buille tuaighe bha aithghearr,
‘S chaidh ar grian is ar latha fo sgòth.
A Leòdaich uasail, a charaid,
Tha do bhàs-sa gar crathadh,
‘S tha naidheachd na maidne gar leòn.
Domhnall E Meek - 5.01.18
Please click on the following link to view the latest issue of the An Comunn Gaidhealach newsletter:
Today, a Saltire Ceremony took place at our Inverness office, Balnain House, to celebrate the historical & heritage links between An Comunn Gàidhealach and The National Trust for Scotland.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Norman Maclean on the 31st of August at the age of 80 years.
Norman was a hugely talented man and was famous across the Gaelic community and beyond, as a brilliant comedian, actor, singer, teacher, poet, author and piper. Tormod was renowned for his exceptional knowledge of Gaelic language and culture and for inspiring so many youngsters and musicians to continue the Gaelic tradition.
Tormod was a Mòd Gold Medallist, winning the coveted award in 1967. In the same year, he was also crowned as the An Comunn Bàrd- the only person ever to receive both awards in the same year.
Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and friends at this sad time.
Còisir Gàidhlig an Iar Thuath are desperately short of sopranos and men for the forthcoming Mòd and are appealing for any budding choristers to join them.
“The competitions we sing in will be held in Fort William on 18th October. Help with words/music will be readily available - proficiency in Gaelic is not essential but a love of singing is!
“Practices are currently held on Thursday evenings - either in Ullapool or Inchnadamph.
“Please contact the choir if you would like to find out more.”
The Association of Gaelic Choirs are pleased to announce the launch of two choir conducting workshops aimed at developing the skills of aspiring conductors of Gaelic choirs. The workshops have received funding support from Creative Scotland’s ‘Tasgadh’ Fund and follow on from two similar workshops that were held by An Comunn Gàidhealach in 2014.
Donald MacLeod, a member of the Association of Gaelic Choirs said, “Following research carried out into what support Junior Gaelic choirs would most welcome, it was apparent that the provision of training from more experienced conductors was of most value.
We know that not all schools and areas have the skills, time and resources to be able to keep their choirs going or start up new ones. However, through these workshops we hope to be able to support any school or community choir that wish to do so.”
The workshops are open and aimed at Gaelic choirs in general but with an emphasis on current or any new, prospective conductors of Junior Gaelic choirs. The first workshop will be held in the Spectrum Centre in Inverness on 24th June from 0930-1530 and will be delivered by well-known musician and accomplished conductor of Oban Gaelic Choir, Sileas Sinclair. A second workshop will be held later in the year and led by the highly experienced and respected conductor of Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association, Kenneth Thomson, details of this will be distributed soon. Each workshop will cost just £25.
Experienced conductor, Kenneth Thomson, who will lead the Glasgow workshop, is looking forward to the prospect of working with his conductors. Kenneth said, “I have been involved in Gaelic choral singing for a very long time now and I am thrilled to be able to get the chance to pass on some of my experience to other conductors. We, effectively, want to support Gaelic choral singing and it would be great to see another few Junior Gaelic choirs forming around the country.”
If you are interested in attending either workshop, please contact Donald MacLeod: email@example.com, tel. 07900 512 614.
An Comunn Gàidhealach, The Highland Council and the Lochaber Royal National Mòd Local Organising Committee (LOC) are working in partnership with Fèisean nan Gàidheal to deliver the Mòd Academy Project in the lead up to the Royal National Mòd taking place in Lochaber during mid-October.
Schools in the Lochaber area are currently being offered the opportunity to participate in the Mòd Academy Project where experienced Gaelic tutors and tutors of traditional music will visit schools in the area to give language and musical tuition to pupils.
The Mòd Academy will ensure that appropriate recognition is given to Gaelic, Gaelic songs, bàrdachd and traditional music in schools, and that pupils will have the opportunity to receive tuition in these areas. This will support and prepare the young people to participate in the Mòd.
Currently 14 schools in the area have accepted the opportunity to participate in the Mòd Academy Project.
The Project also includes a series of Mòd Road Shows, which involves An Comunn Officers visiting schools to raise awareness about the Mòd and how the pupils can take part and participate in the competitions and events. It is hoped that this will lead to more young people participating in the Mòd.
Mr Ronald Cameron, Chairperson of the LOC said, “In the last few years Meur Lochabar, the local branch of An Comunn, did arrange for a tutor to prepare pupils in 3 local primary schools for the Lochabar Provincial Mòd.
We are delighted that The Highland Council, in partnership with An Comunn Gàidhealach and have engaged Fèisean nan Gàidheal to deliver the Mòd Academy Project which is extending tuition to 14 schools across the greater district and prepare pupils for both Local Mòds and the Royal National Mod. This is very exciting and will create a momentum for cultural and linguistic enrichment that will continue for years to come. This also provides early evidence of both the cultural and economic benefits that the Royal National Mod offers the area.”
He continued, “The Mòd Academy Project includes highly experienced and well renowned singers and tradition bearers from the surrounding area, including Joy Dunlop, Mary Ann Kennedy, Janet Campbell and Sìleas Sinclair. We would like to take the opportunity to thank the organisers, the tutors and all the Head Teachers who are involved with the project.”
Mrs Eilidh Mackenzie, Fèisgoil Manager, Fèisean nan Gàidheal said,
“Participation in Gaelic music making, especially in a group setting, is a good example of the Curriculum for Excellence at its best. By working in partnership with The Highland Council and An Comunn Gaidhealach, it has enabled us to engage with a fantastic tutor team, and the programme that we have pulled together, is able to support staff and encourage children, at the same time showing them that learning Gaelic songs is entirely achievable whatever your previous knowledge of the culture, not to mention lots of fun!”
Mr John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn said,
“The Mòd Academy is an excellent example of the Highland Council Gaelic Team, An Comunn Gàidhealach, the Mòd 2017 Local Organising Committee and Fèisean nan Gàidheal working in partnership to deliver an innovative project which will benefit all those participating. We are grateful for the funding support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The Highland Council, the Patrons Fund and the contributions from the families of the late Charlie MacColl and the late George Smith.”
The AGM of Comunn Gàidhealach an Òbain will take place on Tuesday 23rd May at 7.30pm in Furan Gaelic Centre, Corran Halls, Oban.
All current and new members are welcome to attend.
After 10 years as President of An Comunn Gàidhealach Mr John Macleod has stepped aside from the role and welcomed Mr Allan Campbell as the new President. Allan, who is originally from the Isle of Skye and now lives in Inverness, has been involved with An Comunn Gàidhealach and the Royal National Mòd for many years and has served as a Director of the organisation for the last eight years.
John Macleod welcomed the appointment saying “Allan is a well-known and greatly respected member of the Gaelic community. He will bring his vast experience as a broadcaster, and as a Gaelic language campaigner, to the role. Indeed, to many Gaelic speaking households, Allan is already the face of the Mòd through his active role as the presenter of many of the Royal National Mòds biggest events. From a personal point of view, it has been an absolute privilege to have served An Comunn Gàidhealach as President and I am confident that I am handing the role to someone who will further enhance the work of An Comunn and the Royal National Mòd. The organisation is now in a strong position to support the development of our wonderful language; music and culture in the years to come.”
Allan Campbell, speaking following the AGM of An Comunn Gàidhealach in Lochaber, said “I would like to thank John Macleod for his work over the last decade. The role of President of An Comunn Gàidhealach will be both challenging and, hopefully, fulfilling. I do not underestimate the challenges, but I also recognise the opportunities that we are now presented with, through Gaelic Medium Education and the Arts. The supporting infrastructure is now in place and we can help to move the re-emergence of our language, music and culture forward over the coming years. We will strive to fulfill the aspirations outlined in the National Gaelic Plan. I look forward to shaping An Comunn Gàidhealach in the years to come.”
In addition, at the AGM, Janet Macdonald stepped down as the Mòd Director. The role is the key position liaising between the staff of An Comunn Gàidhealach and the communities that support the Royal National Mòd. Allan Campbell paid tribute to Janet saying that he recognised the power of work that Janet has undertaken for over a decade. “Janet has been the driving force behind the smooth running of the huge event that the Royal National Mòd has now become. She has brought a quiet authority and a meticulous attention to detail to the whole event. Her ability to work with everyone in high pressure competitive situations has defined the external perception of the event and we are grateful for her support. We hope that Janet will remain in our midst over the next years to help assure, and direct us, when assurance and direction is needed.”
An Comunn Gàidhealach is grateful to have received £2,500 gift from The Patron’s Fund, the charitable fund set up to acknowledge the work of the charitable organisations for which Her Majesty The Queen acts as a Patron, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Around £750,000 is available to distribute between nearly 300 charities and other organisations in the UK and the Commonwealth. The Fund received generous donations from a range of supporters; including individual donors, businesses, schools, community groups and the proceeds from The Patron’s Lunch, the event on the Mall last June.
This gift will support a “Mod Academy”, a bequest from the family of the late Charlie MacColl,. The Academy aims to give young people in the Lochaber area an opportunity to learn and develop their music and Gaelic language skills through professional tuition in Gaelic music, song, poetry and storytelling.
As well as developing new skills, the Mòd Academy will build confidence to perform and it is hoped that this will lead to continued development in the language as well as an increase in participants entering the Royal National Mòd in years to come.
A collection of nearly 300 items published by An Comunn Gàidhealach has been digitised by the National Library of Scotland and is available in the Digital Gallery on the Library’s website at http://digital.nls.uk/an-comunn-gaidhealach
The collection, in Gaelic and English, includes journals and newspapers, annual reports, educational books, Royal National Mòd programmes and published Mòd literature.
All of the Royal National Mòd programmes in our collection have now been digitised, so if you were a competitor you will be able to find yourself here!
The complete run of “An Deò-Greine” and “An Gaidheal”, rich sources of information about the development of the Gaelic language during the twentieth century, are also available here.
The National Library hopes to add Mòd music to this collection, and will be digitising future Royal National Mòd programmes as they are published.
If you would like to know more about this collection, or have An Comunn publications which might fill gaps in the collection, please contact Jennifer Giles, (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0131-623-3910)
Harris Tweed Hebrides of Shawbost have created an exclusive design to celebrate the return of the Royal National Mòd to the Western Isles.
Commissioned by An Comunn Gaidhealach, Harris Tweed Hebrides’ design team, led by Ken Kennedy, have incorporated the colours of An Comunn’s crest, blended with the Hebridean summer landscape and seascape, to form a striking tartan pattern which will feature in an extensive range of accessories, as well as adorning Mòd stages.
The Mòd will be held from 15th to 22nd October with several thousand visitors expected to descend on Lewis and Harris.
The new tartan will also mark the 125th anniversary of An Comunn Gaidhealach’s founding.
Margaret Ann Macleod, Brand Development Director of Harris Tweed Hebrides, said: “The link between Gaelic culture and Harris Tweed is exceptionally strong, so it is natural to have the Clo Mor represented at a celebration of the language, particularly when it is being held in our own community. The vibrant colours will reflect the spirit of the Mòd”.
The accessories range – which includes corsage, purses, make-up bags, hand-bags, men’s ties and of course hip flasks – has all been made in Scotland with local firms By Rosie and Rarebird among the suppliers.
John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gaidhealach, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Harris Tweed Hebrides to create a special edition tweed celebrating a landmark 125 years of An Comunn Gàidhealach.
“It’s great to be returning to the Western Isles for this year’s Royal National Mòd and what better way to mark such an occasion than to work with such a prestigious organisation as Harris Tweed Hebrides. I’m sure the Gaelic community and beyond will love the tweed and I hope we’ll see many people wearing it at this year’s Royal National Mòd, and at many more Mòds in the future.”
Here is the next issue of our monthly Newsletter. You will find lots of information about Mòd nan Eilean Siar 2016 and much more!
Please find the newsletter here.
Do you have Mòd programmes or Mòd music that you no longer need taking up space in your home? If so, then the National Library of Scotland would love to hear from you.
The Library is currently digitising all of the Mòd programmes we have in our collections, which means that they will be available on our website for all to use without having to come into the Library. This means for example that you will be able to search for names of competitors, or to find out what the competition pieces were in a given year - a great resource for the future!
However, we can only digitise what we have, and we don’t have them all, so are seeking your help to fill our gaps. We don’t have many programmes before 1966 and we have later gaps too.
If you think you can help us, please contact Jennifer Giles on 0131-623-3910, or email email@example.com. The Library will also have a stand at the Nicolson Institute during the Mod in Stornoway, from 17 – 21 October, and we would be delighted to meet you there.
The March issue of our Newsletter is now available. To view this month’s newsletter, please click here.
If you would like to contribute anything to a future issue of the newsletter, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The January issue of our Newsletter is now available. To view this month’s newsletter, please click here.
If you would like to contribute anything to a future issue of the newsletter, please contact email@example.com.
Burns Supper –
Due to the low numbers that have expressed a wish to attend this event it has unfortunately had to be cancelled.
We apologise for this and hope that those that had wished to attend are not too inconvenienced and that you are able to make alternative arrangements for this date.
To the artistes and all that had prepared for the event a special apology.
Gaelic Psalm Workshop in Edinburgh…
Hogmanay Dance in Inverness…
The November issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach Newsletter is now available.
Please click here to view this issue and any previous issues.
If you would like to receive the Newsletter by email, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Competitors in A252 (Ladies) and A253 (Men) must choose a song which follows a theme which is specified annually.
For 2016, the theme for A252 (Ladies) is ‘lament’ and for A253 (Men) ‘love’.
This will appear on the 2016 syllabus soon
How time flies! Kirsteen Grant has been conducting the Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir for 25 years and to celebrate this wonderful achievement a Dinner will be held in Hillhead Sports Club, 32, Hughenden Road, Glasgow, G12 9XP on Friday 27th November at 7pm for
7.30pm. Cost £25 including a drink on arrival.
If you wish to attend please respond to Neil Murray, 58, Munro Road, Glasgow, G13 1SG by 31st October enclosing a cheque for £25 (made payable to Glasgow Islay Gaelic Choir) together with your personal details and any specific dietary requirements
The Choir look forward to the company of as many as possible joining them on this very special occasion.
The latest issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach newsletter is now available.
Please click on the following link to view the August issue and past issues.
We were saddened yesterday to learn of the death of Katie Anne Macleod (Maclean). She would have celebrated her 102nd birthday on the 18th of June this year.
Katie Anne, from South Bragar in Lewis, was born on the 18th of June 1913. She won the An Comunn Gàidhealach Gold Medal at the Glasgow Mod in 1938.
She was a resident at the Dun Berisay care home in Stornoway in her latter years.
We remember her family and friends at this sad time.
The telephone system in our Stornoway office has been out of order over the last few days. We apologise for any incovenience this may cause. We have been assured that the problem will be fixed within the next day or so.
In the meantime please do not hesitate to call our Inverness office on 01463 709 705.
Please follow the link below to view the latest issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach monthly Newsletter.
The Annual General Meeting of An Comunn Gàidhealach will take place this evening (Friday 13 March) at 6.30pm in Eden Court, Inverness.
All members of An Comunn Gàidhealach are invited to attend.
MG ALBA (The Gaelic Media Service) is undertaking a series of public meetings seeking the views of communities throughout Scotland on the future of Gaelic broadcasting. Meetings will be held as follows and all are welcome to attend:
Thursday 5 March - Glasgow - Coffee & Craic - 5pm
Friday 6 March - Glasgow - Glasgow University - 2pm
Thursday 12 March - Skye - Sabhal Mòr Ostaig - 7pm
Friday 13 March - Inverness - Waterside Hotel - 12.30pm
Monday 16 March - Oban - Caledonian Hotel - 12.30pm
Monday 16 March - Fort William - West End Hotel - 5.30pm
Wednesday 18 March - Tiree - An Talla - 7pm
Thursday 19 March - Lewis - Ness Historical Society - 7pm
Friday 20 March - South Uist - Cothrom - 12.30pm
Friday 20 March - Barra - Castlebay Community School - 7.30pm
In addition to the public meetings MG ALBA is also welcoming people’s views via an online questionnaire with details available on www.mgalba.com.
To reserve a place at any of the meetings or for further information contact Murdo Morrison (MG ALBA) on email@example.com or on 01851 705550.
The Annual General Meeting of An Comunn Gàidhealach will be held on Friday 13 March 2015 at 6.30pm in Eden Court, Inverness.
All members of An Comunn Gàidhealach are invited to attend.
The Highland Council seeks to appoint a full-time Head Teacher for the new Gaelic Primary School in Fort William; Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar.
Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced Teachers who are fluent Gaelic speakers and who can also read and write Gaelic.
Contact Person: Norma Young Tel: 01478 613697
Please click on the following link for full details:
The Mod 2015 Local Organising Committee website is now “live”. Keep an eye on the site to see how preparations are going for October.
The Committee will be developing and updating their website between now and Mod week. They hope you will find it useful if you are planning to come to this year’s Mod.
The winners in the January draw were:
1st - £100 - Beatrice Macleod,Stornoway
2nd - £60 - Donald Martin, Stornoway
3rd - £40 - Norman Macdonald, Ness
If you would like to take part in the Mòd nan Eilean Siar 2016 400 Club, you can download a form below.
You can view the latest issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach newsletter here.
Should you wish to contribute any news items to a future edition, please contact Marina Mackay at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01851 703 487.
The Inverness Field Club is holding a lecture which I think might interest your members, Roddy Maclean will be talking on the subject “Marsh Marigold or Lus Buidhe Bealltainn” Gaelic perspectives on our native plants including uses for food, dyeing and healing.
The lecture will be held in Millburn Academy, Diriebught Road, Inverness on , Wednesday, 21st January 2015 starting at 7.30 p.m.
We would like to invite your members to join us at the concession price of £2.
Cumbernauld Gaelic Choir will be having a concert/ceilidh on Saturday 28th February. This will take place in the Village Hall, Cumbernauld from 7.30pm. Tickets will cost £8.00 and can be reserved by contacting the Choir Secretary, William McEvoy by email at email@example.com or by telephone on 07913047703.
If you have been trying to contact our Stornoway office, we apologise as we are having difficulties with our phone line.
Both our offices have now re-opened after the Christmas break.
A very Happy New Year to you all!
Are you all organised for Christmas? If not, there are lots of goodies on offer in the An Comunn Shop that would make great Christmas presents!
(Remember An Comunn members get a 10% discount in our shop).
We close on Tuesday 23rd December for the Christmas holidays and will re-open on Monday 5th January.
Tha latest issue of the An Comunn Gàidhealach newsletter is available here.
If you would like to include anything in our next newsletter, please forward the information on to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th December.
You can view photographs from this year’s Royal National Mod here.
You can order copies from the official Mod Photographer, Graham Hood, via his website:
Both our offices have now re-opened following a week off after the Mod. We hope you all enjoyed this year’s Royal National Mod in Inverness - a huge thank you once again to everyone who was involved.
There are many emails and messages to go through so we are busy catching up with all of these this week.
We also have adjudication sheets, trophies and monetary prizes to distribute - so please be patient as this will take time.
Any adjudication sheets not collected during Mod week will automatically be posted to competitors, to the address stated on entry forms.
Please click here to view Graham Hood’s official photographs from this year’s Mod. A selection of these will be available in our next newsletter which will be distributed as a double issue, at the end of November.