Celebration of Gaelic begins in Dunoon

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It’s Mòd time again, and the Gaelic party is well and truly up and running in Dunoon.

Storm Callum and well-publicised road closure problems at the Rest and be Thankful were never going to prevent Gaels from all over Scotland and beyond from enjoying themselves.

Friday saw the the Royal National Mòd (Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail) get into full swing with an energetic night of live music and celebrations, as Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival arrived in the Argyll town.

The Mòd is set to bring thousands of people to Dunoon as visitors and competitors until Saturday October 20.

Friday night’s opening ceremony saw performances from talented musicians including trad groups SIAN and Beinn Lee, while Allan Campbell, President of An Comunn Gàidhealach, gave his president’s address.

In his speech, Mr Campbell announced that a very special lecture will be set up to honour the former president, John Macleod, who passed away earlier this year.

On Saturday, the Mòd played host to the first ever Primary Schools’ Mòd shinty tournament, introduced to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People, in which Inveraray beat Kyles and Strachur 1 – 0. The adults went head to head in the Mòd Cup, with another victory for Inveraray, beating Col Glen 6 – 3. There was also a nine-a-side women’s shinty match between Oban Lorn and Cowal Ladies, with the Oban team coming out on top 4-1.

The victorious Inveraray Primary School team

In the Mòd Football Cup, Glasgow Island came through with a 3 – 0 win over Dunoon Amateurs, in which the Glasgow goalkeeper got on the scoresheet.

The main competitions kicked off with young competitors vying for medals in fiddle, piano, accordion, melodeon and bagpipes. In the Fringe, a foraging walk also allowed guests to explore the local area and discover Scotland’s natural larder of edible plants, fungi and berries.

Saturday night welcomed guests from the other side of the world, as Argentinian Gaelic choir Ceòlraidh, stopped by for a very special performance. Ceòlraidh – Coisir Gàidhlig Ceòlraidh is the only known Gaelic choir in South America, with Argentina having several ties to Scotland and to Gaelic culture.

Argentinian Gaelic choir Ceòlraidh

Sunday allowed time to rest for the hectic week ahead, as the Royal National Mòd hosted a special Gaelic service at Our Lady and St Mun’s Church, with the Queen’s Hall witnessing an evening of musical praise.

The Royal National Mòd will host more than 200 competitions, with medals up for grabs in Gaelic music, song, drama, highland dancing and literature, at all levels of Gaelic.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach said: ‘We’ve had a great first weekend at the 2018 Royal National Mòd in Dunoon, and we’re pleased to have been able to welcome our friends Ceòlraidh from Argentina, to their first ever Mòd.

‘Each year, I am struck at how the Gaelic language and culture works to bring so many different people together; and with this year’s focus on young Gaels, I hope this community will continue to thrive.

‘We thank the local community for such a warm welcome.

‘Already this year, we have witnessed some amazing competitions, performances and sporting events, and we’ve got so much more to come.’