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Royal National Mòd
Thurso 2010 Bid
The Royal National
THE ROYAL NATIONAL MOD (Mod
means Annual Gathering)
The reason for the establishment of An Comunn Gaidhealach was the great concern felt by a number of intellectual Gaels about the drastic decline in Gaelic language and culture arising from the Education Act of 1872. The Act had banned the use of Gaelic in Schools because it was regarded, and I quote, “as a deterrent to economic and social advancement”. Children heard speaking Gaelic even in the school playground were beaten – sometimes quite savagely. My own family were an example of the consequences of this policy. When my Father and his sister were born to native Gaelic-speaking parents, the parents decided only to speak English in the home so as not to disadvantage their children when they went to school. Later, when my grandfather moved to a job in Mull where the ban was not so rigidly applied, this was thankfully rectified and my Father became a noted Gaelic singer, competing at many Mods.
Only in 1918 was a rather
wishy-washy clause added to the Education Act reversing the policy. But by
then grave damage had been done and Gaelic has struggled for survival ever
These days the Mod takes place over a period of 9 days, starting on a Friday evening in mid October with the formal opening ceremony and reception for the great and the good of Gaelic and the host community.
Saturday is devoted to instrumental competitions, including piping, fiddling, accordion, piano and keyboard.
The annual mod shinty match also takes place on Saturday.
Saturday concludes with a fiddlers’ rally of fairly mammoth proportions.
There is a Gaelic Church service on Sunday afternoon.
Monday is devoted to a wide range of competitions for children who are learning Gaelic – kids who are not native speakers.
Tuesday is dedicated to children who are native speakers of the language. On both these days, competitions include literary and oral classes as well as a number of solo, group and choral singing classes. Both Monday and Tuesday culminate in prizewinners concerts in the evening.
The rest of the week is mostly dedicated to Senior competitions.
Wednesday sees a whole day of Clarsach competitions (both junior and senior).
There are a number of solo singing classes including qualifying rounds for the Gold Medals, Traditionals and Silver Pendants competitions.
There is also a competition for drama groups.
Thursday sees a variety of oral
Friday is devoted to competitions
for the Town or Area Choirs and Choirs from outside Scotland.
The Grand Concert brings Friday’s programme to a conclusion.
On the final Saturday forenoon there is the massed choirs parade through the town led by at least one pipe band – quite a spectacle.
This culminates in massed choral singing involving several hundred choristers. An appropriate conclusion for one of the top cultural gatherings in Scotland.
Throughout the week there are a number of official and semi-official ceilidhs and a number of exhibitions and presentations.
But we should not forget the Mod
Finally, just a few Mod statistics:
This year’s Mod (2007) is in Fort William; next year’s (2008) in Falkirk – a first for my home town.
In 2009 the MOD returns to Oban.
We await the decision for the place to hold the 2010 Mod. The announcement is expected to be made in Fort William at the 2007 MOD taking place in October.