Get set as Mod head to Dunoon

The Royal National Mod takes place in Dunoon in October.
The Royal National Mod takes place in Dunoon in October.
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SCOTLAND’S premier festival celebrating Gaelic linguistic and cultural heritage – Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail / The Royal National Mòd – will this year travel to Dunoon for the seventh time in its 120 year history, last visiting the town in 2006.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the world’s oldest and most respected organisations, the eight day celebration of Gaelic music, dance, drama, arts and literature takes place from Friday 12th until Saturday 20th October.

Now in its 120th 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, USA and Canada.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “We’re delighted to come back to Dunoon as we always receive such a fantastic welcome from the locals here.

“Having recently played host to the Cowal Highland Games, the people in Dunoon are well versed in accommodating a plethora of dancers, musicians and pipers so we’ll be sure to take full advantage of the hospitality throughout our week-long visit.”

The festival kicks off on Friday October 12th with a grand opening ceremony taking place in the Queen’s Hall early evening.

Saturday traditionally plays host to the annual shinty match and the Fiddlers Rally is also hosted over the weekend with hundreds of musicians demonstrating their skills in a musical maelstrom.

Children’s competitions take place at the start of the week and with nearly 1,650 children from across the country taking part, entries look similar to the last time the Mòd visited Dunoon in 2006.

The adult Traditional and Gold Medal qualifying rounds take place on Wednesday, October 17th, with the finals the next day. And entries for the male competitors are very healthy with more men entering both the Traditional and Gold medal competitions this year.

The coveted Lovat & Tullibardine and Margrat Duncan titles will be awarded on Friday, October 19th, before the final concert takes place.

The grand finale of the 2012 Royal National Mòd will take place on Saturday, October 20th, when the Massed Choirs will gather and parade through Dunoon town centre led by local pipe bands.

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.

Activity for this year includes ceilidhs in the Glenmorag Hotel, Park Hotel, the Braes, Ingrams Bar, Sinbads and 51st State, as well as a concert to commemorate the 120 year link between the Clarsach Society and the Royal National Mòd, which will be held on Wednesday, October 17th, and features music from Mòd Gold Medallists Wilma Kennedy and James Graham, with musicians Mairi and Calum Macleod.

For full festival programme and details, please visit the An Comunn Gàidhealach website at www.acgmod.org or www.dunoonmod2012.org.uk.