Scotland’s biggest celebration of the Gaelic language, the Royal National Mòd, kicked off in the Western Isles on Friday.
Minister for Gaelic Alasdair Allan spoke at the event’s opening ceremony and outlined plans to work with the Office of Gaelic Affairs in Nova Scotia to allow up to five Gaelic learners to travel to Scotland for summer language lessons.
He also announced plans to fund the Ness Historical Society with their plans to become a new Gaelic ‘hub’ in North Lewis, offering language, local history and genealogy courses for locals and visitors.
Dr Allan said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to a vibrant future for Gaelic in Scotland and has the support of the Scottish people in ensuring our language traditions are maintained.
“I am very pleased to be at the Mòd and to see first hand the wealth of talent at an event which will see an estimated £3 million going into the local economy over the coming week.
“The Western Isles is of course a key area for the language and I am pleased to announce an additional £10,000 for Comunn Eachdraidh Nis (Ness Historical Society) in Habost which will support both the language and the North Lewis community, while also offering information on history and genealogy.
“And with so many of our global Celtic cousins present, I am particularly pleased to announce a new link-up with the Nova Scotian Gaelic community, to provide £10,000 a year in bursaries to allow a small number of Gaelic students to allow them to come to Scotland for summer language learning.
“Gaelic belongs to the whole of Scotland, but for this week it has a most welcoming home in the Western Isles. I hope everyone at the Mòd has fun, whether they’re taking part or just visiting, and recognises their role in ensuring a sustainable future for the language.”
Arthur Cormack, chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig added: We have already seen a number of Canadian Gaelic speakers coming to work in Scotland and a conference held during Homecoming Scotland 2009 brought together those working in education, in the media and in Gaelic development more generally at that time.
“As we consult on the next National Gaelic Language Plan, it is worth reflecting on the role that Gaelic speakers from Nova Scotia have played, and could play, in helping us implement our plans. Bòrd na Gàidhlig is happy to co-fund, with the Scottish Government, this series of Gaelic learning scholarships.
“Apart from the obvious benefits for our educational institutions from having extra Gaelic students, Bòrd na Gàidhlig is confident that Gaelic revitalisation has much to gain from better cooperation between those of us on both sides of the Atlantic who share the Gaelic language and culture.”
Pictured is Alasdair Allan MSP with Donald Martin who was presented with Tosgaire na Gaidhlig 2011.
Also pictured are the SRAC team who ran a relay race from Caithness to Stornoway to bring the Mod to the islands. They ran into the official opening on Friday night to hand over a message from the Convener of last year’s Mod.