Mòd-velous Highland Homecoming
The Royal National Mod 2014 hailed a triumph
Economic impact of up to £3million
Record breaking audience numbers
Following nine days of exciting competitions and phenomenal performances, Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd), has been hailed a huge success. It is set to leave a legacy on the city as thousands of Gaels and non-Gaels have celebrated and embraced traditional Gaelic culture. A signature event of the Highland Homecoming celebrations, the festival returned to Inverness for the first time in 17 years and is expected to have brought between £2.5million and £3million to the local economy.
Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Jimmy Gray said: “The Highland Council sees this year’s Mod as an incredible success for the city as well as for competitors, their families, supporters, visitors to the Highlands, and not to mention the people of Inverness, who have joined in and embraced this vibrant celebration of Gaelic culture. Businesses have received a very welcome economic boost at what is traditionally a quieter time of the year and the atmosphere during the day and in the evening within the city centre has been really fantastic. I am sure the positive benefits will be felt for a long time to come and we look forward to the opportunity of welcoming the Mod back to Inverness in the near future.”
The Mòd officially closed today with a mass choir procession through the city, culminating in a ceremony handing the reigns over to representatives from the 2015 host town, Oban. Next year’s festival is taking place from 9th – 17th October and will be the 123rd year of the event.
Over 3000 competitors took part in 200 competitions during The Mòd, whilst almost 100 Fringe events added to the electric atmosphere in Inverness. Workshops, book readings, come and try sessions, concerts and gigs took place morning, noon and night across the Highland Capital. Visitor numbers are estimated as being over 8500 and came from across Scotland, the UK, Canada and even the United Arab Emirates.
Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, one of the world’s oldest and most respected Gaelic organisations, the event is the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland. There was a substantial rise in under 18s competing in traditional singing events and an increase in High School choir’s taking part, showing a rising interest in the festival and traditional Gaelic culture.
Top prizes included the Children’s Silver Medal (boys and girls) which made history when it went to brother and sister Catriona and John Alasdair Bain from Lewis, it was the first time it has been awarded to siblings. The Silver Pendant awards were won by Donna Dugdale from Mull and Hector MacKechnie from Morvern and the Gold Medals were clinched by father of two Angus MacLeod from Inverness, who was the first male from the city to win the medal since 1992 and Eilidh Cormack from Portree who had entered for the first time having turned 18 in July. Eilidh’s brother Ruairidh won the men’s Traditional Gold medal, while the women’s went to Ceitlin LR Smith from Ness, Isle of Lewis. Ceitlin came 3rd in the competition in 2012 and also performed as part of The Mòd fringe this year with her band Gria. In the big choir competitions, the Lovat & Tullibardine Shield went to Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association while the Margrat Duncan Memorial Trophy went to Aberfeldy and District Gaelic Choir. Competitions in Highland Dancing, literature, piping and clarsach also took place.
Says John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach: “This year has been so much fun and we have seen incredible talent across all of the competitions. I’ve also been encouraged by the feedback from those who attended for the first time, commenting on how much they have enjoyed it.
“I like to end 2014’s Mòd by thanking everyone who entered competitions and by offering my congratulations to all our worthy winners. Most of all I want to thank our sponsors and supporters and every single person that contributed to the festival’s organisation - from the local organising committee, to Highland Council, to our valued volunteers - we really couldn’t do it without you. Here’s to Oban in 2015.”
In addition to nine days of competitions and performances, The Mòd also provided a platform for other Gaelic organisations to make important announcements, confirming its importance within the Gaelic community. Bòrd na Gàidhlig, The University of the Highlands and Islands, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Gaelic Books Society, LearnGaelic.net, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and Cape Breton University Press all chose to announce funding or launch new Gaelic initiatives at the festival.
Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac, adds “The Inverness Mod has lived up to the high expectations we had for it and we are pleased to have played our part as main sponsor once again. For the first time this year we have recorded interviews with attendees which can be viewed on our website (http://www.calmac.co.uk/) along with links to a number of blogs from key individuals.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, contributed: “Our unique culture is one of the many reasons why people choose to visit Scotland. It’s clear from the success of this year’s Royal National Mòd that traditional Gaelic culture continues to delight and enthuse people from across the world. 2014 has been an exceptional year for Scotland and Highland Homecoming has provided a perfect platform to celebrate the sport, literature, culture and heritage that makes the Scottish Highlands such a popular destination for visitors.”
The Royal National Mòd is supported by The Highland Council, HIE, Creative Scotland, Caledonian MacBrayne, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, EventScotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, SQA, BBC ALBA, the Scottish Government and Royal Mail.