Dunoon Mòd will ben­e­fit from three new venues

The Oban Times - - MÒD PREVIEW - By David McPhee dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

On the back of a record-break­ing year in Lochaber, the Royal Na­tional Mòd gets un­der way in Dunoon to­mor­row (Fri­day).

The nine-day Gaelic fes­ti­val was last in Dunoon in 2012 and it will ben­e­fit from three new venues this year – the Queen’s Hall, the Burgh Hall and Kirn Pri­mary School.

With a lot of the lo­ca­tions po­si­tioned close to­gether, or­gan­is­ers are ex­cited about the cen­tralised at­mos­phere that will cre­ate.

Speak­ing to The Oban Times about prepa­ra­tion for this year’s event, Mòd man­ager James Gra­ham said: ‘It’s go­ing re­ally well. Lochaber was a bumper year last year that broke records, so ob­vi­ously en­tries are slightly down this year, but in line with the other lo­cal Mòds this year.

‘Last year was so busy; it was un­prece­dented. But this year’s en­tries are healthy.’

James added: ‘[Dunoon] is re­ally well pre­pared. We have three new venues: the Queen’s Hall has been re­fur­bished and it’s com­pletely brand new and re­mod­ern- ised. It’s far more ef­fec­tive for run­ning events and has far bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties. I’m re­ally ex­cited about us­ing that.

‘The Burgh Hall is an­other new venue, and we have Kirn Pri­mary School, which is new. We have stun­ning venues with stun­ning churches that we have used pre­vi­ously. We are spoiled for venues.

‘It’s all quite cen­tral, which will cre­ate a good at­mos­phere.

‘It was last here in 2012. That was one of my ear­lier Mòds. The land­scape has changed since then. They have a re­ally well-drilled lo­cal com­mit­tee.

‘A lot of them were in­volved in the last Mòd and they are well in­formed about how it works. They have been a big help.

‘Other than that,’ the Mòd man­ager added, ‘we have a re­ally good fringe pro­gramme with lots of dif­fer­ent events, such as a flag­ship con­cert on Tues­day in as­so­ci­a­tion with Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage. [It’s about] the re­vival of the Clyde – it’s a big event due to the Mòd be­ing held in Glas­gow next year.

‘We have some­thing for ev­ery­one. There will be a for­ag­ing event for chil­dren who might not be com­pet­ing in the Mòd on Satur­day.

‘They will be go­ing out in the lo­cal­ity, look­ing at plants and learn­ing the Gaelic words for them. It’s aimed at peo­ple not nec­es­sar­ily want­ing to com­pete, but still want to take part.

‘There’s a lot go­ing on. ‘We are look­ing for­ward to it and I think ev­ery­one in Dunoon is as well. Ev­ery­thing is ready, I think ev­ery­thing is in place – we are just look­ing for­ward to it tak­ing place now.

‘So much has to be done in the weeks and months be­fore, as with any event, down to the de­tail.

‘All the main in­fra­struc­ture is in place. Fin­gers crossed for de­cent weather, espe­cially for the chil­dren’s events Mon­day and Tues­day with them run­ning from venue to venue.’

The Mòd of­fi­cially kicks off this Fri­day with a torch­light pro­ces­sion. How­ever, the weather is wor­ry­ing James. He said the fore­cast is not look­ing great and if there is heavy rain he might be forced to can­cel the event – but he added that it has never been can­celled in the past.

Re­gard­less of the weather, thou­sands of spec­ta­tors and com­peti­tors will de­scend on Dunoon.

The event will come to a close on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 20 with the massed choirs tak­ing to the streets.

Last year, the Mull Ladies’ Gaelic Choir had a very suc­cess­ful Mòd, win­ning three awards.

The is­land women won the Grampian Tele­vi­sion Tro­phy for their per­for­mance in the ru­ral choir ladies’ cat­e­gory.

How­ever, it was Dingwall Gaelic Choir who won the Lo­vat and Tullibar­dine Shield, with Oban fin­ish­ing se­cond.

Is­lay singer Alas­dair Cur­rie won the gold medal, with the tra­di­tional gold medals go­ing to the head­teacher of Bun-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Loch Abar, John Joe MacNeill, and Han­nah Knight of Càr­lab­hagh.

Còisir Ghàidhlig an Eilein Mhuilich came se­cond in the ru­ral choirs Sher­iff MacMaster Camp­bell Memo­rial Com­pe­ti­tion, third in the ru­ral choirs’ puirt-a-beul, and took home the John Lockie Tro­phy for high­est ag­gre­gate marks in Gaelic across three com­pe­ti­tions.

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