Reflecting on the Royal National Mod 2011
My duties as Adjudicator and Chairman of Mod Competitions took on additional significance this year, when at the Opening Ceremony of the Royal National Mod in Stornoway on Friday 14 October, the Minister for Gaelic, Alasdair Allan MSP, presented me with the Scottish Government’s Gaelic Ambassador (Tosgaire) of the Year Award for 2011.
Now that Mod nan Eilean Siar 2011 is over, we can look back on what has been a hectic but highly successful Mod. The weather did its best to dampen spirits, with some disruption to ferry services on 3 of the 8 days of the Mod but the cooperation of ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne and the willingness of the ever-ready volunteers of the local Committee ensured that attendance at competition and events was not affected by the adverse weather.
For me, three key factors stand out as far as this year’s Mod was concerned.
Firstly, the increased numbers who were competing, particularly in the children’s competitions. Over 2,800 competed in all competitions throughout the week, with nearly 900 children competing in the Junior Section of the Mod.
The adjudicators and listeners were impressed at the high standard of Gaelic fluency and confidence of the children, a high percentage of whom had come through Gaelic Medium Education.
Secondly, the popularity of the Literature Awards. The Council Chamber at the Council Offices was filled to capacity for the announcement of the literature competitions on Wednesday morning. The varied competitions, for both Juniors and Adults, ranged from Written Stories, Poetry, new Songs, Radio Programmes and Posters have been going from strength to strength over the past few years and looks to become a popular feature of future Mods. Again, Gaelic Medium Education must be credited with the resurgence of interest in Gaelic writing among the children.
Thirdly, the Mod took on an international dimension this year with the Bard coming from Nova Scotia. Lewis Mackinnon, a Gaelic learner from Canada, but with Scottish roots, was crowned the Mod Bard, taking over from Màrtainn Mac an t-Saor who had held the post for the past four years. A choir from Canada whose members were all passionate Gaelic learners, together with a number of adult performers from the USA and a Silver Pendant competitor from Belgium demonstrated the wide reach of Gaelic music and song. A lady whose family had left Lewis in 1958 came all the way from Auckland in New Zealand to volunteer as a Mod steward at this her first Mod!
I am the also the current Chairman of Harris Tweed Authority and as Gaelic Tosgaire, I hope to promote all aspects of our language and culture at such events, as Gaelic is still very much part of the story of Harris Tweed. Many weavers and mill workers still use Gaelic as their daily language in the workplace, be it on the croft or in the mills.
Dòmhnall Màrtainn, Tosgaire Gàidhlig na Bliadhna 2011 /
Donald Martin, Gaelic Ambassador of the Year 2011
Have your say
Join in the discussion and help us make Scottish Education even better.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.