In numbers: The Royal National Mod

This year’s Royal National Mod, Scotland’s biggest Gaelic cultural festival, kicks off today, returning to the location of its first ever event.

Dancers  from Isla Sinclair School of Dance prepare for the Royal National Mod. Picture:  Ross McLeish,
Dancers from Isla Sinclair School of Dance prepare for the Royal National Mod. Picture: Ross McLeish,

It will open with a sensational homecoming concert headlined by Capercaillie’s Donald Shaw and Karen Matheson. Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, it is one of the oldest and most respected national Gaelic organisation, Here are some statistics about the massive event.


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9 October is the date the 2015 kicks of in Oban, returning tt its original roots

The Royal National Mod will return to Oban for the first time in six years. Picture caption: Ross McLeish


Number of locations which have hosted the event only once, including Airdrie (1993), Aviemore (1969), Ayr (1973), Blairgowrie (1996), East Kilbride (1975), Falkirk (2008), Motherwell (1983), Paisley (2013), Skye (1982), Skye and Lochalsh (1998), Thurso (2010)


Record number of times Oban has hosted the event prior to this year


The number of performers taking part in all events, including Highland dancing, Gaelic music and song, sport, literature and drama


The Royal National Mòd is founded by An Comunn Gaidhealach at St Columba’s Church in Glasgow, greatly influenced when its choir was invited to give a Gaelic Concert in Oban,


The first ever event takes place – in Oban. Queen Victoria becomes Patron


Ayr hosts the Mod for first and only time, becoming the most southern location for the event


The Royal Family regularly attend the event, including HRH Duke of Rothesay who visited the Mòd in 2010 when Caithness played host for the first time, becoming its most northerly location


The most successful Mod ever, hosted in Inverness


Returns to the Western Isles for the third time in its history


The expected audience throughout the event


The amount generated to the business community


The number of passengers who sail annually on ferries operated by CalMac, one of the biggest supporters of The Mod.

The Mòd has never been to the Borders or the Northern Isles but there is little connection between these areas and the Gaelic language.

The National Mòd has never been held in England.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “We’re thrilled to be returning to Oban for the first time in six years.

“Competition is the heart of the Mod and we have had substantial entries this year. We’re delighted to have secured Donald and Karen to open this year’s event – it’s not to be missed.”

Karen Matheson, of Capercaillie, said: “Traditional Scottish music has been part of my whole life and, as a kid, I even took part in The Royal National Mod, so to have it return to my hometown of Oban is really exciting.

“I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the opening ceremony with Donald and other terrific acts. The Mòd festival line up looks amazing and it’s wonderful that there is still such a thirst for traditional and Gaelic music in Scotland.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to be once again supporting the Royal National Mòd, which is a fantastic celebration of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage and the Gaelic language.