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Appeal to add first National Mod programme to National Library of Scotland Gaelic collection

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An appeal has been launched by the National Library of Scotland to find a copy of the very first programme of the National Mòd held in Oban in 1892 to add to the national collection.

National Library of Scotland has one of the richest Gaelic collections anywhere in the world and is always looking to add to the national collection, where material is retained permanently and is available to everyone.  

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The Library was delighted that an appeal last year resulted in the donation of programmes from the early Mòds, part of the collection of Donald Thomson who served as An Comunn President from 1962-65, in addition to other roles promoting the Gaelic language.  

These, and many other Mòd and Gaelic pamphlets, programmes and music were gifted by his daughter Mrs Catriona Dairon who encouraged other people to have a look through their attics or cupboards for any material that might help enrich the Library’s collection.

Appeal for material

Catriona said she had been looking for a home for some of her father’s books and papers that had been stored for years in her attic. “My daughter heard about the appeal by the National Library and we got in touch. It is really pleasing that they are now part of the National Library’s collection.”

With this year’s Mòd in Lochaber due to start on Friday, the Library is again appealing to everyone involved in the event to consider contributing any publications or material they may have at home, and especially other early Mòd programmes.

General Collections Curator Jennifer Giles said: “It’s very possible that descendants of former Mòd office bearers or competitors have programmes or other material that has been handed down to them and which they are no longer able to look after. They may well fill gaps in the national collection, and I would be very pleased to hear from them.” 

The development of the Mòd

The Library has already digitised many of An Comunn's publications, including Mòd programmes, and their journals An Deo-greine, An Gaidheal and Sruth. Now that they are on the Library website, people can search for names of competitors in years gone by while also discovering more about the development of the Mòd and An Comunn’s work to support Gaelic over the last 125 years. 

The National Library will be taking part in this year’s Mòd as part of its continuing commitment to the Gaelic language.  It is the third year running that it has had an information stand and has also run events at the Mòd fringe. 

This year it is offering two workshops run by Dr Susan Ross, who will be explaining how to edit  Uicipeid, (the Gaelic Wikipedia), as well as two illustrated talks by Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan, the Library’s Sportswriter in Residence, one on “Colm Cille, Camanachd and the Mod Cup” and the other reflecting his life “From Lochaber to the National Library of Scotland”.

Image shows the programme for the Second National Mòd and is copyright National Library of Scotland.

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