Singers and artists compete for top prizes on penultimate day of the Mòd 2023

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Gaelic song filled Paisley Town Hall’s Main Auditorium last night, as the prestigious mens and womens Traditional Gold Medal returned to the world’s biggest celebration of Gaelic language and culture, The Royal National Mòd.

Iain Beggs, 32, from the Isle of Barra came out on top in the men’s competition, edging a win over talented Gaelic vocalists from across the country, while Catriona Bain, 24, from the Isle of Lewis triumphed with an incredible performance in the ladies competition. Mens Traditional Gold Medallist Iain Beggs said: “This was my first ever time singing at the Mòd and I was not expecting to win. I entered to sing my friend’s favourite song who sadly passed away this year and I didn’t think it would be a winning song, I just wanted to have some fun with it. It was very emotional seeing the marks come up and I’m so glad I decided to enter.”

Ladies Traditional Gold Medallist Catriona Bain said: “I’ve been coming to The Mòd since I was in primary two and I’ve always loved seeing all the different events and performers. The Traditional Gold Medal has always been something I’ve imagined entering one day and I can’t believe I have won it tonight. I’m so happy.”

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Yesterday also saw the return of the prestigious choir competitions, which took place in venues across Paisley. Rural Choirs from all over Scotland came together in Paisley to celebrate the beauty of Gaelic song, with Lochs Gaelic Choir being awarded the Lorn Shield for their outstanding performance, and Bùrach Choir taking home the Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich, both for the second year running.

Riona J I Whyte, Conductor of Bùrach Choir, said: “Every single choir in this category was fantastic so it feels amazing to have won the Sheriff MacMaster Campbell Memorial Quaich. The Mòd to me is all about friendship; these choir competitions are very special and a great place to make friends. We all support each other which is a lovely feeling.”

Ronald Murray, Conductor of Lochs Gaelic Choir, said: “It feels absolutely fantastic to have won the Lorn Shield again. We won last year and to win again is just unbelievable. The choir and I are over the moon.”

Today, the Area Choirs competitions will continue to fill the town with stunning melodies, starting at 9:30am at Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Abbey, while regional choirs will contest the Lovat & Tullibardine and Margrat Duncan trophies in the Combined Areas Choirs’ Competition to a sell-out crowd in Paisley Town Hall. Groups of singers, from Aberdeen to Aberfeldy and everywhere in between, will descend on Renfrewshire to perform.

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This afternoon will see the winner of the Mòd’s Highland Art Prize announced at 12.30pm at The Briggait Hall in Glasgow. Renowned Lewis artist and art teacher Ishbel Murray has selected 10 shortlisted artworks from the Highland Art Prize Exhibition, and the winner, who will have the opportunity to mount an exhibition at The Briggait next year, will be announced today.

Later tonight, the Joy Dunlop Trio will bring beautiful Gaelic song to The Sneddon in Paisley as part of the new Mòd Festival Club, while Glasgow-based Scandi-Scottish folk band Tern will perform a Late and Live session at the town’s Old Swan Inn.

James Graham, Chief Executive Officer of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “As we move into the final day of competition for this year’s Royal National Mòd, I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all of our winners so far, including both of our Traditional Gold Medal winners, whose success is well earned, and our winning Rural Choirs for their outstanding performances. Best of luck to our Area Choirs who compete today in front of a sold-out auditorium of guests.

“This afternoon we will find out the winner of the second Highland Art Prize. With such an incredible shortlist of artists in the running from across the country, and a stunning breadth of styles and subject matter on display, it will not be an easy decision and every artist involved should be very proud. I’d like to say a big thank you to the Highland Society of London who organised the competition, and whose partnership we value greatly. We also have another night of fantastic live music lined up tonight, before Mòd Phàislig draws to a close tomorrow in spectacular style.”

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Ealasaid MacDonald, Ceannard (CEO), Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “I am sure the final day of competitions will continue to reflect the talent and enthusiasm that has been at the heart of the Mòd once again. The competitions and the fringe programme have showcased the best of Gaelic culture and music. I wish everyone competing today the very best of luck and for the audiences I hope they enjoy what is sure to be a special final day of competitions at Mòd Phàislig.”

The Royal National Mòd is supported by EventScotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Renfrewshire Council, EventScotland, The Scottish Government, HIE, Creative Scotland, Caledonian MacBrayne, BBC ALBA, The Reeling and SQA.

The Royal National Mòd runs in Paisley until Saturday 21st October. To find out more about Mòd Phàislig events or to book tickets visit

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