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Gaelic Coffee

This week, just as the Annual National Conference of the Scottish National Party finishes in Perth, the Gaelic language comes into its own as the 103rd Royal National Mod opens in Dunoon. From today (Friday 13 October 2006) the Cowal peninsula will resound to the sound of Gaelic until Saturday 21 October, as Gaels, young and old, enjoy what is Scotland’s second largest festival.

An Comunn Gaidhealach was formed in 1891 to promote the use and teaching of Gaelic and held its first Mod in Oban the following year. Now the Royal National Mod, it is the Scotland’s premier festival of the Gaelic language, arts and culture, and is held annually in October at different venues throughout Scotland. Next year the Mod goes to Lochaber where Fort William will host the event from the 12th to 20th October and in 2008 it will move to the Central Belt where Falkirk will be the Gaels destination from the 10tth to 18th October. The Mod is competition-based festival which celebrates the Gaelic language through music, dance, arts and literature. The Children’s competitions, in particular, attract great attention, and are obviously much enjoyed by the young Gaels taking part.

Mod 2006 will be on a far greater scale than its 1892 counterpart which was restricted to a one day event and like all modern festivals, The Mod has its own fringe! Visit for details of all activities at Dunoon.

Some unfair commentators dismiss The Mod as the ‘Whisky Olympics’ and while it is true that a dram or two will oil the success of the event, there is much more to The Mod and Gaeldom would be much the poorer without its showcase. The annual Mod acts as a reminder of our Gaelic heritage and acts as a visible reminder to all Scots of the important part Gaelic still plays in Scottish life and what it means to be Scottish. The recent opening of the new Gaelic school in Glasgow, which takes pupils from nursery school right through to secondary shows that Gaelic is not yet, thankfully, a dead language.

But whisky does play a part in this week’s recipe as you can enjoy a taste of Gaelic in Gaelic Coffee.

Gaelic Coffee

Ingredients:  3 dessertspoons Scotch Whisky; 1 level dessertspoon light brown sugar; fresh, strong coffee; double cream

Method:  Heat a stemmed wine glass with hot water and dry quickly. Add the Whisky and stir in the sugar. Pour in the coffee, leaving an inch below the rim. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved and pour in the cream over the back of a teaspoon so that it floats on the surface to the depth of about half an inch. Enjoy.

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