For the first time, the New York City Tartan Week festival will feature a Scottish Gaelic song contest and Gaelic workshops, elevating the profile of Scottish Gaelic in New York City and its Tartan Week celebrations. Singers from across North America, Scotland, and beyond are invited to The NYC Tartan Week Mòd on Wednesday, April 12, and Thursday, April 13.

The NYC Tartan Week Mòd, organized by the NYC National Tartan Day Committee in association with Scotland’s An Comunn Gàidhealach, will be hosted by Royal National Mòd Gold Medalist and BBC Alba SpeakGaelic presenter Joy Dunlop, a familiar face to many who have attended ACGA’s Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week and the US National Mòd.

“The tradition of the Mòd is one we’ve enjoyed in Scotland for over 100 years, and we are so proud to bring this event to NYC for the first time,” Dunlop said in a statement Thursday. “It’s a beautiful way to celebrate our community and our history and keep this important part of our culture thriving on both sides of the Atlantic.”

A mòd is a series of competitions in Scottish Gaelic song and often storytellilng, poetry, and music as well. The NYC Tartan Week Mòd will be the first held in An t-Ubhal Mòr, the Big Apple, since 1897, when the Scottish Gaelic Society of New York held competitions in Gaelic singing and recitation, according to Dr. Michael Newton of the Hidden Glen Folk School.

The NYC Tartan Week Mòd will be much more than a song competition. On Wednesday, the event features a full day of workshops with Dunlop covering conversational Gaelic, two hours of Gaelic song, plus step-dancing, Highland dancing, and cèilidh dancing, running from 10 am to 4 pm. The Gaelic song competition will be held Thursday, starting at 10 am.

Choice of songs

Joy Dunlop, BBC Alba presenter.

Competitors may choose one of six prescribed songs or perform their own choice Scottish Gaelic song. If they wish to sing a song of their own choosing, competitors must submit sheet music, Gaelic words and translation via email when submitting their application. To register for the event, click here. The closing date for entries is Friday, March 31.


The prescribed songs are: Cànan nan Gàidheal; Òran Chalulm Sgàire; ‘S Truagh Nach d’ Rugadh Dall Mi; Fear a’ Bhàta; Illean Bithibh Sunndach; and An Ataireachd Àrd. Sheet music, recordings of the spoken lyrics and singing all are available here on the NYC Tartan Week website.

The rules for the NYC Tartan Week Mòd competitions may be viewed here.

“The NYC Tartan Week Mòd is a welcome addition to the growing number of regional and local Scottish Gaelic song contests in North America, including the US National Mòd organized online by An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach,” Liam Ó Caiside, president of ACGA, said Thursday. “We hope ACGA members and Gaelic learners in New York and beyond will attend and support this Tartan Week event, and that more events like it will spread across North America.”

The 2023 NYC Tartan Week and the NYC Tartan Day Parade are organized by the National Tartan Day New York Committee with support from Scotland Shop, Belhaven, NHSCOT, The Scottish Government, Scottish Business Network, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, and Compliant Global.

The NYC Tartan Week Mòd is supported by New York Caledonian Club, The Tailor Public House, Scottish Business Network, and An Comunn Gàidhealach. To find out more, visit

More Mòds, More Gaelic

Plans for other mòds are under way. The North Carolina Mòd will be held in conjunction with the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Saturday, July 8. This year’s Royal National Mòd in Scotland will take place in Paisley, near Glasgow, from Oct. 13-21. Entries are open now at

ACGA’s US National Mòd will be held online via Zoom Nov. 11 and 12, with Lyle and Kerry Kennedy, both Royal National Mòd Gold Medalists and residents of Oban, as adjudicators. More information will be available soon.