Rory Gallagher Music Library celebrates its 40th birthday

Rory Gallagher Music Library celebrates its 40th birthday
Memorabilia of Rory Gallagher on display at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.

FAMILY, friends, and fans of legendary musician Rory Gallagher have celebrated his music at the 40th anniversary of a library named in his honour.

The Rory Gallagher music library in Cork City Library is now running an exhibition of memorabilia from the guitarist’s family collection.

Donal Gallagher, brother of Rory, left and Liam Ronayne, Cork City Librarian, at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.
Donal Gallagher, brother of Rory, left and Liam Ronayne, Cork City Librarian, at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.

The exhibition includes concert literature, recordings, and guitars belonging to the music legend.

It will run until August 31 and comes just months after the 70th anniversary of Gallagher’s birth in 1948.

Donegal-born Gallagher lived most of his life in Cork before he died more than 20 years ago. He died in London in 1995 after contracting MRSA following a liver transplant.

He was renowned not just in Ireland but worldwide, first with his blues band Taste and later as a solo artist. He was ranked 57th in Rolling Stones magazine’s top 100 guitarists in 2015.

Memorabilia of Rory Gallagher on display at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.His brother Donal and nephew Eoin were among those who turned up to honour

Memorabilia of Rory Gallagher on display at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.
Memorabilia of Rory Gallagher on display at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.

His brother Donal and nephew Eoin were among those who turned up to honourJacques Stotzem from Belgium, performing at the exhibition launch celebrating 40 years of service to the music loving public of Cork, at The Rory Gallagher Music Library.Picture: David Keane.him at the library.

A concert of his music, called To Rory, was given by Belgian guitarist Jacques Stotzem.

It coincides with the release of his posthumous album, Wheels Within Wheels, on vinyl by Universal Music.

The new album contains 14 tracks which were compiled by his brother Donal, who had been his manager.

It features a range of styles, from blues to flamenco, to traditional Irish music.

As well as being acknowledged in Cork with the music library and Rory Gallagher Place, there are statues to him in Dublin, Belfast and his native Ballyshannon. A street is named after him in Paris.

Ballyshannon hosts an annual festival in his honour every summer.

At CIT’s West Atrium, a plaque has been erected to the blues musician, where he played his last Irish concert in November 1993 as part of the inaugural Cork Arts Festival.

Among his renowned appearances in Ireland was at the legendary Mountain Dew Festival in Macroom in 1977, attended by fans from all over Ireland and abroad.

Three years ago, a Remembering Rory event, including concerts and exhibitions, marked the 20th anniversary of his death. 

Plans to hold a series of events in March this year to mark what would have been his 70th birthday were scuppered by extreme winter conditions. However, events are being held in his honour throughout this year, including in the UK, Germany, Austria and Japan.

In its 2015 citation, Rolling Stone said: “Playing a weathered Strat, often wearing a flannel shirt, Gallagher electrified Chicago and Delta styles with scalding slide work and hard-boiled songwriting. His fans included The Edge and Bob Dylan, who was initially turned away backstage at a 1978 show because Gallagher didn’t recognize him.”

Gallagher’s contribution to guitar music has been lauded by several well-known guitarists, including Brian May of Queen and U2’s The Edge.

The latter called him an amazing guitar player, and described him as a beautiful man after his death, while Brian May said in 2013 during a concert at Dublin’s Olympia that “if it weren’t for Rory Gallagher I wouldn’t be here!”

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash said Gallagher was a “really big influence for me”. He added: “Playing with Rory in LA was one of the biggest thrills for me ever.”

The exhibition is open from 10am to 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday until August 31. Admission is free.

More in this section

Sponsored Content