- 16 Mar 18
In a special ceremony at Fender’s Dublin HQ today, the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins dedicated the boardroom to the legendary Irish guitarist, Rory Gallagher – who was always closely associated with the battered Stratocaster that he played from early on in his hugely successful career...
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins today dedicated the boardroom in the Irish HQ of Fender to the legendary Irish guitar hero, Rory Gallagher.
The ceremony, which took place at Fender’s HQ in Harold’s Cross, took place after the President had attended the funeral of Liam O’Flynn, the renowned uileann piper – which took place during the morning in Kill, Co. Kildare.
The dedication of the Fender boardroom was attended by Dónal Gallagher, brother, manager and mentor to Rory, as well as Dónal’s son, Eoin Gallagher; the MD of Fender in Europe, Graeme Mathieson, who told how Rory Gallagher had been one of his own great inspirations; Nieve Kavanagh of Fender UK; and Dan Barry, head of the guitar giant's Dublin operation.
Also in attendance was the Scottish artist, Alec Galloway, who was commissioned to do a special work for the boardroom – a piece which includes elements of Rory’s own instruments, including a whammy bar and a bridge-cover. Alec is a former member of the successful 80s rockabilly act, The Shakin Pyramids.
The President paid tribute to Rory as one of the greatest Irish musicians of the modern era and talked about his extraordinary ability as a live performer, and the inspirational quality of his guitar playing – primarily, of course, on the Fender Stratocaster, which became so closely identified with him. He was presented with a framed copy of Alec Galloway’s superb art piece, and with a box set of Rory Gallagher albums on vinyl – which was just released today.
Rory’s relationship with Fender started back in 1961, when his legendary Stratocaster was first built. Crowley’s in Cork had ordered a red Strat for a well known showband at the time, but a sunburst Strat was mistakenly delivered instead, and declined by the show band in question. Legend has it that it was the first Fender Stratocaster in Ireland. The guitar was for sale in the window of the shop – and it was there that Rory first laid eyes on it. He bought that very same Stratocaster in 1963, and the rest, as they say, is history. He went on to make some incredible music with that guitar, which has inspired everybody here today."
During an enormously successful career, Rory sold over 30 million albums – and the good news for fans is that the catalogue is being re-released by Universal Music, who recently acquired the rights to the entire Rory solo catalogue.
Rory, of course, also became one of the most revered live performers in the history of rock ’n’ roll – not just a pioneering guitar hero, but also a great singer, a superb songwriter, and a completely authentic man of the people.
Rory died in 1995, following complications when he contracted MRSA, following a liver transplant.
Subsequently, in 1999, Fender Custom Shop released the Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster. Initially only 40 of this iconic guitar were built but demand was so high, they are still in production today.
A few years later, in 2006, a bronze replica of Rory’s famous Strat was unveiled at Rory Gallagher Corner in Temple Bar in Dublin.