- 31 Aug 18
The limited edition Rory Gallagher coin, issued by the Central Bank, and celebrating the great Irish rock guitarist, is planned as the first in a series dedicated to musicians
A commemorative coin, celebrating the great Irish rock and blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher, has been announced by the Central Bank of Ireland. The launch of the coin will be made official at an event, to be hosted by President Michael D. Higgins, in Áras an Uachtaráin, in September this year.
The new coin depicts Rory Gallagher in action, playing the legendary Fender Stratocaster, the guitar with which he is most closely associated. The coin is Silver Proof and will have a value of €15. Limited edition coins of this kind generally retail for a multiple of the face value. Other musicians scheduled to be in the series include Philip Lynott of Thin Lizzy and Luke Kelly of The Dubliners .
This is the second honour of this kind to be bestowed on Rory Gallagher. A collection of four Rock Legends stamps was produced by An Post in 2002, which included Rory, Philo, Van Morrison and U2. On a similar note, Rory Gallagher Place in Cork, Rory Gallagher Corner in Temple Bar, Dublin, the Rory Gallagher Music Library in Cork and the boardroom in Fender’s Irish HQ in Harold’s Cross, Dublin have all been named after Rory. In October 2016, a plan to erect a Rory Gallagher statue, close to the Ulster Hall in Belfast, where Rory played so many legendary gigs, was approved by the City Council there, but so far that commitment has not come to fruition. A Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster was launched by Fender in 2015.
Rory was born on 2 March, 1948, in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal – where the annual Rory Gallagher Festival now takes place. There is also a life-size statue of Rory in the centre of the town.
Widely considered one of the pre-eminent guitar geniuses of the modern era, Rory Gallagher was raised in Cork, having moved there from Derry, with his mother Monica, and younger brother, Dónal. He started out playing in showbands in his teens, before becoming frontman and songwriter, in 1966, with the power trio, Taste – with whom he released two studio albums, Taste (1969) and On The Boards (1970). He released 14 original albums during his solo career, between the eponymous Rory Gallagher, in 1971, and Fresh Evidence in 1990.
Many of Rory’s albums have been re-released on vinyl, leading to a complete domination of the UK Jazz & Blues chart earlier this year. The most recent new album release was Notes From San Francisco, a live and studio album, released in 2011. Since then, the acclaimed Kickback City, released in 2013, combined a compilation of Rory Gallagher’s tracks inspired by crime novels with an exclusive novella, written by the Scottish writer Ian Rankin, and illustrated by Truman. The package also includes a narration of the novella by actor Aidan Quinn.
Rory Gallagher died in London, in 1995, at the age of just 47, as a result of complications – almost certainly cause by MRSA – after a successful liver transplant. He is buried in St. Oliver’s Cemetery, in Ballincollig, Co. Cork.