President Michael D. Higgins to commemorate legendary Irish musician Rory Gallagher with special silver coin
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President Michael D. Higgins to commemorate legendary Irish musician Rory Gallagher with special silver coin

PRESIDENT Michael D. Higgins will launch a silver commemorative coin to honour Irish guitar legend Rory Gallagher.

The €15 silver proof commemorative coin will be launched during a ceremony at Aras an Uachtarain in Phoenix Park on Monday 17 September.

Born in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Gallagher was brought up in Cork where he emerged as a skilled guitarist having first picked up the instrument at the age of nine.

Nicknamed 'The People's Guitarist', Gallagher began his career playing with showbands around Ireland and Europe before cementing his place as one of the most talented blues and rock guitarists in the world.

He played with Taste, who were hailed as one of the best power rock blues bands of the time, before going on to establish his own self-titled band who went on to tour extensively through Britain and America.

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Such was the respect Gallagher gained among his fellow musicians that he was invited to play on Chess Records' "London Sessions" during the Seventies with Jerry Lee Lewis and Muddy Waters. He also recorded with the Rolling Stones and was once in the running to replace Mick Taylor in the Stones, until he decided he would rather keep his own band. However, he toured alongside Bob Dylan, who greatly admired him, and was firm friends with Van Morrison.

Gallagher died in London on 14 June, 1995 from cirrhosis of the liver.

His body was buried in St Oliver's Cemetery, just outside Ballincollig, Cork.

The grave's headstone is in the image of an award he received in 1972 for International Guitarist of the Year.