Ronnie Drew i interviewed for STAGESTRUCK. I had a list of questions to ask him but the list was abandoned after a few minutes. Ronnie spoke very openly and freely and never gave a one line answer , sometimes it was hard to get him stopped! His memories and respect he had for Rory and Donal were enlightening......another true legend sadly no longer with us.
Just a selection of personal photographs that have brought back some fantastic memories of events, places, people.
My wife Annie with Rory's Stratocaster: This was taken in October 2001 at Tir Hugh Centre Ballyshannon ( more exhibition photographs pics below ) in association with the Donegal Bay Bluestacks Festival,to celebrate the life and times of Rory Gallagher, a special exhibition was held there which consisited of Rory's Strat, Martin acoustic, National Steel,saxophone, mandolin, posters, photographs, a continous colour slide show, and many many artefacts connected with Rory during his carrer. It was organised by Patsy O'Kane, Barry Fannon, Billy Grimes, Fergal O'Reilly. On the opening night a tribute show saw The House Shakers from Belfast take the stage during which Gerry McAvoy got up and jammed with the band, other guests included Dave McHugh. This was in the days before the current Ballyshannon Festival.
Above: Patsy O'Kane, the man behind the first ever Rory tribute / exhibition in Ballyshannon, seen here with Rory's original Strat and below, more pics from same exhibition.
Legendary Rock photographer Fin Costello (above) has become a friend over recent years. His book of Rory pictures is stunning and i was honoured to write a piece for the book.He HATES getting his picture taken and we had literally one chance to take this pic "you've got one shot" he said. His stories about life on the road with bands over the years are awesome. I asked him why he had never written a book about them and his answer was " no one would believe me"!!! He was a surprise guest at my 50th birthday party, lovely man.
Brendan O'Neill : Castlebar, Co Mayo, Ireland, 1995
Above: Gerry McAvoy: 2001
Lou came over to Belfast to play at one of our Rory tribute shows.Unfortunately the day before the gig he became ill and was hospitalised. Above pic was taken while recovering at home with us in Omagh. Hearing Lou relate stories about life on the road with Rory was priceless. Since then Lou has had a patch of ill health but is getting on with life as best he can. I wish him all the very best.
Gary Moore pictured above right, arriving at Cork Airport for Rory's funeral. We had been there early morning waiting for a friend to come off a flight from London and captured Gary on arrival.
Below; The Mississippi Sheiks? Marcus Connaughton, Tony Moore, Mickey Joe Morrissey, Dino McGartland.
Every year since Rory's passing we've tried to make an annual vist to Cork. It's during these visits, taken below, that we've made contact with great Rory fans who have now become long time friends. We don't see each other on a regular basis but when we do, we know how to party and "have the craic" Missing from the picture is Dave McHugh who has been a great friend from day one. The Connaughton household has become an Irish Embassy ( thanks to Helen ) for us all. Really like this pic as it captures happy memories and it's all down to Rory.
Pictured below is one i took of Rory playing in Knock na Moe Hotel in Omagh in Jan'85. Had been given a new SLR camera some weeks earlier and i was still coming to grips with it, hence not great picture quality, but a nice pic all the same.
Below: Onstage at one of the early Rory tributes in Belfast with my good friend Eamon McLoughlin ( left ) aka Samuel Eddy, whom Rory did one of his last ever recordings with.
Above left: Barry Barnes, Annie McGartland, Ian Thuillier ( director ) taking a break during filming for Rory documentary Ghost Blues. Far right: Ian Thuillier on camera filming shots for Ghost Blues at Rock hospital. 2003
TOP: Gerry McAvoy & Lou Martin with fan during break in filming Ghost Blues, Ballyshannon.
MIDDLE: Mark Feltham,Gerry McAvoy & Lou Martin with fan during break in filming Ghost Blues, Ballyshannon
BOTTOM: Rory O'Mahony, Mark Feltham with Festival Committe member & Dino McGartland during break in filming Ghost Blues, Ballyshannon.