Mandolin played by Rory Gallagher donated to museum

Mr McGinalagh {Curator} Joseph Cohen, Donal Gallagher, Eoin Gallagher and Shane Toolan {Chairman of the Museum}. Pic by Keery Irvine.
Mr McGinalagh {Curator} Joseph Cohen, Donal Gallagher, Eoin Gallagher and Shane Toolan {Chairman of the Museum}. Pic by Keery Irvine.

Newtownabbey man, Joseph Cohen, has gifted a vintage G.La Foley Mandolin played by the late legendary rock blues guitarist Rory Gallagher to the Ballyshannon and District Museum.

Celebrating the handover, Joseph addressed a gathering at the Co Donegal venue and explained how he had rescued the mandolin from a rubbish bin at Crymble’s Music store in the early 70s.

The instrument was in very poor condition when it was found. Mr Cohen, who was an employee of Crymble’s had the 1920’s mandolin restored by a work colleague.

George La Foley was a famous British luthier manufacturer in London in the 1920s, but ceased trading in the early 1930s.

It was when Rory Gallagher came to Belfast for his annual concerts in the Ulster Hall that Mr Cohen sat with Rory in his dressing room and showed him the instrument.

After a close inspection, Rory played it.

Joseph said: “I have always taken great pride and treasured the fact that the mandolin was played by Rory Gallagher. I have never changed the strings, they have been on the mandolin over 45 years.”

The handover ceremony was attended by Rory Gallagher’s brother, Donal and his son Eoin.

Speaking at the event, Mr Cohen stated: “Rory Gallagher is one of the great famous sons of this little town Ballyshannon. As I am about to hand this over to his brother Donal to do the honours, I am delighted and content knowing that it will be on display, appropriately in the town where he was born and I hope it will give pleasure to those that see it, and most important, it will also keep his legacy alive.”