Academic Research

While our free time is dedicated to running the Rewriting Rory blog and our own Rory Instagram accounts, our day job is as academic researchers at Örebro University and University of Sydney, respectively.

The field of Irish musicology has developed considerably over the past twenty years. However, there is still a marked gap in the literature when it comes to Rory Gallagher and, to date, there have been no dedicated academic studies on him. With this in mind, over the past few years, we have conducted several pieces of research on Rory that have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. In doing so, we aim to bring about a marked change in perceptions of Rory by recovering his musical integrity, safeguarding his legacy and crediting him as a true pioneer.

Rory in the Conrad Hotel, June 1994
Photo taken by Shu Tomioka

Our list of publications:

Music for Mental Health: An Autoethnography of the Rory Gallagher Instagram Fan Community
Published in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, March 2023

'Rory Gallagher's Leprechaun Boogie': Irish Stereotyping in the International Music Press
Published in RISE (Review of Irish Studies in Europe), January 2023

Published in the Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, May 2022

Fashioning the “People’s Guitarist” The Mythologization of Rory Gallagher in the International Music Press
Published in Rock Music Studies, March 2022

“Rory played the greens, not the blues”: expressions of Irishness on the Rory Gallagher YouTube channel
Published in Irish Studies Review, June 2021

We have also collaborated with the wonderful music therapy charity, Heavy Metal Therapy, to produce the following piece on Rory and how his music has helped, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic:

A Million Miles Away: A Personal Reflection on the Power of Music During COVID-19

In August 2022, Lauren was contacted by the travel journal SoJournal to write a short, reflective piece on her recent trip to Cork to visit Rory:


In April 2023, Lauren was declared winner of the Cobh Readers and Writers International Poetry Competition for her poem "Immortality" about Rory. Her other submission "You Are Cork City" was also highly commended. Both will feature in a forthcoming festival publication:

"Immortality" and "You Are Cork City"

In May 2023, Lauren wrote a piece about Rory for the Open University's Open Learn platform, meaning that Rory is now a part of the university's curriculum for anybody intersted in studying Arts and Humanities.

Music as a Source of Unity: When Rory Gallagher Came to Belfast

Rory trying out his borrowed camera, June 1994
Photo taken by Shu Tomioka

Rory is also mentioned briefly in the following academic works:

How Belfast Got the Blues: A Cultural History of Popular Music in the 1960s
Noel McLaughlin and Joanna Braniff, eds., 2020

Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music
Áine Mangaoang, John O'Flynn and Lonán Ó Briain, eds. 2020

The Irish Rover: Phil Lynott and the Search for Identity
Lauren Alex O'Hagan, Popular Music Studies, 2019

Music in Identity in Ireland and Beyond
Mark Fitzgerald and John O'Flynn, eds., 2014

Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2
Noel McLaughlin and Martin McLoone, 2012

Vagabonds of the Western World(s): Continuities, Tensions and the Development of Irish Rock Music, 1968–78
Matteo Cullen, 2012, Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Limerick

Cork Rock: From Rory Gallagher to the Sultans of Ping
Mark McAvoy, 2009

The Irishness of Irish Music
John O'Flynn, 2009

Noisy Island: A Short History of Irish Popular Music
Gerry Smyth, 2005

Irish Folk, Trad & Blues: A Secret History
Colin Harper and Trevor Hodgett, 2004

Send 'Em Home Sweatin': Irish Showband Story
Vincent Power, 2000

Rory, early 1990s
Photographer unknown