Antrim based guitar making company McIlroy Guitars will celebrate 20 years of continuous production of their handmade acoustic guitars, on 6th March 2020.
McIlroy Guitars, now a familiar name in the guitar world, started business in a factory unit on the outskirts of Antrim town in 2000. From very humble beginnings and with a little help from the government agency LEDU and some personal investment, they have gone on to become one of the highest regarded guitar makers in the world.
From just a dozen or so initial models, they now produce 756 different models and that’s before you start adding 12-strings, nylon string, cutaway options, Tenor options and many more, which brings it to over 40,000 individual guitar model options.
The team has been reduced to just three, and currently produce only 40 guitars per year, with Dermot, his son Damian and wife Colleen maintaining this very much “family business”.
The majority of McIlroys are exported to shops in Europe, America, Australia and also England and the Republic of Ireland. They are particularly well thought of within the Folk world, with many world-renowned players such as Steve Cooney, Donal Lunny, Jimmy MacCarthy, Declan Sinnott, and fresh new artists such as Jack Warnock, Paul McKenna, Conal O’Kane, Cormac Crummy and many many others all playing McIlroys.
“Brexit will create some challenging conditions over the next few years, so our plan is to remain small and productive and focus on the small group of independent stockists who already take everything we produce.”
“To mark our 20th anniversary, we made a one-off special guitar, which went to a shop in Galway (2020 City of Culture). We are also hoping to hold some concerts throughout 2020.”