For years Philomena Lynott stood tall and proud of her son Phil Lynott, lead vocalist of one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
She was a real lady. I met her very briefly when she came to Castlebar a few years on the back of a book launch.
Philomena Lynott was not only proud of her son’s achievements but she was a person who wanted to get the true story about her son out into the public.
Other than been known as the mother of Phil Lynott she was also a well established author and writer. And thats not all, she was a successful hotel manager.
In 1949, at the age of just 18, Philomena Lynott gave birth to her first son, Philip Parris Lynott. She was Irish, Catholic, unmarried and living in Birmingham. And her son was black. He grew up to become one of the most important and influential Irish musicians of all time.
In 1986 Phil Lynott died as a result of drug addiction. Devastated, Philomena Lynott was plunged into inconsolable grief. In 1995, she wrote My Boy, an astonishingly intimate and moving account of her life with the rock star son she loved and of his shocking demise. Acclaimed by critics and fans alike, it went to No.1 in the best sellers. But what no one knew at the time, except Philomena, was that there were remarkable secrets which remained untold in that powerful and emotional work.
When Thin Lizzy became commercially successful in the 1970s, the band looked forward to gigging in Manchester, and Philomena would accommodate them and put on an after-show party. Guitarist Brian Robertson recalls Philomena insisting on washing his hair before a television appearance, and later said she was “like everyone’s mum, rolled into one. When the Sex Pistols played Manchester on the Anarchy Tour in December 1976, she was the only hotelier willing to accommodate them.
She was unaware of her son’s history of drug abuse until late 1985, and was present at Philip’s bedside when he died on 4 January 1986 in Salisbury General Infirmary. Philomena suffered depression following her son’s death and found it hard to come to terms with. She had a difficult relationship with her daughter-in-law after Philip’s death and was forced to apply for a court order to see her grandchildren.
In the early 1990s, Lynott was approached by publishers asking if she would like to write her memoirs. She found the experience of re-examining the relationship with her son difficult, but rewarding. She regularly attended rock concerts around Dublin,and continued to commemorate Philip’s life. She was a key figure in getting a bronze statue of him constructed in Dublin in 2005, and was the special guest at many Thin Lizzy fan events.
For a number of years after her son’s death Philomena continued to support to the Rock scene in Ireland by attending fundraising rock shows and by doing so keeping her son’s memory alive and also the spirit of Thin Lizzy.
May she rest in peace.