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Wednesday, June 12, 2019 was a sad day in Ireland. Philomena Lynott, the mother of Thin Lizzy front man, Phil Lynott died at her home in Sutton at the age of 88. Ms. Lynott had been battling cancer for years and had refused treatment stating she wanted to die with dignity. Philomena was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 but fought it off after undergoing radiotherapy treatment. Throughout the years she interviewed with several television shows and stated that she felt as though if she were to start receiving chemotherapy that after each treatment, she would just go home and curl up in the bed and be cranky; after all, Philomena was a very out-going woman with a beautiful heart and bubbly personality. In 2018 after a scan it was revealed her cancer had returned.
Philomena was a strong woman and went through a living hell after the birth of her son, Philip August 20, 1949. In an interview with The Irish Sun she recalled the days after her baby was born. “Back in those days if a child was born out of wedlock they would write ‘illegitimate bastard’ on their birth certificate. “That’s what was written on his. I was thrown into a workhouse and spat at because I had a black baby. It was a terrible, terrible time.
After leaving the work house Philomena took her baby to Crumlin to stay with her mother, Sarah and her father whom would help raise Philip while his mother went to the UK to find work. There she met a man named Dennis Keeley, where they set up a hotel in Manchester frequented by famous stars.
Later in his teens, Phil began to make a name for himself after joining some of the local bands, such as “The Black Eagles,” and later “Skid Row” founded by one of his friends, Brendan “Brush Shields,” but after losing his position as lead singer following surgery to remove his tonsils. Lynott got together with friends, Brian Downey, Eric Bell and Brian Roberson and Thin Lizzy was born. Phil became an icon as the front-man, and this amazing band blew up the charts with great hits like “The Boys are Back in Town” and “Waiting for an Alibi.”
Philomena would attend her son’s shows, sitting in the audience singing to the music, smiling at the crowd or laughing at Phil’s jokes as he worked the crowd as one of the most talented front men in rock history. The world fell in love with Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott. The group toured the world, the UK and even the USA. The band had such a huge impact on everyone they met and performed for and their fan base continued to grow all over the world. Unfortunately it wouldn’t last, and Philomena would find herself suffering through the worst hell any parent could imagine when her beloved Phil passed away on January 4, 1986 at the age of 36 from septicemia as a result of his heroin addiction. She was crushed, the world has she knew it was gone and she didn’t know if she could make it without her child and didn’t know if she even wanted to.
TAKEN FROM THE IRISH SUN:
She claimed it was meeting another grieving mother, who lost three children in the Stardust tragedy, tending the tombstone of her deceased children in the same cemetery where Phil was buried which changed her life. Philomena said: “That was the day I stopped grieving for Phil.”
Regularly attending gigs, and the annual Vibes for Philo, Philomena was rock royalty in Ireland, and was on hand with Dublin’s then-Lord Mayor, Catherine Byrne, to see a life-size sculpture of her son unveiled on Harry Street, just off Grafton Street, in January 2009.
DAILY VISITS TO ST. FINTAN’S CEMETERY:
Visiting her son’s grave daily, Philomena would clean off the leaves, change the flowers, remove the many guitar picks and other gifts left by the many fans around the world who would fly in to visit his grave and take photos next to his statue.
This is a woman who loved life, loved her son and made sure his legacy lived on years after his death. She will be buried at St. Fintan’s Cemetery.
Rest in Peace Philomena, you will truly be missed!
Phil wrote a song for his mother titled “Philomena!”