The priest who conducted the funeral of Philomena Lynott in Dublin joked that Thin Lizzy icon Phil Lynott would sing “Guess who just got back today” to her – the opening line from his band's hit single “The Boys Are Back in Town” – when they met in heaven.

Philomena died last week, at age 88, after opting to refuse chemotherapy for terminal cancer. She’d said her farewells to her friends over the previous weeks. She was laid to rest in the graveyard of St. Fintan’s Church – the location of Phil's grave. Crowds lined the streets of Dublin earlier today as her body was taken in procession in a horse-drawn hearse. Among the tributes was a large bouquet of flowers from U2, signed simply “Bono, The Edge, Larry & Adam.”

“Philomena devoted herself to visiting [Lynott’s] grave and tending the flowers there,” Father Bryan Shortall said, noting that she didn't believe he was a priest when they first met. “Now, of course, Irish mammies are best placed to administer tough love. They want the best for their kids. She always had time for the fans and so many felt comfortable coming up the driveway ... and all were welcome. She will keep a good eye on him now. He’s watched her all these years. Now she see'll him again, and what a reunion it must be.”

“She was a beautiful soul," her brother Peter said. "She saw the beauty in others. Her presence has blessed our lives, we are all better to have known her. Today reminds me not to feel sorrow for her death, but to feel grateful that her presence had graced our lives. In 1986, when Philip died … I sneaked away and went into his music room. I penned a little poem, my sister loved it. It's not goodbye Philomena, it's au revoir.”

Niall Carson, Getty Images
Niall Carson, Getty Images

Meanwhile, Philomena’s feelings about Phil as late as last year were revealed in a letter she’d written for inclusion in a book about a local hospice. “I have started to write to you many times before, but my tears just keep dropping on the page and smudging it,” she wrote. “I have so much to tell you, I wish I could phone you. I do miss hearing your voice. You know I love you with all my heart. No one will ever know how much you meant to me. I had thought that your death was a waste, and a destruction. I'm only beginning to learn that your life was a gift.

"Then the postman started bringing me letters from all around the world, from fans who were heartbroken at losing you. I have kept all the letters and answered them all by hand. They told me how your music inspires them.”

Last week, current Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders singer Ricky Warwick recalled his first meeting with Philomena at one of his first Lizzy shows in Dublin in 2011.

“I was nervous enough anyway, but the fact that I knew Philomena was gonna be there, I was beside myself with nerves,” he told SiriusXM (via Blabbermouth). “And during the show, I could see her — she was in the corner of my eye; she was in one of the VIP boxes off to my left. And I just couldn't bring myself to look at her. We finished the set with 'Black Rose', and I glanced up. … She was on her feet with a huge grin on her face, crying her eyes out.”

When she called him over to meet her after the show, Warwick recalled that she "stood up and gave me the biggest hug. And she was so gracious and nice in what she said to me: ’My Philip would have absolutely loved every minute of this, hearing his songs played with such soul and such love.' And I think I burst into tears. It was all the validation that I think I ever needed — to hear it from Phil's mom, to say those words to me.”


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