Phil Lynott’s Much-Loved Mom Philomena Dies at 88
She was a much-loved and high-profile figure in the years following her son’s death in 1986, ensuring his legacy remained in the public eye and writing her memoir My Boy about her life with him in 1995. She had been battling cancer for some time.
“It is with great sadness that we have learned today that Philip's mum, Philomena Lynott, has passed away,” Thin LIzzy guitarist Scott Gorham said in a statement. “She was always a great supporter of Thin Lizzy from the early days, throughout the band's existence and beyond. She always did her best to keep Phil's flame alive over the years, opening up her home to thousands of fans from around the world who paid her a visit. RIP Phyllis -- we'll miss you.”
The band described her as a “beautiful lady who endured a lot in her life but made the best of everything and was loved by all who met her.” The influential Irish magazine Hot Press said it was “desperately sad” to announce her death. “I am really proud that we were able to participate in telling her remarkable story," editor Niall Stokes, who helped with the publication of My Boy, said. "Because she was indeed a remarkable woman.”
As a young woman, Philomena left her native Ireland to work in England, where she became pregnant with Phil and, later, two other children, of whom he only ever knew about one. It was a time in which such relationships were regarded as unacceptable in general society and which led to a good deal of hardship in her life. She returned to Ireland with Phil, who went on to become one of the country’s greatest musical exports.
One of her proudest moments came when her campaign to have a statue of Phil set in Dublin came to fruition in 2005. Stokes called it “a marvelous example of strength of character and conviction winning over bureaucratic inertia.” When the statue was damaged by vandals in 2013, she said she bore no ill will. “It seems now that it was just a bunch of high-spirited boys, who meant no harm," she explained. "So I am not annoyed with them. I’m only hoping that none of the lads got hurt.”
“She also had a great sense of humor,” Stokes – who once called her “Ireland’s queen of rock” – noted. “It was a marvelous pleasure always when she came to the Hot Press offices, talking to all of the staff and generally making mischief. Anyone who knew her will have been aware too of just how youthful she remained right through to the end. She will be hugely missed – not just by fans of Thin Lizzy but by fans of Philomena Lynott.”
Classic Rock Magazine writer Dave Ling recalled meeting Philomena in 2007 when she attended the Classic Rock Awards to accept the Inspiration Award on her son’s behalf. “When I asked what she was planning to do after the ceremony, she snuffled, ‘I’ve managed to keep my face on in here, but I’m going back to my hotel room for a good cry,’” Ling recalled. “Her beloved eldest son was perhaps the rock star to define the term.”