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Philomena Lynott

Philomena Lynott
Born(1930-10-22)22 October 1930
Died12 June 2019(2019-06-12) (aged 88)
OccupationAuthor, hotel manager
Children3, including Phil Lynott

Philomena Lynott (22 October 1930 – 12 June 2019) was an Irish author and entrepreneur. She was the mother of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, and her autobiography, My Boy, documents their relationship. She was the proprietor of the Clifton Grange Hotel, Manchester, which provided accommodation for a number of bands in the 1970s including Thin Lizzy.


Philomena Lynott was born on 22 October 1930 as the fourth of nine children to Frank and Sarah Lynott in Dublin, and grew up in the Crumlin district of the city.[1] She left school aged 13 and worked in an elderly people's home.[2]

In 1947 Lynott took advantage of a viable job market in England, that needed labour to rebuild damage caused by World War II, finding work as a nurse in Manchester. She began a relationship with Cecil Parris, which led to Philip's birth on 20 August 1949.[3] She suffered racial prejudice because Philip was mixed race and decided it would be best for him to be raised by her parents in Dublin.[4] Lynott had two other children that she put up for adoption.[5] She remained close to her son throughout his life but because she only saw him sporadically felt they were more like sister and brother or friends rather than a conventional mother and son relationship.[6]

In 1964 Lynott began a relationship with Dennis Keeley and the couple took over management of the Clifton Grange Hotel in Whalley Range, Manchester. Though they had no experience in running a hotel, they bought the property after six months and remained there for the next 14 years. The hotel became well known in northwest England for being frequented by the show business trade.[7] Lynott took advantage of hotel licensing laws, which meant the bar could be open at 2 am when all other local venues had shut.[8] 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.[9] 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."[10] When the Sex Pistols played Manchester on the Anarchy Tour in December 1976, she was the only hotelier willing to accommodate them.[11]

In 1980 Lynott and Keeley moved to Howth, County Dublin, into a house Philip bought for them.[12] They later moved to Glen Corr.[13] 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.[14] Philomena suffered depression following her son's death and found it hard to come to terms with.[15] She had a difficult relationship with her daughter-in-law, Caroline Crowther, after Philip's death and was forced to apply for a court order to see her grandchildren.[13]

Statue of Philomena's son Phil Lynott on Harry Street, Dublin

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. The book My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story was published by Hot Press Books in 1995.[16] She regularly attended rock concerts around Dublin,[17] and continued to commemorate Philip's life. She was a key figure in getting a bronze statue of him made and placed in Dublin in 2005,[18] and was the special guest at Thin Lizzy fan events.[19]

Lynott criticised the US Republican Party for using Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" as a promotional song. She believed that Republican policies were at odds with the hardship and poverty she had to endure in the 1950s when Philip was young.[20]

Lynott died on 12 June 2019, after suffering from cancer for a number of years.[21] The Irish President Michael D. Higgins praised her work campaigning for LGBT rights and against drug use.[22]

Published works

  • Lynott, Philomena; Hayden, Jackie (1995). Niall Stokes (ed.). My Boy: The Philip Lynott Story. Hot Press Books. ISBN 978-0-753-50048-4.



  1. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 11.
  2. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 12.
  3. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 13.
  4. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 13.
  5. ^ "Family Reunited". The Sunday Times. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. ^ Putterford 1994, pp. 16,20.
  7. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 17.
  8. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 18.
  9. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 145.
  10. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 146.
  11. ^ Taylor, Paul (28 February 2011). "Phil Lynott's mother recalls exciting days in Manchester". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  12. ^ Putterford 1994, p. 197.
  13. ^ a b Byrne 2006, p. 268.
  14. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 260.
  15. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 262.
  16. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 274.
  17. ^ "INTERVIEW Musician Derek McGowan". Mayo News. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  18. ^ Byrne 2006, p. 281.
  19. ^ "See tribute to Irish rock legend Phil Lynott at PSL Club". Peterborough Today. 28 September 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Thin Lizzy Singer Would Have Objected to GOP Using Band's Music, Mom Says". Rolling Stone. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Phil Lynott's mother Philomena has died aged 88". RTE. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  22. ^ "President Higgins leads tributes following death of Philomena Lynott". The Journal. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.