Philomena Lynott

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Philomena Lynott
Born (1930-10-22) 22 October 1930 (age 87)
Crumlin, Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Author, hotel manager
Children Phil Lynott

Philomena "Phyllis" Lynott (born 22 October 1930) is an Irish author and entrepreneur. She is the mother of Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, and her autobiography, My Boy, documents the relationship between her and her son. She was the proprietor of the Clifton Grange Hotel, Manchester, which provided accommodation for a number of bands in the 1970s including Thin Lizzy. She suffered depression following her son's death in 1986 and continues to visit his grave and celebrate his life.


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 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.[16] She has regularly attended rock concerts around Dublin,[17] and continues to commemorate Philip's life. She was a key figure in getting a bronze statue of him constructed in Dublin in 2005,[18] and has been the special guest at Thin Lizzy fan events.[19]

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

Published works[edit]



  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.