Friday 19 July 2019

'A force of nature' - Mourners attend funeral of Philomena Lynott, mother of Thin Lizzy frontman

The remains of Philomena Lynott (inset) arrive for her funeral
The remains of Philomena Lynott (inset) arrive for her funeral
Alan Amsby (AKA Mr. Pussy) at the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church Picture: Colin Keegan
Flowers from U2 at the funeral of Philomena Lynott Photo: Mark Condren/INM
Alan Amsby (AKA Mr. Pussy) at the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
The remains of Philomena Lynott arrive at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Mourners at the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
The remains of Philomena Lynott arrive at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Brush Shiels and Smiley Bolger at the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Graham Lynott at the removal of his aunt Philomena Lynott in Portmarnock Pic: Mark Condren
Philomena 10 years ago at the opening of the Phil Lynott 60th birthday tribute. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins
Mourners at the removal of Philomena Lynott in Portmarnock Pic: Mark Condren
Flowers were left at the Phil Lynott statue by fans after his mother Philomena passed away
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Philomena Lynott has been remembered as a "force of nature" at her funeral mass in St Fintan's Church in Sutton this afternoon.

The mass was celebrated by Fr Bryan Shortall, a friend of Philomena's from the Capuchin order.

‘I love you with all my heart’: Philomena Lynott with a photo of her late son, Thin Lizzy star Phil Lynott. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins
‘I love you with all my heart’: Philomena Lynott with a photo of her late son, Thin Lizzy star Phil Lynott. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Her coffin arrived at the seaside church by a horse drawn carriage with two white horses.

Gifts were brought to the altar by family and friends at the beginning of the ceremony, including a small statue of her son Thin Lizzy front-man Phil Lynott.

Her brother Peter also recited a poem he had written for his late nephew at the time of his passing in 1986.

He also thanked mourners who gathered for attending the service and said that writing a speech ahead of the funeral had been one of the hardest things he ever had to do.

The coffin of Philomena Lynott is brought to her funeral mass in St Finian's Church Sutton.
Pic: Mark Condren
The coffin of Philomena Lynott is brought to her funeral mass in St Finian's Church Sutton. Pic: Mark Condren

"When I sat down to write this there were so many beautiful things to say but I didn't know where to start. Phyllis was not only beautiful on outside but she had a beautiful soul," he said.

He urged others "not to feel sorrow for her death but grateful her presence blessed their lives".

Flowers from U2 at the funeral of Philomena Lynott
Photo: Mark Condren/INM
Flowers from U2 at the funeral of Philomena Lynott Photo: Mark Condren/INM

"I am honoured to be her little brother. to sister Irene in the US she couldn't make it - we love you very much."

"This is not goodbye Philomena, it's au revoir," he added.

A wreath was signed from Bono, the Edge and Adam Clayton, and many of the mourners wore Thin Lizzy T-shirts.

Phil Lynott died in 1986, and a bronze statue of him stands just off Grafton Street in Dublin.

A Thin Lizzy fan waits for the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton this afternoon for her funeral mass
Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
A Thin Lizzy fan waits for the funeral of Philomena Lynott at St. Fintan's Church, Sutton this afternoon for her funeral mass Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Friends and family of Ms Lynott heard that she was "heartbroken" when her son died.

"Philomena wasn't afraid to tell us that she was crushed and hurt when Philip died a young man.

"She talked of giving Phil's gravestone a good kick for what he did to her, but it was always because she loved him so much," Fr Bryan Shortall told the congregation.

He described her as a mother who genuinely put people first, and said she was devoted to her son.

"She lived her life at the service of others despite the difficulties and struggles that came along," Fr Shortall added.

"Certainly we all know of her devotion to her beloved Philip.

"In the last 33 years she made sure that his legacy as an artist, musician and a poet was firmly passed on."

The Thin Lizzy song Philomena, which Phil Lynott wrote for his mother, was played as her coffin was carried out of the church.

There was a round of applause as the lyrics "If you see my mother please give her all of my love, as she has a heart of gold there as good as god above" rang through the church.

Ms Lynott faced huge difficulties after giving birth as an unmarried woman in the late 1940s.

After leaving school she moved from Ireland to England to find work, but fell pregnant and gave birth to Phil in 1949.

In 1995 she published her memoir, My Boy, co-written by Jackie Hayden, about her son's life growing up in Manchester and Dublin.

The coffin was brought out of the church as Thin Lizzy's Philomena played.

Burial took place in St Fintan's ceremony.

In attendance at the funeral were many famous faces, including film director Jim Sheridan and former RTE broadcaster Anne Doyle.

More to follow

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