Phil Lynott dead 38 years: ‘He was born in the UK but he's one of ours'

"He is one of the greatest Irish musicians to ever live."
Ellen Kenny
Ellen Kenny

16.05 4 Jan 2024

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Phil Lynott dead 38 years: ‘He...

Phil Lynott dead 38 years: ‘He was born in the UK but he's one of ours'

Ellen Kenny
Ellen Kenny

16.05 4 Jan 2024

Share this article

98FM’s Ciaran O’Connor has said despite being born in Britain, Phil Lynott is undoubtedly one of Ireland's best.

Mr Lynott died 38 years ago today.

He died in Salisbury Infirmary in England of pneumonia and heart failure on January 4th, 1986, at the age of 36. 


Ciaran told Lunchtime Live he was “one of the greatest Irish musicians to ever live”. 

"Now, I say 'Irish musicians' - he was born in the UK and moved over to Crumlin when he was very young,” he said. 

“But we’ve claimed him. 

“We see a lot of the time on the BBC they try to claim our Irish and we’re like ‘hold on a minute’, but [Mr Lynott] is one of ours.” 

Mr Lynott was born in Staffordshire in 1949, before moving to Manchester shortly after his birth and eventually Ireland in 1957.

His mother was also from Dublin and the musician always said he was proud of his Irish heritage.

Over the past 38 years, tributes have been paid to the Thin Lizzy singer, including stamps by An Post in 2019 to mark 50 years since the band was formed. 

Phil Lynott statue

A statue of Mr Lynott was also placed on Harry Street in Dublin’s city centre, just outside his favourite Dublin pub Bruxelles. 

Ciaran said since the statue was introduced in 2005, it has “really been through the mill”. 

“It’s got pushed over and damaged,” he said. “A car crashed into it. 

“When it was damaged, turns out these two guys turned themselves in to say, ‘Look we did it, we’re sorry, we were on a night out and got a bit crazy’. 

“Phil Lynott's mother came out to say she forgave them, there was no malice.” 

He also noted there has been some “unintentional damage” to the iconic statue. 

“People put pecks into the guitar strings,” he explained. “It’s costing Dublin City Council money every year.” 

Forming Thin Lizzy

Ciaran acknowledged the person the statue is based on had "also been through the mill" in his lifetime. 

“He started with Brush Shiels and Gary Moore in Skid Row,” he explained. “Then onto Orphanage, then Thin Lizzy became a thing.” 

He formed Thin Lizzy with longtime friend and Orphanage member Brian Downey, Eric Bell and Eric Waxton. 

“With the likes of ‘The Boys are Back in Town’, they got their flavour of fame in America,” Ciaran said. 

“It was short-lived - nothing major happened after those songs. 

“But in Ireland, he was always synonymous with, and always will be, one of Ireland's finest artists.” 

Ciaran recommended people watch The Long Goodbye to learn more about the Irish musician available on Apple TV. 

Listen back here:

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