From about 1973, I was a Thin Lizzy fan (after hearing their version of Whiskey in the Jar) and had a huge crush on their charismatic lead singer/ bass player - Phil Lynott. I saw him in concert 7 times.
Yes, I had the T-shirt (s) posters, singles and the albums (pre- CD/ MP3 players/i-pods etc)
When I heard the news on 4th January 1986, that Phil Lynott was dead- aged just 36 from heart failure and pneumonia, following years of alcohol and drug addiction, it was still quite a shock. Disbelief, sadness and anger were some of my emotions - I wouldn't get to see him perform again, though I'd still have my recordings and memories.
So, 22 years after his death, I finally got to visit his grave.
I'd booked Ryanair trip to Dublin for the day-arriving at 06.30 and departing at around 2200 hours gave me the chance to visit Dublin, Sutton and Howth.
Leaving Sutton train station, I know that I needed to find St Fintans cemetary. (I'd assumed that this would be in the grounds of St Fintans church) so asked directions- it was about a 10 minute walk or so to the church. I wandered around the outside for a while (There was a service going on inside) looking for the graveyard. There were no grave stones here.
Well, to cut a long story short, after asking lots of locals (including a lovely man who gave me a brief history of this area, and pointed out the landmarks on the coastline) I finally found out that the cemetery was about a mile away, up a hill.
Arriving at the cemetery, I found that it was larger than I expected, and was divided into 2 halves. There was a young chap near the entrance selling flowers, so I decided to ask him if he knew where Phil Lynotts grave was.
Yes, he knew- "Follow the path facing forward until the end, turn right and walk to the end of the path - Then walk back 4 plots and the 3rd grave in is Phils"
Officially it is Plot 13 of the St. Polan's Section. It wasn't too difficult to spot.
The grave was well tended - apparently his mother visits regularly. Tokens left by fans were scattered around - Black Roses (Roisin Dubh), framed photos, figures of Dennis the Menace, necklets and other trinkets.
The original tomb was marked by 'The Cross of the Cowboy' but the cemetary officials insisted on it being replaced by something more appropiate.
The replacement is a granite slab, with celtic engravings and the Gaelic words Go dtuga Dia suaimhneas da anam"
can be translated roughly as
"May God give peace to his soul"
The stone was designed by Jim Fitzpatrick, who was responsible for some of Thin Lizzys iconic album covers. He was also a longstanding friend and neighbour of Phils.
I caught the DART to Sutton from Dublins Tara Street station. My ticket was purchased from the ticket office. They don't accept debit/credit cards, but there is an ATM just outside this small station. I'm afraid that I don't remember the exact price (will try to find my ticket stuibs) but think it was just over 2 euros.
My plan was to travel to Sutton, then catch the DART to Howth, before returning to Dublin. I was expecting to be able to buy a 'Day Saver' ticket, but had to pay for each leg of my journey individually.
The DART is a good service, there is an electric 'map' of the route in each carriage, plus regular (too regular?) messages to announce that "This is the train for Howth" and signs informing of the next station.
to be continued, very soon.....
Luggage and bags:
This was a day trip from Dublin, so I just carried a large handbag-enough for my camera, notebook etc.- it was a fairly good day, but I was wearing my waterproof jacket, with big pockets
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: comfy shoes- and come prepared for all weathers-even in Summer.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I think there was a chemist/ pharmacy here.
Photo Equipment: A photogenic shoreline-so bring your camera/ lenses/batteries etc.