The song was inspired by Lynott's fascination with Irish history and Celtic mythology, and ironically was to become his epitaph. Another irony is that like the founder of the Provisional IRA, the high poet of Irish rock was technically an Englishman. In its March 10, 1973 issue, New Musical Express
reported that he was born in the Irish Republic, in fact Philip Parris Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital, West Bromwich near Birmingham on August 20, 1949, the illegitimate son of an Irish Catholic mother. His middle name was taken from his father, Cecil Parris. Lynott grew up in Dublin but also spent time in Manchester where his mother ran a hotel for musicians and show business types, the Clifton Grange, also known as The Showbiz or simply The Biz.
Lynott appears to have built up a big mythology about his absentee father, but after the rising star and his band were featured in the long defunct popular weekly Titbits
in January 1976, Cecil Parris materialized. Father and son met the following month, but the meeting did not go well, and shattered Lynott's illusions.
A third irony in Lynott's life was to be the death of him; he had been lined up to play Hendrix in a biopic; Lynott bore a striking facial resemblance to the legendary guitarist. Unfortunately that was not where the resemblance ended, and on January 4, 1986, he died in Salisbury Infirmary from septicemia and multiple organ failure, the result of his addiction to heroin. He was 36 years old. Phil Lynott was buried in Saint Fintan's Cemetery, Sutton, Ireland, his grave engraved with the inscription:
PHILIP PARRIS LYNOTT
Go dtuga Dia
suaimhneas da anam.
In 2005, a statue was erected to Lynott in his hometown, Dublin. There are a number of websites devoted to Thin Lizzy and Lynott, as well as several biographies of him and the band, including My Boy
, by his mother.