Youghal Thin Lizzy Fans Roll Back The Years On Album Cover - By Christy Parker
A GROUP of Youghal music fans are dancing in the moonlight as a photograph of them as teenagers attending a Thin Lizzy concert in 1980 has resurfaced as the sleeve of a 70’s rock compilation album.
The twelve men are featured on the cover of The Boys Are Back In Town, a 3-cd box set named after one of the band’s hits. The album features 60 hit tracks by such legends as Queen, Rod Stewart, The Who, Lou Reed, Slade, Leonard Skynard and of course Thin Lizzy.
Bedecked in all-denim, Doc Martins and long-haired, most of them –if not all- travelled by minibus to City Hall on Sunday April 13th to enjoy the Cork leg of the band’s ‘Live & Dangerous’ World Tour. Youghal compatriot and a photography student at Crawford School of Art Michael Hussey, also attended and gathered them for a group shot. “I was using a Pentax SLR and shot it in black white,” he recalls.
On the 30th anniversary of the gig Michael posted the picture on the local news website youghalonline.com. Fast forward two years and Nigel Pearce of London Design Corporation is trawling online libraries for an iconic image to represent 70’s rock for Universal Music TV’s compilation set. “We had only a day left and nothing amongst the mods and rockers images of the time suited” says Nigel.
In desperation Nigel Googled ‘Thin Lizzy Fans’ and discovered the photo of the Youghal boys in town for that epic night. It was exactly what we wanted,” he enthuses. “It captures the moment in time perfectly. And appropriately they also share Thin Lizzy’s nationality. I contacted Michael and he was extremely helpful in negotiating use of the image.”
All of the twelve have been identified and are still living. While they vividly remember the occasion –who wouldn’t remember a Thin Lizzy gig?!- there is some discrepancy over the details. “I remember Phil Lynott shouting “Are You Ready? and opening with that song,” says Billy Lane, then 18. “No. I definitely remember they started with Got to Give it Up,” insists Gene Twomey, three years younger. As Phil might observe, sometimes you Don’t Believe a Word…..
The Boys Are Back In Town is out now! Click on the advert below as seen on SKY Channels and UMTVUK
Youghal has a representative TD for the first time in over 30 years, following Sandra McLellan’s successful general election campaign. The Sinn Fein candidate had 649 votes to spare as she claimed the fourth Cork East seat from Fianna Fail’s Kevin O’Keefe on the seventh count. She joins Sean Sherlock (Lab), David Stanton (FG) and Tom Barry (FG) as the constituency’s representatives in the 31st Dail. Not since the late Sean Brosnan of Fianna Fail who was elected to the 21st Dail in 1977, has Youghal been represented at that level. Mr. Brosnan died in 1979, aged 62.
Sandra was joined by her family during the lengthy count on a momentous night in Mallow last Saturday. They included husband Liam and the two eldest of her three children, several other family members and about 40 supporters and campaign assistants from Youghal and east Cork. Following her victory, she handled national television and radio interviews with the style and confidence of veteran. “I made sure to talk up Youghal in every one of them too,” she smiles, in a positive indication that her priorities will not lie idle in the Oireachtas.
A day later, the 49 year-old was still running on a cocktail of relief, joy and optimism in her home in Ardrath. It was a day when neither she nor her telephones found rest, as well-wishers and media personnel came ringing and knocking with unprecedented fervour. “I’ve never experienced anything like it, “she says with the sincerity that has defined her short political career.
Sandra was first elected to Youghal Town Council in 2004. She successfully defended her seat in in poll-topping fashion in 2009, alongside winning a seat on Cork County Council. A former SIPTU shop steward, she worked in Artesyn and so is painfully aware of the devastation, personal and communal, of industry closures. It is no surprise then that she believes “job creation is the biggest and most difficult issue facing East Cork.”
If being rendered unemployed was life experience of an undesirable kind, it was minimal compared to a far greater adversity she faced a few short years ago. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she was eventually to win a battle that puts even the most daunting of political challenges in perspective. “I was just ucky,” she says, philosophically, seemingly oblivious to the inspiration of her survival. Coming from that situation, one might argue that her very campaign, let alone her success and any future impressions, was a lesson in fortitude and hope. As it is, she seems set to prove a powerful influence on her party’s policy on the provision of the cancer care that all the people of this country need and deserves.
From the vantage point of a battle well fought and finished, the victor reflects on the fight. “We always knew we had a very good chance of winning,” she says of her campaign camp, “but we felt it would be very close. We thought it might even go down to a hundred or so votes, though in the end I had a good few more to spare.” Nonetheless, she concedes that were moments of uncertainty during the long count, moments when the notion of failure flashed back and forth in her mind, like fish in a pond. “Then someone would point out that I was in the driving seat,” she recalls and her confidence would re-surface. She felt “unbelievably nervous” across the slow, 16 hours of edging towards triumph. She deserves the celebration that she “will probably in a week or two.”
Recalling the hours, days and weeks of canvassing, Sandra is perceptive enough to define her success as “a strong personal vote,” in regards to her home town at least. “Some people were keen on the party’s policies and considered the national picture,” she attests, “but mostly people just felt that Youghal now needs someone at that level.” She “hasn’t given any thought yet” to the weight of expectancy that people’s trust may carry, a burden not easily alleviated by the likelihood of a seat in opposition. “If so, I think we will be a very strong opposition,” she insists, “and I will certainly be a voice for Youghal and east Cork to the very best of my ability.”
Those 649 surplus votes will have altered her life immensely for the coming years at least, as she treads the corridors of Kildare Street. “I’m very fortunate in that I have a hugely supportive family,” she counters, in reference to Liam, son Graham, daughters Lorna and Kelly, brothers Tony and Sean, parents Pauline and Gerald and sister-in-law and fellow town councillor Michelle, who “has been a rock” to her.
Leaving the chamber
It is a statutory requirement that the new TD will now have to relinquish her roles as town and councillor. Formerly Youghal’s first ever Sinn Fein mayor, she leaves behind a legacy of which she can be proud. As a member of the Fairtrade Committee, she was hugely influential in acquiring Fairtrade Status for Youghal. She is also Chairperson of the New Enterprise Centre at St. Marys College and is a strong supporter of the Community Alert and the Tidy Towns committees. For Sandra McLellan TD, Youghal’s need is now matched by that of her country. As ever, she is unlikely to be found wanting in either cause.