I love Limerick and PR Company Richard Knows, are the brainchild of Richard Lynch, the publicity shy Limerick native with an incredible story to tell
“We all have the ability to influence each other’s lives in a positive or a negative way,” says Richard. “I try to go through life being aware of my own personal power and what I can bring to people.”
If you’re not from Limerick it’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of Richard before now and, for the most part, that is how he has wanted it to be. e presenter, publicist, actor and founder of ILoveLimerick.com, regularly lends his time and expertise to help businesses, charities, events and people from the area, while volunteering to write a weekly column in the Limerick Chronicle.
Richard’s story begins in the early 1970s. Born into a musical family his father used to sing in the family pub called Eric’s, while his mother played the piano. “It was actually one of the first music houses in Ireland, there were nine children and we all lived above the pub. I had a bit of a tumultuous childhood; growing up gay I was very badly bullied and I didn’t have a nice childhood. When I graduated with a degree in marketing I made the decision to get out of Limerick as soon as I could and I went to New York,” says Richard.
His newfound surroundings were a breath of fresh air and Richard made the most of his time in the exciting city. rough the years he worked for some incredible companies, which led to even bigger opportunities.
“In the 90s I was kind of a club kid, partying and trying to get to know myself. In my 30s I went to acting school and graduated from the prestigious William Esper Conservatory in 2006. I got jobs; I worked for Cosmopolitan magazine assisting the director of photography and I worked in casting for a while as well,” says Richard.
“Then I moved on to work for this incredible woman named Joanna Jordan who ran a company called Central Talent Bookings. They booked all the guests for the David Letterman Show and the celebrity content for O, the Oprah magazine. I worked there for about a year and during that time I quit drinking.”
After making an impression with his people skills, Richard was personally head hunted by Kevin Dyson, the manager of Barneys New York who offered him a job as a concierge. “That was amazing. I met an awful lot of very interesting people during that time,” he says. Being constantly surrounded by wealth and opulence allowed Richard to see what was really important in life and his appreciation for his upbringing and what his parents gave him began to take precedence. “I would see 15, 16-year-olds coming in with Black American Express cards buying each other jewellery. I’d see women with their faces pulled up around their heads wearing mini-skirts. I looked at my mother and my father who came from nothing and I would say to myself, ‘How lucky I was to have the parents I had, to keep my grounded,’ because for me people are people,” Richard explains.
In 2008 Richard moved back to Limerick. His mother, along with suffering from Parkinson’s disease, had a heart attack and it was then that he decided to move home permanently, to care for his parents. “I lived with my mum and dad on carer’s allowance for eight-and-a-half years. It meant the dissolution of the relationship I was in but I’m in another relationship now and I’m happy. I marched in the first Limerick Pride parade in 2007 and the following year I wanted to turn it into a festival. I called it I Love Limerick because I wanted it to be integrated and inclusive. It was a huge success,” Richard says.
“I turned I Love Limerick into a YouTube channel, shooting positive videos about the city because the image of Limerick was so negative in the media at the time. I built an I Love Limerick Facebook page to share good news stories and eventually I developed it into the website that it is today. There’s no advertising on our website, it’s all about volunteers. You don’t need money to be creative or artistic.”
Richard says this outlet - for which he has never been paid and makes no money from - is what kept him sane when he first moved home. Sadly, both his parents passed away within a short amount of time and it was after this that Richard set up his own PR company.
“Rickard Knows came around right after my dad Eric died at the beginning of 2016, he had dementia in the last few years of his life. We offer marketing and PR services to community groups, charities and artists who have no money and no experience, or who don’t know how to present themselves. We write press releases, we create websites, logos. We do all the press. I’m making a tiny bit of money now, not loads, but I’m getting there.”
While at first, he was somewhat resentful of the position he found himself in, Richard says he would do it all again and moving back to Limerick was a blessing in disguise. “I often think that coming home was the best thing that ever happened to me. Those eight-and-a-half years with my parents were more worthwhile than any other thing I could possibly be doing with my life. You couldn’t put a price on it for gold.”
He was named Limerick Person of the Year in 2011, an accolade for someone who works up to 80 hours a week and is humble about his generosity and altruistic nature. “More than anything I kind of stepped back because I wanted the work to stand on its own merits,” Richard explains. “I’ve always kept the focus on the work and when my parents were ill, my focus was on them. Next year I Love Limerick is going to be ten years-old and I’d like to go to the national press and really get it out there, but I’ve always been resistant to put myself out there in a way. I was a very bullied child so I think part of me has always been very resistant to do that but now I’m 45 and kind of changing my tune.”
Richard has met numerous high-profile names over the years and counts some of them as close friends. In the past, fame was something he thought he wanted but today Richard would prefer to be known for doing something to better other people’s lives, as opposed to his own popularity. “When I was in my twenties I aspired to be famous but once I saw what famous people actually go through I lost that taste for it. You can’t beat your family and your friends and your privacy,” says Richard.
“I’m more interested in people who have done something with their lives or who have achieved something, humanitarians. I’d rather be famous for doing something to help people. My mother always said to me ‘Never be a stranger in someone’s company whether it be the butcher, baker or candle stick maker.’ Everyone is put before you for a reason and I’m never let down by the people that I meet on a day-to-day basis. You’re only as good as the people you work with, that’s why my motto is 2+2=7.”
For more information on I Love Limerick visit www.ilovelimerick.ie