Wednesday, 13 March 2013 20:23

Brendan Behan (Dublin): Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Inductee

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Brendan Behan - Playwright Brendan Behan - Playwright

Famous Son Of Ireland:  Author/Poet Category

Brendan Behan: Famous Irish Author

A Dubliner and an Irish poet, novelist and playwright, and also an Irish Republican stalwart. Brendan, with a flair for the unexpected, became a Famous Son Of Ireland as a writer who often courted rave reviews, without ever putting a pen to paper. He was always treasured as a genius writer but life for the genial Dubliner would never be dull and boring.


Brendan died at the young age of forty one years, and into his life he crammed an abundance of enduring literature, that salutes his wonderful talent.


A born rebel, the man in Brendan, shone through when he was only a boy. He left school at just fourteen, became a controversial figure, was a well known Republican sympathiser and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for his political views.

During his incarcerations in Mountjoy Prison and also in a British institution, the young Dublin budding author began to reveal many good instincts. He displayed a rare and pure aptitude for a play performed by inmates.


An inner city abode in the heartland of old Dublin as a young boy, gave Brendan a great insight into working class life and his grandmother was influential to his future life. His father, Stephen Behan, a house painter by trade, also possessed a good ear for literature and regularly read at bedtime to his children.



Brendan’s mother, Kathleen, was known to be a woman of substance in the political climate that existed in the early

20th century Ireland and was a political acquaintance of Michael Collins.

Peader Kearney, composer of Ireland’s national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, was Brendan’s uncle and also a noted song writer of many songs and Brendan kept the family writing influence to the fore.


In 1937 the Behan family moved out of their city centre location to a suburban Crumlin housing estate and fourteen years old Brendan soon joined Fianna Eireann, the youth wing of the I.R.A. On reaching sixteen he became a full I.R.A. member and set out on a self inspired military mission to Liverpool, was arrested on explosives charges and sentenced to three years in a Borstal.

He maintained his political beliefs and again found himself incarcerated in 1942 at Mountjoy and the Curragh prisons. He was subsequently released on a general amnesty for Republican prisoners in 1946 and at the age of twenty three, he was now free to dedicate himself to writing.

However Brendan still retained his political instincts and served his final prison sentence in 1947 for his part in attempting to free a Republican friend at Manchester jail. Thereafter he exited active political matters to concentrate on writing and producing many famous literature works.


Books by Brendan Behan include:

Borstal Boy (1958) 3Brendan’s Behan’s Island (1962)

Hold Your Hand And Have Another (1963)

Brendan Beha’s New York (1964)

Confessions of An Irish Rebel (1965)

The Scarperer (1966) 3After The Wake (1981 posthumous)


Plays by Brendan Behan include:

The Quare Fellow (1954) 3An Giall (1958)

The Landlady (1946) 3The Hostage (1958)

Richard’s Cork Leg (1972) 3The Big House (1957)

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 September 2020 10:13