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Irish playwright Brian Friel, former seminarian, dies aged 86

One of Ireland’s greatest playwrights, Friel was educated at Maynooth

The Irish playwright Brian Friel, a former seminarian, died this morning aged 86.

Brian Friel’s most famous work was the play Dancing at Lughnasa, later made into a film starring Meryl Streep.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the world had “lost one of the giants of the theatre”. He said: “His mythical stories from Ballybeg reached all corners of the world from Dublin to London to Broadway and onto the silver screen.

“All of his plays, including Translations, Faith Healer, Philadephia, Here I Come! and Dancing at Lughnasa, will forever form part of the canon of greatness in dramatic writing.”

Mr Kenny said: “The consummate Irish storyteller, his work spoke to each of us with humour, emotion and authenticity.”

Born near Omagh, Co Tyrone, in 1929, and educated at St Columb’s College, Derry, Brian Friel spent two years as a seminarian at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. He trained as a teacher at St Joseph’s College, Belfast, and began teaching in 1950.

He married Anne Morrison in 1954 and the couple, who had five children, remained together until his death.

by David V Barret


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