Irish author and playwright Brendan Behan died on March 20, 1964. He became one of Ireland's best-known writers; born on February 9, 1923 in Dublin, Ireland, Behan left school at the age of 13 to work with his father as a house painter. Aged just sixteen, he joined the IRA serving time in a Borstal institution in England and in prison in Ireland. Released from prison as part of a general amnesty in 1946, Behan moved between Dublin, Kerry and Connemara and spent time in Paris, writing. In 1954 he produced his first play The Quare Fellow, the following year he married Beatrice Salkeld, and their daughter was born in 1963. In 1958, Behan's play in the Irish language An Giall was performed at Dublin's Damer Theatre. Afterwards, The Hostage, Behan's English language adaptation of An Giall, met with great success internationally following Joan Littlewood's production in London in 1958. Borstal Boy, Behan's autobiographical novel, was published the same year and became an immediate best seller. International success and financial reward were followed by an increase in Behan's drinking problems which eventually led to his death. He died on March 20, 1964 at Meath Hospital in Dublin from sclerosis of the liver aged 41 and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in North Dublin.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain's Literary Legends. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: