TRIBUTES have been paid to Donegal playwright Brian Friel who passed away this morning after a long illness.
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Clr Ciaran Brogan, has expressed his condolences on the death of the world renowned writer.
Cllr Brogan commented: “Brian Friel was one of the greatest playwrights our country has ever produced and a much-loved member of our community for almost 50 years. We, in Donegal, considered him ‘one of our own’ and felt a connection with so many of his works which were based in this county and written in a language so familiar to us all. However, his writing resonated with people far beyond this county. His plays have been performed at every level from parish halls to Broadway and his wonderfully drawn characters have been read, watched and loved by people throughout the world.”
“He has been the subject of many joyful and convivial community celebrations in this county over the years, including the Patrick McGill Summer School in Glenties, the Charles Macklin Autumn School in Culdaff, Inishowen and the recent inaugural Lughnasa International Friel Festival, in Donegal and Belfast. “
“Brian Friel was an icon and literary genius. His works, including “Philadelphia here I come”, “Translations” and “Dancing at Lughnasa” leave a rich legacy of language and thought to the people of Donegal, Ireland and the world.”
“I want to express my condolences, and those of the members and staff of Donegal County Council, to his wife Anne, his children and grandchildren”.
Noel Curran, Director-General, RTÉ, this afternoon paid tribute to acclaimed playwright Brian Friel, who has died aged 86.
Mr Curran said: “Brian Friel’s contribution to the arts, in Ireland and beyond, was inestimable. His plays shone a penetrating light into our identity and culture, and his connection with his audience was always powerful and real. His work was frequently adapted by RTÉ Radio 1’s Drama on One, and screened on RTÉ television. The man, and his work, were a constant source of discussion, analysis and review across RTÉ’s arts output – the scale of his enduring legacy will undoubtedly be in evidence in the coming days.”
Born in 1929 in Killyclogher, near Omagh, Mr Friel was first a school teacher before becoming a full-time writer of short stories and plays in 1960. Over the course of a remarkable career, Mr Friel penned more than 30 plays with and was perhaps best known for Dancing at Lughnasa, which won three Tony Awards in 1992, and the innovative Philadelphia, Here I Come, which premiered at the Gaiety Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1964.
In 1980 Mr Friel formed the Field Day Theatre Company with Stephen Rae, its first production being Friel’s own Translations. Outside of his enormous literary talent, Mr Friel received numerous awards, served for a time as a Senator, and was a Saoi of Aosdána.
Mr Friel died peacefully at his home in Greencastle, early this morning after a long illness, in the company of his wife Anne and daughters. RTÉ’s Director-General offered RTÉ’s deepest condolences to Mr Friel’s family.
· The film adaptation of the Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa will be screened following this evening’s The Late Late Show on RTÉ One.
· This Sunday at 8pm on RTÉ Radio 1, Drama on One will air Philadelphia, Here I Come.
· On Tuesday, 6th October, RTÉ One will screen the documentary Brian Friel at 10:15pm.
Tributes were paid to Mr Friel on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Seán O’Rourke this morning. Listen here