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  • Northside West

Behan award launched in Grangegorman

Saturday, 7th May, 2016 5:00pm
Behan award launched in Grangegorman

Brendan Behan’s daughter, Blanaid Walker, pictured by the statue of her father. PHOTO: JASON CLARKE

Behan award launched in Grangegorman

Brendan Behan’s daughter, Blanaid Walker, pictured by the statue of her father. PHOTO: JASON CLARKE

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AN AWARD to celebrate Brendan Behan’s life and literary genius was launched during a recent lecture by Des Geraghy held in the Dublin writer’s honour at DIT in Grangegorman.

The winner will be selected by students and will be someone who has made a significant contribution to the creative arts and cultural life.

Behan’s daughter, Blanaid Walker, along with her two sons, Guy and Rupert, were at DIT for the launch.

Blanaid said she believed this was the first award in her father’s name and that she was delighted for him to be remembered in this way. 

During the lecture, Geraghty talked about Behan’s life and recited some of his plays and songs both in English and Irish.

Final year DIT Drama students performed an excerpt from ‘The Hostage’ and three BIMM Society members sang ‘The Auld Triangle’.

John Coll, who designed the statue of Behan sitting on a bench at the Royal Canal, is also set to design the ‘DIT Brendan Behan Award’.

“Behan is for me a mould breaker – I’m just a mould maker,” Coll said.

“The fact that his notoriety eclipsed his creativity in his later years should not take from that original meteoric burst of creativity which this award will celebrate, and the inspirational stardust scattered from its tail.”

While launching the award, President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, shared a little known fact about Behan.

“It may come as a surprise to many people to know that in 1937 Brendan attended what was then the Bolton Street Technical School,” he said.

“He studied as an apprentice painter, taking a course in ‘House -Painting, Sign-writing and Decoration’.

“I think we should admit that he was expelled from Bolton Street before completing the full course of instruction! Maybe that was a good thing for Irish literature.”

The DIT Brendan Behan Award will be presented for the first time later this year.

Róisín Nestor


Behan Fact File: 

• At the age of 13, Brendan left school to follow in his father’s footsteps of becoming a painter.

• He famously described himself as “a drinker with a writing problem”. 

• Brendan’s uncle, Peader Kearney, wrote the Irish National Anthem ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’.

• Behan fans sometimes leave a pint of Guinness at his grave in Glasnevin Cemetery as a tribute to the writer’s infamous drinking habits.

• His play ‘The Quare Fellow’ won an Obie Award for ‘Best New Play’ in 1959.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here