Brendan Behan commemorated on new Irish stamp

March 20th, 2014

An Post issued a commemorative stamp to mark 50 years since the death of Brendan Behan.

Brendan Behan (1923 –1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright who wrote in both English and Irish. He was born in Dublin's inner city into a republican family where there was a strong emphasis on Irish history and culture, which meant he was steeped in literature and patriotic ballads from a young age.

For some years Behan concentrated on writing verses in Irish and in 1954 his first play The Quare Fellow was produced to general acclaim in Dublin. However, it was the 1956 production at Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in Stratford, London, that gained Behan a wider reputation. Behan's second play, An Giall (1958), was translated into English and it was a production of The Hostage (1958) which led to success in London and New York. Behan's autobiographical Borstal Boy (1958) featured chapters on prison life and was among his best work. It became a worldwide best-seller.

Behan died on 20 March 1964 and his funeral was described by several newspapers as the biggest since those of Michael Collins and Charles Stewart Parnell. This special stamp was designed by Conor & David and features a photograph of Brendan Behan by photographer Ida Kar. It was issued on March 20th, 50 years to the day that he died.