Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

Death: 20th March 1964
Location: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland
Cause of death: Diabetes
Photo taken by: Alan Sharp
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Irish playwright, novelist and poet who was one of the most successful Irish dramatists of the 20th Century. He joined the youth wing of the IRA in 1937; having his first poems and writing published in the organisations magazine. In 1939 Behan was arrested in possession of explosives in Liverpool, he was sentenced to three years in Borstal and after returning to Ireland in 1941 he was tried for the attempted murder of two detectives and sentenced to fourteen years. He was released in 1946 as part of an amnesty. His time in prison was pivotal in his career in writer, it was whilst imprisoned that he wrote his first play, and by the 50's he was earning his living as a writer. Behan had difficulty dealing with the fame that his writing brought, he had always been a heavy drinker and died aged 41 after refusing to stop drinking after developing diabetes.