Brendan Behan's typewriter & NUJ Card: Photo: Dublin Writers Museum

Brendan Behan’s typewriter & NUJ Card: Photo: Dublin Writers Museum

Brendan Behan’s NUJ card and Remington portable no.2 typewriter along with a first edition of ‘The Quare Fellow’ (1954) are on display at the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square. His membership of the union was discussed during a tour by an NUJ group of the graves of writers and other famous people at Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin on Sunday.

Tour Guide Paddy Gleeson points out Brendan Behan's Grave  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Tour Guide Paddy Gleeson points out Brendan Behan’s Grave Photo: © Michael Fisher

I am told that Joe Jennings (later CIÉ Press Officer) was his proposer when Behan started writing a weekly column and joined The Irish Press chapel in 1954. I also know that when my father was London Editor of The Irish Press (1954-1962), the playwright had called into the Fleet Street office, probably looking for an advance of some sort.

Plaque on Behan's Grave  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Plaque on Behan’s Grave Photo: © Michael Fisher

In May 1956, The Quare Fellow’ opened at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, in a production by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop. The play later transferred to the West End. Behan died on March 20th 1964, aged 41.

Adrian Dunbar in 'Brendan at the Chelsea'  Photo: Lyric Theatre

Adrian Dunbar in ‘Brendan at the Chelsea’ Photo: Lyric Theatre

In May 2011, a play called ‘Brendan at the Chelsea’, written by Behan’s niece, Janet Behan, was the first work to be performed in the Naughton Studio at the new Lyric Theatre in Belfast. The production tells the story of Behan’s residence at New York’s Hotel Chelsea in 1963. It was a critical success and was revived for a tour to the Acorn Theatre in New York in September, before returning to the Lyric in October. Again, it received favourable reviews.

“In Adrian Dunbar’s riveting central performance, Behan plays the stage Irishman to perfection, a song permanently on his lips, his slurring, alcohol-soaked wit delighting a succession of hangers-on with its scathing, self-deprecating observations.” (‘The Stage’)

Brendan Behan's Grave  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Brendan Behan’s Grave Photo: © Michael Fisher

Starting tonight, the play has moved to the Project Arts Centre in Behan’s native Dublin and will run for five nights until Saturday. More information can be found here.

Adrian Dunbar plays Brendan Behan in this warm and funny drama of an Irish national treasure. It is 1960s New York in the legendary bohemian bolt hole, The Chelsea Hotel. Arthur Miller is just across the hall and the symphony of 24th Street is rising up and in through the open window of Brendan Behan’s room. He is broke, hung over and way past the delivery date of his latest book, the first line of which he is yet to write. He was told to stop drinking or he’d be dead in six months – that was two years ago. Today is not going well. His mistress keeps ringing, the bills aren’t paid and a wire arrives from Dublin with the kind of news that’s guaranteed to put his blood pressure through the roof…

Adrian Dunbar (who sings a song in Irish) and Janice Behan were interviewed on the John Murray Show this morning on RTÉ Radio 1.

Brendan Behan    Source: John Murray Show website

Brendan Behan Source: John Murray Show website


RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: IE website

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: IE website/Maxwell

Starting on the DART service in Dublin tomorrow morning from Bray to Dublin, the fifth RTÉ Big Music Week will be on the rails from 7:45am. Commuters at Bray will be entertained on the platform by a number of well-known musicians including The Benzini Brothers featuring Liam Ó MaonlaÍ, Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Peter O’Toole;  Luan Parle; Lisa O’Neill; The Lost Brothers and Eleanor McEvoy. Here is the advertisement currently running on RTÉ television:-

The musicians will then board a train to bring them to Connolly Station, where there will be more music live on the John Murray Show with Miriam on RTÉ Radio 1 from 9am. I hope to join the event there to cover it for my blog, travelling on the special train to Newbridge. From there it will be a case of “Follow Me up to Carlow”, where I will return Northwards to write my report and hopefully bring you some photographs.

The Big Music Week in association with Iarnród Éireann features the very best of home-grown musical talent by bringing live performance to audiences in Ireland and all over the world; on radio, on television, on line and on mobile with plenty of opportunity to catch-up on the latest action with RTÉ.ie, RTÉ Ten, RTÉ YouTube and @rte (not forgetting @fishbelfast) on twitter.

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week at Dún Laoghaire Photo: Maxwell Photography

RTÉ presenters launch Big Music Week       Photo: Maxwell Photography

This year, the RTÉ Big Music Week Train, consisting of three carriages, will travel to some of Ireland’s best-loved venues and best-travelled stations, bringing performances from Kodaline, Paul Brady, Damien Dempsey, Christy Moore, Lumiere and Julie Feeney and much more to radio listeners across the island. The schedule for the Irish Rail special train is as follows:-

Monday 30th September – Dublin Connolly to Waterford

Stay on the train for the day, join in the music and fun as the train stops at Newbridge and Carlow and ends the day in Waterford.

Tuesday 1st October – Waterford to Killarney

Entertainment and Music on board all the way to Mallow.

Wednesday 2nd October – Killarney to Westport

Entertainment and music all the way plus a stop at Limerick Station to join in the fun at the 2Fm Ryan Tubridy Show onboard.

Thursday 3rd October – Marty in the Morning

Attend a live radio programme (breakfast included!) from Westport Station.

Friday 4th October – Boyle to Dublin Connolly

Final show in Maynooth with Ronan Collins at 12pm.

RTÉ’s Big Music Week will finish on a high note with an All-Star Charity Concert in aid of Barnardos. It will be presented by Kathryn Thomas and feature several headline acts and surprise guests. Finbarr Furey, the Irish chart topper who outsold Avici and Katy Perry after winning RTÉ’s The Hit with The Last Great Love Song, will perform his latest chart topper and other songs from his extensive repertoire. Also on the bill are Sharon Shannon and Paul Walsh from Royseven. Jerry Fish will perform his well-known song True Friends with The Lost Brothers. Other acts include Heathers, Scullion, Robbie Overson and Philip King.

The show will also feature a brand new song written by Brendan Graham, which will be performed by Eimear Quinn, Celine Byrne and others. The new song will be premiered on The Late Late Show on October 4th. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster priced at €25, with all funds going to Barnardos.