Brendan Behan


"The immigration man read my deportation order, looked at it and handed it back to me.

'Are you Irish?' he asked me.

'No' I said, 'as a matter of fact, I'm Yemenite Arab'.

The Immigration officer shook my hand and his hard face softened.

'Céad míle fáilte romhat abhaile'. (A hundred thousand welcomes home to you).

I could not answer. There are no words and it would be impertinence to try. I walked down the gangway. I was free."



rendan Behan was arrested in England in 1939 as an agitator for the IRA and was sentenced to reform school, being only 16 years old at the time. He did more than merely survive during his three years there - he enjoyed it, eventually detailing the positive aspects of a world which most would be unable to perceive in a book called Borstal Boy.

He was eventually deported to Ireland, but not long afterwards was arrested again and sentenced to fourteen years in prison by a military court. His experiences there were later drawn upon to write his play The Quare Fellow - an indictment of capital punishment.

A man with a huge lust for life, he was never averse to a drink or ten, and died in an Irish hospital in 1964 with a bottle of whiskey in his hand...



Confessions Of An Irish Rebel
Borstal Boy
The Quare Fellow


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