Deane visited his friend at his Donegal home recently said that although Friel had been “fading fast” due to illness, he preferred to remain at home rather than undergo lengthy treatment in hospital.
Brian Friel was born in Killyclogher, near Omagh, Co.
“Faith Healer”, seen in 1979 as well in 2006 in a revival starring Ralph Fiennes, followed a man who questions his gifts.
A book of condolence has opened in Derry’s Guildhall for renowned playwright Brian Friel who died earlier today.
Northern Ireland was greatly enriched by Friel’s canon, and is diminished by his death. “Friel will be deeply missed by all of the professional colleagues who had the great fortune to work and collaborate with one of Ireland’s true world talents”.
Those who knew him and his work best remarked that it was one of the rare occasions the playwright spoke publicly about his love for the area.
He also proudly served as a senator in the Upper House of the Irish parliament between 1987 and 1989.
Brian Friel pictured with actor Stephen Rea in The Patrician Hall, Carrickmore.
“Loyalty, treason, patriotism, republicanism and homeland” were amongst these, he said: explaining: “Words which we think we share and which are, in fact, barriers to communication”.
Mr Friel made his name with Philadelphia, Here I Come! in 1967 – which was put on the Leaving Certificate English curriculum – and he wrote over 30 plays during his lifetime.
“‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ paved the way for other Irish plays to tour to New York, giving Irish theatre a currency long since enjoyed by many of our writers”, said Fiach Mac Conghail, director of Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey. Like Yeats, he was offered the chance to have an official say in public affairs when Charles Haughey appointed him an independent member of Senate for two years from 1987.
“His power and persistence, his intelligence and humour, his enormously generous hospitality and friendship informed all of our activities”, he told The Irish Times.
Of the many tributes and honours he received for his work, one included his handprints being immortalised in bronze outside the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin alongside the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and fellow playwright John B Keane.