The funeral of playwright Brian Friel has taken place in Glenties, Co Donegal.

The simple ceremony began with prayers at the graveside led by Fr Pat Prendergast PP of Glenties.

Fr Prendergast told mourners it was an enormous privilege that Friel had chosen to be buried in Glenties and the community welcomed him to the soil of Glenties which was so dear to him. 

Friel's funeral cortege travelled directly from his home in Greencastle to the cemetery in Glenties for a simple graveside funeral service.

After his wicker coffin was lowered into the grave, two of Friel's friends spoke about him.

Funeral of Brian Friel takes place in Donegal


Poet Tom Paulin, who recited Seamus Heaney's poem 'Sunlight', described him as the warmest and loyalist of friends and spoke of his wonderful way with children.

Playwright Thomas Kilroy quoted from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and said Friel will never be forgotten because he too had created his lasting monuments.

Opera singer Ruby Philigene-Doran sang one of Brian Friels  favourite airs 'Oft in the Stilly night' and concluded the ceremony with Dido's 'Lament'.

Several hundred people attended the funeral including actor Stephen Rea with whom Brian Friel had founded the Field Day Theatre Company.

Also there were Martin McGuinness, Fiach Mac Conghail, Michael Colgan, Robert Ballagh and John Hume.

The 86-year-old passed away at his home in Co Donegal on Friday following a long illness.

The Co Tyrone-born writer was best known for his plays 'Dancing at Lughnasa' and 'Philadelphia, Here I Come'.

He penned over 30 plays and 'Dancing at Lughnasa' won three Tony Awards in 1992.

Brian Friel - An Obituary