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Julien Behal/PA Wire
UK News

Archbishop leads tributes to Irish playwright Brian Friel

Brian Friel has been remembered as a giant of world theatre after his death at the age of 86.

The teacher turned writer, who shunned the spotlight, is best known for Dancing At Lughnasa, which was adapted for a film starring Meryl Streep, and Philadelphia, Here I Come!, an internationally renowned play.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said he learned of Mr Friel's death with "a great sense of sadness".

"Generosity and modesty were the hallmark of this great Irishman, who never strayed far from his roots," he said.

"During my time as President of Saint Columb's College in Derry, I had contact with Brian on a number of occasions, he being a most distinguished past pupil of the college.

"He was genuinely interested in the students' progress and especially supportive with regard to the development of their literary skills.

"Brian Friel's many achievements, nationally and internationally, are too numerous to mention and his legacy is a truly great one. We are all honoured to have had him in our midst.

"My prayers today are with his beloved wife Anne, and children Mary, Sally, Judy and David."

Friel was born in Killyclogher, near Omagh, Co Tyrone, in 1929.

He moved to Derry with his family at the age of 10 and then to Greencastle, Co Donegal, in the 1960s, where he penned most of his great works and where he died with family, including his wife Anne, beside him.

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