(22 October 1928 - 3 August 1989; Irish: Doiminic Ó Beacháin
) was an Irish
songwriter, short story writer, novelist and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also a committed socialist
and Irish Republican
. Born into a literary family, Dominic Behan was one of the most influential Irish songwriters of the 20th century.
Behan was born in inner-city Dublin
into an educated working class family. His father, Stephen Behan
, fought for the Irish Republican Army
(IRA) in the Anglo-Irish War
. Dominic was the brother of Brendan Behan
. His mother, Kathleen, a collector of songs and stories, took the boys on literary tours of the city. Behan's maternal uncle, Peadar Kearney
, wrote "A Soldier's Song", the song the Irish National Anthem
was based on. Another brother, Brian
was also a playwright and writer.
At the age of thirteen, Dominic left school to follow in his father's footsteps in the housepainting business. The family house in which Behan lived was the property of Christine English, Dominic's grandmother, who owned several properties in the city. His father Stephen, was a member of the IRA and had been one of Michael Collins'
"Twelve Apostles", who were responsible for the deaths of several officers from the British Army
during the Irish War of Independence
. He was banned from a professional future career for refusing to swear allegiance to the British Crown
after the Irish civil war