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Series explores life of Brendan Behan's 'inspirational' mum Kathleen

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Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan

The huge impact that Brendan Behan's mother had on his life and work is to be explored in a documentary on TG4 next week.

The third instalment of the four-part series Mathair, exploring relationships between mothers and sons, tells the story of the playwright's mother Kathleen Kearney and her involvement in the republican movement, which included being a vital messenger in the Easter Rising.

Using dramatic reconstruction, archive footage and commentary from relatives and historians, the segment gives a fresh insight into her role in the events that shaped the nation, as well as the big influence she had on her world-famous son.

Despite growing up in an impoverished Dublin tenement, Kathleen was a very well-read woman with a wide knowledge of literature and history, according to the producers of the series.

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Author Brendan Behan. Photo: Hulton Archive

Author Brendan Behan. Photo: Hulton Archive

Author Brendan Behan. Photo: Hulton Archive

Kathleen's passion for all of these subjects was passed on to her children when she took them on historical and literary tours of Dublin. She was also a passionate folk singer and wrote many songs.

"This served as an education to Brendan Behan, writer, socialist and republican," the producers said.

"This programme explores the relationship between Kathleen and Brendan, which survived the highs and lows of Brendan's short life."

Mathair director Meabh Fields said: "These women are inspirational. Their stories reveal the importance and impact of women on Ireland's history over the last 150 years."

Mathair airs Wednesday at 9.30pm on TG4

Herald